Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Discovering Hidden Gems and Local Favorites
Muskegon, Michigan, a vibrant city nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, offers a delightful blend of historical charm, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences.
Whether you’re seeking thrilling amusement park rides, serene nature trails, or a glimpse into the rich history of Michigan, Muskegon has something for everyone.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the must-visit attractions and hidden gems that make Muskegon a unique destination.
- Explore the top attractions like Michigan’s Adventure and Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.
- Discover Muskegon’s rich history at sites like the Hackley and Hume Historic Site.
- Enjoy the natural beauty of places like Hoffmaster State Park and Muskegon State Park.
- Find family-friendly activities, including water parks and interactive museums.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Must-Visit Attractions
Michigan’s Adventure stands as the largest amusement park in the state, offering a diverse array of rides and attractions. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer more relaxed entertainment, this park has something to cater to all tastes.
- Roller Coasters: Experience adrenaline-pumping rides, including a suspended looping coaster and a wooden coaster.
- WildWater Adventure: Enjoy three wave pools, body slides, and a family-friendly beach area.
- Family Attractions: A variety of rides and activities suitable for all ages.
- Dining Options: Multiple eateries offering a range of food options, from quick snacks to hearty meals.
This unique park provides year-round excitement. With an 850-foot luge track, one of only a few in the nation, it’s a must-visit for winter sports enthusiasts.
- Winter Activities: Ice skating, luge, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
- Summer Adventures: Zip-lining, archery, and a summer luge track.
- Educational Programs: Offers classes and workshops for all skill levels.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Historic Sites and Museums
Visit the beautifully preserved Queen Anne homes of lumber barons Charles Hackley and Thomas Hume. These architectural gems showcase ornate carvings, stained glass, and stenciled walls.
- Guided Tours: Available from May through October, offering insights into 19th-century architecture and history.
- Special Events: Hosts various cultural and educational events throughout the year.
- Garden and Grounds: Explore the well-maintained gardens and grounds surrounding the homes.
Muskegon Heritage Museum
The Muskegon Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving the industrial and cultural history of the city. It houses artifacts, photographs, and machinery that tell the story of Muskegon’s business legacy.
- Heritage Machine Works: Features working machine tools and engines manufactured by local companies.
- Exhibits: Explore the history of over 80 Muskegon-based businesses.
- Interactive Displays: Engage with hands-on exhibits suitable for all ages.
USS Silversides Submarine Museum
Dive into history at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, where you can explore a well-preserved World War II submarine and learn about its storied past.
- Historic Submarine: Tour the USS Silversides and discover its role during WWII.
- Interactive Exhibits: Engage with artifacts and stories from the war era.
- Special Events: Hosts educational programs and commemorative events.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Outdoor Adventures and Natural Beauty
Muskegon’s natural landscapes are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From pristine beaches to lush parks, there’s no shortage of scenic spots to explore.
Hoffmaster State Park
Hoffmaster State Park is known for its towering sand dunes and beautiful Lake Michigan beach. It’s a perfect spot for hiking, birdwatching, and swimming.
- Dune Climb Stairway: Climb 193 steps for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding areas.
- Nature Trails: Explore diverse ecosystems along well-marked trails.
- Beach Access: Enjoy swimming and sunbathing on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan.
This revitalized waterfront park is a hub for community events and festivals. With stunning views along Muskegon Lake, it’s a great place for fishing, biking, and outdoor concerts.
- Lakeshore Trail: A scenic bike path that winds through the park and along the lake.
- Community Events: Hosts festivals like the Michigan Irish Music Festival and the Shoreline Jazz Fest.
- Amenities: Features picnic areas, playgrounds, and fishing spots.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Family-Friendly Activities
Muskegon offers a variety of activities that the whole family can enjoy, from amusement parks to interactive museums.
Craig’s Cruisers in Muskegon is a family entertainment center that features outdoor go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf, and an arcade.
- Go-Karting: Race around on outdoor tracks.
- Mini Golf: Enjoy 18 holes of fun-filled mini-golf.
- Arcade: A wide selection of video and redemption games.
- Food and Refreshments: On-site restaurant offering a variety of meals and snacks.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Cruises and Water Activities
Muskegon’s location on the shores of Lake Michigan makes it a prime spot for water-based activities and cruises. Enjoy the tranquility of the lake and discover the city from a different perspective.
Take a leisurely cruise on the Muskegon Channel aboard the Aquastar. Offering both afternoon and sunset cruises, it’s a perfect way to experience the beauty of the area.
- Themed Cruises: Enjoy special themed cruises, including wine tasting and music events.
- Facilities on Board: The cruise offers a full bar and snacks, making it an enjoyable experience for all ages.
Muskegon Lakeshore Trail
Explore the scenic Muskegon Lakeshore Trail, perfect for biking or walking. The trail provides stunning views of the lake, dunes, and lighthouse.
