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Inside West Michigan

Updated on May 24, 2014

Welcome to West Michigan

Come with me to visit the small towns and big cities in the western lower penisula that is West Michigan. From rural towns, apple orchards, farm markets, cities on the big lake,Lake Michigan, or quaint towns on inland lakes, to the urban world that is Grand Rapids. It is an area full of opportunities for fun, learning, and entertainment for kids and kids-at-heart. (Walk through the peaceful Michigan woods and discover the beauty of the wildflowers.)

Canoe and Kayak Race on the Muskegon River

Check out the canoe and kayak experience on the Muskegon River in Newaygo, MI.

Reserve Your Campsite Now for Summer Camping in West Michigan

Campgrounds fill up quickly, especially those state parks near the beautiful beaches. Reserve them now!

Camping in West Michigan is a delight for the rustic tent camper or the RV'er. This area is a haven for natural beauty including the expansive beaches of Lake Michigan shores, peaceful surrounds of the many inland lakes, the hiking and biking trails through dense forests or open prairies, and the opportunities to see wildlife and bird watching in the nature preserves.

Take it from this Michigan Insider, I have listed some of my favorite little known West Michigan campgrounds:

FREMONT LAKE PARK, Fremont, Michigan 231-924-5227

Located on an all sports inland lake, small town atmosphere

HENNING COUNTY PARK, Newaygo, Michigan 231-652-1202 Located on the mighty Muskegon River for great fishing, boating and tubing

Pioneer Park, Muskegon County Park

White River RV Park and Campground, Montague, Michigan 231-894-4708 Woods, creek, outdoor swimming pool near Lake Michigan

If you are looking for gorgeous sunsets and the best sand beaches, then camp at these Michigan State Parks. For more information on each park, go to

LUDINGTON STATE PARK, Ludington, Michigan Lazily tube down the little river that connects Hamlin Lake to Lake Michigan. Visit the lighthouse nearby.

CHARLES MEARS STATE PARK, Pentwater, Michigan Not only does this park have a great beach, but the small village of Pentwater is a delightful get-away from all the big box stores and franchises. It's a fun shopping area along the waterfront.

SILVER LAKE STATE PARK, Mears, Michigan Rev up those dune buggies for the most spectacular sites from atop the jaw dropping sand dunes. This is a great vacation spot.

MUSKEGON STATE PARK, North Muskegon, Michigan Spend your days and nights on this gorgeous beach which has been ranked among the most beautiful in the world.

HOFFMASTER STATE PARK, Muskegon, Michigan Climb the boardwalk over the sand dunes for amazing views of the spectacular Lake Michigan. Visit the Gillette Nature Center well know for its exhibits and nature programs.

You'll have a fun and relaxing time staying at these campgrounds.

Enjoy West Michigan - Click on these links for information about, festivals, shopping and lodging.

Here is your list of places to visit in West Michigan for winter sports, beaches, water sports, shopping, dining, and a whole lot of fun.

Destination Guides for Michigan Visitors and Residents

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - In northwestern Michigan, voted the most beautiful place in the USA by Good Morning America Viewers

Empire, MI-- Enjoy these breathtaking photos of the beauty found in this unique place. No photo can convey the exquisite mix of sand, sky and water in this place. You've got to experience it. Click the link below to take you to the GMA contest information and the winning, stunning video of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Named the Most Beautiful Place in America - Click to watch this breath-taking video.

Check out this stunning video from Good Morning America's abc News.

Tasting and Touring Michigan's Home Grown Food
Tasting and Touring Michigan's Home Grown Food

Fantastic pictures and information packed articles about farms and fishermen of Michigan. Dairy farmers, vegetable growers chocolate makers, and, fishing industry. Great coffee table book and for gift giving.

The Muskegon: The Majesty and Tragedy of Michigan's Rarest River
The Muskegon: The Majesty and Tragedy of Michigan's Rarest River

Muskegon River links West Michigan in recreation and fishing. Learn its history all the way to the restoration of this important life-giving river.

