6 West Michigan Parks You Need to Visit
One of the beauties of visiting or living in west Michigan is the thousands of acres of parks, trails, and breathtaking greenspaces to explore.
A lot of locals know about the region’s many state parks, as well as some of the more popular city parks like Riverside and Ah-Nab-Awen. But it’s nice to veer off the beaten path from time to time, and the gorgeous parks below can help you do just that.
This town known as Tulip City has nearly two dozen parks. Of those, Kollen has lots of admirers, likely because of its expansive stretch of waterfront along Lake Macatawa. This space offers everything from a large collection of playground equipment for kids to picnic areas and shaded pavilions.
Lake lovers will find a boat launch area as well as plenty of space for fishing. Walkers or those using strollers or wheelchairs will find a long walkway that hugs the shoreline. It sits along the edge of downtown, making it the perfect spot to relax after a meal – or bring takeout to one of the pretty picnic areas.
Directions: 240 Kollen Park Drive in Holland.
If you like your parks linear, this one is getting lots of buzz. Hikers, mountain bikers and walkers are all welcome at what eventually will be a 47-mile county park. It straddles both Newaygo and Mecosta counties and includes the Hardy Pond area, a popular recreation spot.
More than half of this non-motorized trail is already complete, and more segments are being constructed. Users will find campgrounds, parking areas and county parks along the trail. For updates on the segments already open, check the website by clicking the link above.
Directions: 6926 East 30th St. in Newaygo.
This diamond-in-the-rough is Ottawa County’s newest park, so amenities are limited right now. Clocking in at 345 acres, this big former gravel mining site features forested dunes, wetlands, and an 80-acre inland lake.
There are marked trails and catch-and-release fishing is allowed. In the future, look for decisions on adding a swimming beach and options for using kayaks, SUPs, and other forms of watercraft.
Directions: 18153 North Shore Drive in Ferrysburg.
For Lake Michigan fans who typically frequent Grand Haven or Holland state parks, this Allegan County waterfront spot just might be a hidden gem. It has easy access to the big lake, an area for kids to play, and is known as a good spot for shoreline rock hunters.
Directions: 2152 Lakeshore Drive in Fennville.
Get ready for a bird’s-eye urban view most people don’t get to see by heading up to one of the highest spots in Grand Rapids. Lookout Park in the Belknap neighborhood is a pocket-sized city park that offers an expansive view of the downtown Grand Rapids skyline, its west side neighborhoods, and the Grand River. This tiny park is just under two acres, so be prepared to park on a side street and walk in.
Directions: 801 Fairview Northeast in Grand Rapids.
Head to northern Muskegon County for this fun find. The wooded landscape here makes you feel like you’re up north. It’s got a Lake Michigan swimming beach, a big parking area and a boardwalk along Little Flower Creek. It’s also got some great rolling dunes and a feeling of seclusion you can’t find at many other parks.
Directions: 8355 Meinert Park Road in Montague.
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Photo credit: Shandra Martinez