- Access to Attractions: The trail connects various local attractions and restaurants, making it a great way to explore the city.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Dining and Drink Experiences
Muskegon boasts a diverse culinary scene, from cozy cafes to fine dining. Discover local flavors and fresh seafood, a testament to the city’s location on the lake.
Here are some of the best restaurants in Muskegon that you can consider featuring:
- The Station Grill: Known for its quirky location (a former gas station) and beloved for its gourmet burgers, Tex-Mex-inspired dishes, and award-winning chili. It’s a fun spot that’s popular for its relaxed atmosphere and tasty offerings.
- Fatty Lumpkins Sandwich Shack: A small deli in downtown Muskegon, this place is renowned for its inventive sandwiches, soups, and sides. With unique names like Patty McFatty and How Now Brown Cow, their menu items are as delightful as they are delicious.
- The Lake House: Located on the shores of Lake Muskegon, this restaurant offers a casual ambiance, seasonal cuisine, and spectacular views. It’s an ideal spot for both summer al fresco dining and cozy winter meals by the fireplace.
- Yum Yum Sushi: A great option for sushi enthusiasts. They offer delicious sushi and have received positive reviews for their quality and service.
- Walker’s An American Brasserie: This brasserie is well-regarded for its excellent menu, seasonal drink options, and attentive service. It’s a great choice for a more upscale dining experience.
- The Valkyrie @ The 4 Corners: A wine bar that offers a variety of good food and drinks, though noted for sometimes being busy due to its popularity.
- 21 US 31 Bar-B-Q: A unique spot for barbecue lovers, offering slow-cooked meats and Southern sides in a cozy, diner-like setting. It’s been a family-run establishment since 1939 and is known for its simple yet delicious menu and friendly service.
Local Breweries and More:
Muskegon is home to a variety of craft breweries and wineries, each offering unique flavors and experiences. Here are some notable options to consider featuring:
- Fetch Brewing Company: Located in a building that once served as a bank, Fetch Brewing Company in White Lake has a unique ambiance. The brewery retains many original bank features, including a snug upstairs seating area and an outdoor seating area. Their beers are highly regarded, and they offer a cozy atmosphere that’s a hit with locals and visitors alike.
- North Grove Brewers: This self-proclaimed “hole in the wall” brewpub in Muskegon County offers a range of rotating beers, cider, wine, and occasional cocktails. The clubhouse is filled with arcade games, darts, a pool table, and hosts music sessions on Wednesdays. They also have a spacious outdoor Biergarten and offer delicious deli-style eats.
- Pigeon Hill Brewing Company: Known for its commitment to craft beer and local history, Pigeon Hill Brewing Company offers a community atmosphere with live music and a variety of craft beers. Their tasting room, The Brewers Lounge at Pigeon Hill, is conveniently located on the Lakeshore Bike Trail and provides a great view of Muskegon Lake and the USS LST 393.
- Unruly Brewing Company: As the first brewery to brew beer in Muskegon since 1957, Unruly Brewing is a staple of the local craft beer scene. They offer a wide range of craft beer styles, an outdoor beer garden, live music, and free brewery tours. Their taproom also features Unruly Kitchen, which serves a variety of locally-sourced selections perfect for lunch and dinner, including smoked meats and monthly specials.
- 18th Amendment Spirits Co.: Muskegon’s first craft distillery, this venue offers craft cocktails, well-crafted food, and a unique ambiance that pays homage to the spirit of Muskegon.
- Bardic Wells Meadery: As Michigan’s first licensed commercial meadery, they specialize in Mead, which is fermented honey, often referred to as Honey Wine. Their meadery provides a unique tasting experience for visitors.
These not only offer great drinks but also contribute to the unique cultural and social fabric of Muskegon, making them a must-visit for anyone exploring the city.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Local Events and Festivals
Muskegon is home to a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from its Irish heritage to the arts and local culture.
Michigan Irish Music Festival
Celebrate Irish culture with music, dance, and traditional food at the Michigan Irish Music Festival. It’s a family-friendly event with activities for all ages.
- Music Performances: Enjoy live Irish music from local and international bands.
- Cultural Activities: Participate in Irish dance workshops and storytelling sessions.
Shoreline Jazz Festival
The Shoreline Jazz Festival attracts jazz enthusiasts from all over. Experience performances by renowned jazz musicians in a picturesque outdoor setting.
- Diverse Lineup: Features a variety of jazz styles, from classic to contemporary.
- Food and Drinks: Savor local cuisine and refreshments available at the festival.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Accommodation Options
Whether you prefer luxury hotels, cozy bed-and-breakfasts, or lakeside camping, Muskegon offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs.
Here are some top recommendations:
- Delta Hotels Muskegon Convention Center: This refurbished hotel is appreciated for its convenient downtown location, pleasant amenities including a pool, comfy beds, and a spacious bar and restaurant. It’s connected to a convention center, making it ideal for both leisure and business travelers.
- Port City Victorian Inn, Bed and Breakfast, LLC: Offering a cozy home away from home experience, this B&B features rooms with outdoor patios overlooking Muskegon Lake. It’s highly recommended for its comfortable accommodation and beautiful Victorian architecture.