Grand Rapids Furniture: The Story of America's Furniture City
Grand Rapids Furniture: The Story of America's Furniture City

If you are a woodworker, artist, or decorator, you'll love the anecdotes and 200 photos of this grand furniture collection

Cycling Michigan: The 30 Best Road Routes in Western Michigan (Cycling Tours)
Cycling Michigan: The 30 Best Road Routes in Western Michigan (Cycling Tours)

Incredible scenery and small towns make cycling in West Michigan a treat. Find out where to go and what to see in thie information packed book.



Muskegon has it all. Beaches on the breathtaking Lake Michigan, water sports, concerts, festivals, symphony, fine arts, museum, heritage homes, and shopping. Go for a day, go for a weekend, and enjoy the crisp fall air and foliage in a great place for people of all ages.

Summer Vacation in West Michigan - Beaches and activities for your family and friends

Summertime and the livin' is easy in West Michigan. Follow these links to find activities that will keep your summer blazin' with fun!

BOOKS ON MICHIGAN CAMPING AND GARDENS - So many activities in Michigan as well as beaches and abundant fruits and vegetables

Check out these Michigan based titles.

Video: Exciting, Energized Grand Rapids, Michigan

Newsweek magazine had to take back their mean remarks about Grand Rapids after seeing this fabulous lively lip dub in Grand Rapids.


Whether you are a gardener or not, you will enjoy a visit to the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. The immense conservatory filled with collections of arid plants, tropical beauties, carnivorous garden is the landmark for finding the gardens. Walk through the conservatory and then outdoors to experience the walkways that wind through the 30+ acres of the most comprehensive collection of outdoor sculputres in the MidWest. My favorite is the behemoth bronze sculpture of The American Horse based on Leonard da Vinci's Horse sculpture. The powerful horse. although stationery, gives the impression he could race the wind and win with his strong legs and body. There are 30 pieces of sculpture at this writing with area available for 80. Great artists such as Rodin and Maillol are on display in the peaceful setting.

The Lena Meijer Children's Garden is a fantastic place to escape with your kids, big and little. The centerpiece of the garden is the Great Lakes display filled with water where children can float boats and splash. The five lakes are built to scale so you can understand the relationship of the lakes to each other and to the states surrounding them. The tree house and story telling area and fossil gardens are all fun for kids. Your little ones will learn about gardening, wildlife and nature in the Great Lakes area and not even realize they are learning by playing in this beautiful area.

Don't leave without seeing the Michigan Farm Garden. This 1930's family farm includes a replica of an 1880's farmhouse, 100 year old barn, animal pens with bronze sculptures of the animals such as a pig, goat, sheep and horse, and an heirloom plant vegetable garden. Sitting in a rocker on the front porch of the house is one of the most peaceful experiences you will remember. And don't forget to sniff all the roses in the rose garden.

Plan to spend at least 4 hours touring the gardens and more depending on your interests.

Concerts are held in the Amphitheater Garden during the summer. Check the website for the schedule.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Chihuly Glass Exhibit

Dale Chihuly, world famous blown glass designer, displays his works throughout Meijer Gardens through October 31, 2010. Breathtaking vistas and inspiring creations will make your visit to the gardens a memorable experience.


The season doesn't last very long. Get out and enjoy the fall foliage and crisp days while it is here. The following links will help you plan your fall color tour of Michigan. Whether you drive, bike, walk, canoe or kayak, check out these links and links below for information.

Farmer's Markets for Locally Grown and Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Enjoy the harvest from West Michigan orchards and farms. Visit these farmers markets for field fresh and organic veggies and fruits. Click on the links to find information on location and days the markets are open.

Ski, Snowboard, Sled, and Slide in West Michigan

Whether you want downhill or cross country skiing, snowboarding, sledding...Michigan is the place to be this winter. Check out these sites for information.

