If you shy away from crowds and are looking for a quiet, secluded beach experience along the Lake Michigan shore, keep looking. But if a gregarious beach atmosphere full of families, sand volleyball and grilling is your thing, break out your flip-flops and shades and head to Grand Haven State Park.
On warm, sunny days, it might seem as if all of Grand Haven is here. The park's 48 acres are almost entirely beach, which is the main draw. This beach has some perks you won't necessarily find at remoter shores: ADA beach wheelchairs that you can borrow for free, vending machines, a concession stand, dozens of ready-and-waiting volleyball nets, swingsets, grills and fire pits, large restrooms with flush toilets, changing rooms and showers. There's Wi-Fi, too!
At the park, you're just a short walk from downtown Grand Haven's shops and restaurants (take the riverfront boardwalk or the free shuttle). You're also right by the Grand Haven lighthouse and pier (good for shore fishing). Though you can stay at one of the park's 174 sites, there's really not much privacy to speak of, especially for tent campers.