- Duck Creek RV Resort: This gated community RV Park is known for its beautiful cabins and offers many amenities for kids and adults alike. Its proximity to amusement parks and campgrounds makes it an excellent choice for family stays.
- Shoreline Inn & Conference Center, Ascend Hotel Collection: Located near the beach, this hotel offers onsite spa amenities, spacious rooms, and many with amazing views. It’s a great choice for those seeking a bit of pampering during their stay.
- Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Muskegon Norton Shores: A great option for families, this hotel offers clean rooms, friendly staff, and is conveniently located close to local attractions.
- Hampton Inn Muskegon: Known for its clean and updated rooms, this hotel is another excellent choice for travelers seeking comfort and modern amenities
- Baymont by Wyndham Muskegon: This hotel is highlighted for its great service and cleanliness. It’s a good choice for those looking for budget-friendly yet quality accommodation.
- The Weathervane Inn: Offering a budget-friendly option with comfortable beds, excellent hospitality, and a relaxing hot tub. It’s also conveniently located near Lake Michigan.
- Tiny Digs Lakeshore – Tiny House Lodging: For a unique stay, this tiny house lodging in Muskegon offers an exceptional experience with a high guest satisfaction rating.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Muskegon: This hotel is noted for its excellent service and is a good option for travelers needing accommodations with accessible features.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Planning Your Visit
Best Time to Visit:
While summer is indeed the peak season for enjoying Muskegon’s outdoor activities and festivals, each season in Muskegon has its unique charm:
- Summer (June to August): Ideal for beach activities, water sports, and attending popular outdoor festivals like the Michigan Irish Music Festival and the Shoreline Jazz Festival. The weather is warm and pleasant, perfect for exploring state parks and beaches.
- Fall (September to November): Offers a cooler but still comfortable climate. It’s a great time for hiking and witnessing the beautiful fall foliage in the parks. Fall festivals and events add to the seasonal appeal.
- Winter (December to February): Although it’s colder, winter in Muskegon is a wonderland for snow sports enthusiasts. Activities like ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and the unique experience of the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park are highlights.
- Spring (March to May): As the snow melts, the natural landscapes come alive. It’s a quieter season but ideal for those who enjoy the outdoors without the summer crowds. The spring blooms in local parks and gardens are a beautiful sight.
Muskegon’s accessibility and local transportation options cater to different needs:
- By Car: The primary mode of transportation for getting to and around Muskegon. Major highways connect Muskegon to other cities, and having a car offers the most flexibility for exploring.
- Public Transportation: Muskegon Area Transit System (MATS) offers bus services covering various routes throughout the city, which is an affordable way to get around.
- Biking: For the environmentally conscious or fitness enthusiasts, Muskegon has several bike-friendly trails and paths, especially along the lakeshore.
- Taxis and Ride-Sharing Services: Available for convenient short-distance travel within the city.
- Visitor Centers: The Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a great resource for tourists. Visitors can find brochures, maps, and personalized recommendations from local experts.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Summary
In conclusion, Muskegon, Michigan, is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. From the thrills of Michigan’s Adventure to the serene beauty of its state parks, this city offers a perfect blend of excitement and relaxation. Here’s a quick recap of must-see places:
- Michigan’s Adventure: The state’s largest amusement park, offering a wide range of rides and water attractions.
- Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park: A unique venue for both winter and summer sports enthusiasts.
- USS Silversides Submarine Museum: A dive into naval history with a real WWII submarine.
- Hackley and Hume Historic Site: Beautifully preserved homes showcasing 19th-century architecture.
- Muskegon State Park and Hoffmaster State Park: Natural havens for hiking, swimming, and wildlife watching.
- Heritage Landing: A lively spot for community events and festivals with stunning waterfront views.
Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a solo adventure, or a romantic getaway, Muskegon has something to offer for every type of traveler. Don’t forget to check out local visitor centers for more information and tips to make your trip unforgettable.
Things to Do in Muskegon Michigan: Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top family-friendly activities in Muskegon?
Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park, Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, and Craig’s Cruisers offer a variety of family-oriented fun.
Are there any historical sites in Muskegon worth visiting?
Yes, the Hackley and Hume Historic Site and the USS Silversides Submarine Museum are must-visit historical attractions.
Can I find outdoor activities in Muskegon year-round?
Absolutely! Summer offers beach activities and hiking, while winter provides opportunities for ice skating and luge at the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.
What dining experiences are unique to Muskegon?
Muskegon’s lakeside restaurants offer fresh seafood and local delicacies. Don’t miss trying craft beers at the city’s breweries.
Is Muskegon a good destination for nature lovers?
Absolutely! With its state parks, beaches, and trails, Muskegon is a paradise for those who love outdoor activities and nature exploration.
Can I visit Muskegon during the winter?
Yes, winter in Muskegon is magical, with activities like ice skating, luge, and cross-country skiing available at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.