Video: Chance of Snow in Pure Michigan

Video from Pure Michigan. Do you love snow and snow sports? You'll love this!

Snow Time in Michigan

Watch these sledders and snow boarders having fun in the snow in Michigan.


Farm markets in West Michigan are in the center of the best fruit and vegetable growing areas in the US. Not only do these markets sell the freshest produce, but they also are now an experience the family can enjoy. Many markets offer you-pick apples where you can spend time in the fresh air and beautiful West Michigan orchards selecting your own fruit for your table. Choosing a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch on the market property is fun for the kids, bumping along on the hay rack rides, feeding the animals such as goats, ponies, alpacas, camels, bunnies, kitties, winding through a corn maze, and eating fresh donuts right from the market's bakery are experiences offered by many of the family friendly markets. There are fees for some activities. Use the following list to choose a farm market to visit for your next family outing.


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    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 4 years ago

      @CyberTech LM: Hey CyberTech, Do you believe I just now read your comment? Only 2 years late! Hope you will enjoy more of West Michigan this year. Thanks for stopping by.

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 4 years ago

      @LauraHofman: I love love love Traverse City. Go to the music museum if you have time. Even if you don't play an instrument, you'll see amazing musical instruments and historical information. Have fun!

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      We so enjoy road trips to Michigan! Next up...Traverse City.

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 5 years ago

      @PatriciaJoy: The views of Lake Michigan and the beaches are outstanding around Muskegon. I love how you said blessed by an angel. That about sums it all up. Thanks for commenting. Glad you like the lens.

    • PatriciaJoy profile image

      PatriciaJoy 5 years ago from Michigan

      Excellent lens. My husband and I went on a lighthouse vacation for a few days in the Muskegon area. There's some beautiful areas out there. Blessed by an angel.

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 6 years ago

      @EduRULES: I hope you had a great time on your visit to W. Michigan.

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 6 years ago

      @CyberTech LM: I can tell you enjoy Michigan. I hope you have a great time in July. Pentwater is a neat little town which is not so commercialized. Be sure to have the Papa Bear burger at the Brown Bear..enough for 2 or more people!! Voted the best burger in W. Michigan!

    • CyberTech LM profile image

      CyberTech LM 6 years ago

      Great Job!!

      I will be in Pentwater the first and second week of July 2012. I have been to all the places you wrote about, the FREDERICK MEIJER GARDENS was so big, and the indoor areas with different plants from all around the world was kool! Sleeping Bear Dunes ride on the dunes was a blast, the drive was very funny!

      Come see Michigan on the West Side!!!!

    • profile image

      EduRULES 6 years ago

      Gives me an idea of what to do when I visit! :)

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 6 years ago

      @jseven lm: Thanks so much. This is a great time of year to visit too with the colorful foliage and the crisp apples loaded on the trees.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great stuff to do in your neck of the woods. Liked the video's on rivers, people and the photos of the amazing vehicles. Gave your lens a 'thumbs up'.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 6 years ago

      From one Michigan lover to another, great lens! I love the place you listed and have been to several of them. I love the dunes, Silver Lake campground, Fredrick Meijer Gardens and love the Grand Rapids video. Great work!

    • profile image

      trippste 6 years ago

      Awesome lens! Ill be visiting Michigan next month, I cannot wait!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      I am traveling around Squidooville and just stopped by this neighborhood and noticed this fantastic page!! So for this Memorial Day Weekend Road Trip, I wanted to leave you with a Blessing from a SquidAngel Have a safe and beautiful Memorial Day!

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 7 years ago

      @MonsterJack LM: And you know about kayaking. West Michigan is a watersport lover's paradise. Thanks for your comment.

    • MonsterJack LM profile image

      MonsterJack LM 7 years ago

      No matter where you are in Michigan you are never more than 7 miles from a lake, or river. Michigan is the perfect state for kayaking and watersports. Thanks for writing a great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I got the snow sleds for kids three pack of slides at the speed of light and were exactly as I imagined it would, not too big nor too small. Getting ready to tie a nylon rope on to the ends.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      interesting lens, great showcase for all things West Michigan

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 7 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Very interesting site! We love to vacation in western and southwestern Michigan and southern Wisconsin. We just did a lens on Lake Geneva, WI highlighting our favorite things to do there.

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 8 years ago

      @michigancharterfishing: You are so right! The jewels of Michigan are the rivers and lakes of ALL sizes. The most fun is to take our grandsons fishing and camping.

    • profile image

      michigancharterfishing 8 years ago

      I run a michigan steelhead fishing charter out of St. Joseph michigan, and I have to say that above all, beyond the lake trout, the steelhead, I love to eat the Salmon the most! And how fun are they to catch huh? They are by far my favorite river fish! When you mention Michigan, you can't ever forget about all of the lakes and rivers that we have, and how great the fishing is!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      You know my dear? I do not believe when I lived in Cleveland, Ohio that we ever made it to West Michigan -- only to East Michigan. Oh, for fireworks! Brrrr. ;)

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 8 years ago

      Please come back and catch the sun on our beautiful beaches this summer or pick an apple for a crunchy treat this fall.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      What an incredible lens. We camp a lot--with our horses. I can't wait to spend some more time exploring your writing.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      [in reply to heipet] Thank you for adding your lens to the All 50 States Group Lensography.

    • profile image

      heipet 9 years ago

      have submitted this lens to "All 50 States"!

      Don`t forget to vote for it.

      heipet - SUMMER Group groupmaster

    • pondlady lm profile image

      pondlady lm 9 years ago

      Great lens. Don't forget the wonderful town of Spring Lake, near Grand Haven and Ferrysburg, west of Grand Rapids about 30 miles and my home town.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great lens - and I love that you link to some of my clients! With all the negativity about and in Michigan right now, we need to promote what is so great about it.

    • profile image

      Auduhomes 10 years ago

      This is a great lens! One of the best I've seen about Michigan. I just started on Squidoo this week. You've done a great job of promoting our communities. If you're out & about, I'd appreciate your thoughts on: Thanks

    • profile image

      Vanderstelt 10 years ago

      Nice lens, Janet, I just started a new travel Michigan website and ran across your lens, want to come and work for me. You could help drive trafic with your knowledge.

    • jtpratt lm profile image

      jtpratt lm 10 years ago

      very nice lens - I give it 5 stars! please visit my lens and let me know what you think as well: Designer Handbag Whores

    • raswook profile image

      Jeff Wendland 10 years ago from Kalamazoo, MI

      Great lens, I live in West Michigan too. I grew up in metro Detroit, moved to the West side for School and I haven't turned back. I really prefer the pace of life here in West Mi.

    • profile image

      LisaLogan 10 years ago

      Great lens, Janet! Thanks for posting the link on the Muse Online Writer's Conference!

    • profile image

      ebizsalez 10 years ago

      very nice information about a nice place.

      from fellwo lens: bigsaveontravel

    • johnsonwarren profile image

      johnsonwarren 10 years ago

      Very nice lens. I especially like the list of events and camping info. Western Michigan is also great for bicycling:

    • profile image

      allysa 10 years ago

      nice lens and good compilation about West Michigan. I do love camping and I'll take note of this place. More stars!

    • Karendelac profile image

      Karendelac 10 years ago

      Hi Janet, here's a 5 star thank you fPlease visit me soon.

      All the Best, Karen at Karen's Kinkade Art Store

      or a nice lens.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 10 years ago from USA

      Nice lens Janet!

    • GrillGirl profile image

      GrillGirl 10 years ago

      Go Squidoo girl. Nice to see your lens up!

    • pondlady lm profile image

      pondlady lm 10 years ago

      Hi, I was born/raised in Spring Lake, Michigan. How about a plug for the Grand Haven State Park with a photo of the lighthouse there.

      Great lens!


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