Loads of Family Fun Awaits You in the West Grand Rapids Suburbs
Want to know the unique gift that the towns west of Grand Rapids have? They have the big city fun of Grand Rapids and the glorious Lake Michigan shoreline, both within arms’ reach!
However, being a part of the Grandville, Hudsonville, Jenison community for a while now, I can tell you there’s enough fun in these towns to keep kids busy without having to travel far.
When my kids were young, our favorite part of the week was a trip to the Grandville Library for story time. Afterward, we’d pop over to the Grandville Farmer’s Market to get our fresh fruits and veggies for the week.
Another spot we frequent on the regular? Rosewood Park. The splash pad, playground with two towering tube slides, and a huge soccer bowl (known to the locals as Charlie’s Dump) keep kids happy for hours.
Community festivals and celebrations have become time-honored family traditions. Our calendar is filled with fun events like Grandville’s Vintage Fest and Fall Fest, Jenison’s Memorial Day Parade, and the Hudsonville Fair.
The places, activities, and people in this area make the West of Grand Rapids area the perfect neighborhood community for our family.
See what the locals love about their west side living and find the town that matches your vibe.
Life in Jenison
Why people love to live here: People that live here often stay for a long time, which really says something about the community. Families like this area because of the schools, established neighborhoods, churches, and parks.
You should know: The school and community are known for their dedication and excellence in the Fine Arts. The Spanish Immersion program is also a big draw for families across West Michigan. Property taxes in Georgetown Township are low, but Jenison is landlocked with little wiggle room for new housing. Homes for sale in the area get snatched up quickly.
Known for: » 4th of July Celebration » Fall Fest and Vintage Fest » Rivertown Crossings Shopping Mall
Life in Hudsonville
Why people love to live here: People are drawn to the area because of the family-friendly neighborhoods. Looking for a country setting but with accessibility to urban amenities? Then Hudsonville is where you want to live.
You should know: The school district is rapidly expanding as it keeps up with new housing developments being built. The downtown area has seen recent improvements, including the addition of Terra Square and a walking pedestrian street with restaurants and shops.
Tube tunnels, farm animals, and pig train rides at Post Family Farm are a hit with families every fall. This is the place to go for a hayride and u-pick pumpkins, but the real star of the show? Their pumpkin donuts. You can grab a warm dozen from the big white barn in the fall or score them at their popular Donut Days events throughout the year (watch their Facebook page for dates).
02) Indulge in ‘Hole’ Foods at Sprinkles Donut Shop
Visit the original location of Sprinkles Donut Shop in Hudsonville for your sweet tooth fix. The Cinnamon Roll Yeast Donuts topped with anything from Peanut Butter and Chocolate to Caramel with Butterscotch Crunch get the locals vote for the tastiest hole food.
Easily spotted by the Big Red Barn on the property, Grand Ravines is a must for outdoors lovers and our four legged friends. Wide, paved trails traverse much of the picturesque property, with unpaved off-shoots for the more avid explorer.
Kids love the wide suspension bridge and dogs love the large dog park at the Fillmore road entrance. And if your pooch gets a little muddy, there’s even a dog washing station!
Don’t miss this annual summer event in Hudsonville! With over 12,000 entries, the Hudsonville Fair is the place to see livestock, 4-H, and personal skills exhibits on display. But that’s not all… be sure to stick around for the carnival rides, dog and horse shows, tractor pulls, live entertainment, magic shows, motocross, turtle races, Kids’ Day events, vendors, and so much more!
05) Get Ace Lessons (and affordable gear) at Maple Hill Golf
Maple Hill Golf is a popular golfing facility for all ages. Priding themselves on exceptional golf lessons for kids, families love watching their kids learn the game with thoughtful instructors and heading over to their massive, well-priced gear shop.
06) Try the One Pound Banana Split at Chapel Charlie’s Cup & Cone
Learn all about the Jenison family and how the area started as a lumber town. The Husband-Hanchett-Tiffany House has been restored and furnished with period furniture and has fun displays of Jenison History. Jenison School students get to visit the museum in Third grade, but families can explore the museum during a scheduled open house.
08) Spend the Morning at Terra Square Farmer’s Market
Not only is this farmer’s market a great source for fresh, locally grown produce, but it also provides a space to interact with the local community through kids’ activities, learning opportunities, and entertainment.
This sledding hill in Rosewood Park, affectionately known as Charlie’s Dump, is a favorite winter sledding spot. Jenison’s Soccer Bowl has four different slopes feeding down onto a soccer field, so the older kids can head for the steeper hills while the little ones can stick to the shorter slopes. And once the snow is gone, come on back to Rosewood Park and enjoy the super fun playground equipment and splash pad!
10) Enjoy the Outdoors at Hudsonville Nature Center
Take your little one to Hudsonville Nature Center to explore the trails and boardwalks, climb the scenic overlook and enjoy the wildflowers and wildlife. With 76 acres of woodlands, prairies and wetlands, there is always something new to discover. And if you have an older nature lover in your family, be sure to check out the free guided nature hikes offered throughout the year.
11) Play, Shop, and Dine at Rivertown Crossings Mall
Not only does RiverTown Mall have over 130 stores for all your shopping needs, but it also has plenty of entertainment and dining options, including a movie theater, carousel, restaurants and Magic Treehouse Play Area. Additional amenities for families include family restrooms, free WiFi, a nursing lounge, safety escorts, soft seating areas, and stroller rental.
Action Wake Park is Michigan’s only full size cable park. While they can provide an action-packed experience for the expert wake boarder, they are also happy to provide training and advice to first time riders. In fact, if it’s your first time riding cable, join them during one of their daily slow cable times. It makes learning the cable easier for beginner riders!
13) Discover the Historic Engine House No. 5 Museum
Engine House No. 5 was originally constructed in downtown Grand Rapids in 1880 and has since been restored and moved to its current home in Allendale. Exhibits include historic leather buckets, firemen’s uniforms, helmets, engines, horse carts and fire extinguishers. And for the future firefighters in your family, don’t miss out on the unique Summer Camp experiences offered at the Engine House!
The Age of Discovery playground will delight your children, but the addition of picnic tables, grills, horseshoe pits, modern restrooms and miles of nature trails at Hager Park is guaranteed to keep the whole family coming back again and again!
Lace up those bowling shoes and join the fun at Hudsonville Lanes! If you’re bringing little ones, ask for the bumper bowling lanes for a frustration-free game of bowling without gutter balls. And if you’re looking for fun for the older kids, be sure to check out COOL Cosmic Bowling with special effects lighting, the lights turned down, and the music turned up!
Round up your big kids for a day of fun at Hughes Park! Hughes Park has an 18-hole, 9-basket disc golf course which is open to the public, as well as ball diamonds, a beach volleyball court, basketball courts, picnic pavilions and a playground.
There are lots of opportunities here for the family who loves to ice skate! Public open skate, freestyle figure skating times, drop-in adult and youth hockey games, Stick & Puck to practice your hockey skills, adult leagues, Learn to Skate and Intro to Hockey classes – and even pizza parties!
Seeking a shady place for the kids to explore? Spring Grove Park fits the bill with a playground, trails, and a flowing spring the kids can dip their toes in. Bring a picnic and enjoy a cool escape on a hot day.
19) Enjoy the Music and Fun at Concerts on the Green
Veteran’s Park 3275 Central Blvd, Hudsonville, MI 49426
Enjoy a fun and relaxing summer evening in Hudsonville with Concerts on the Green. Each week features a different musical group, as well as kids’ crafts, games, inflatables and other family-friendly activities. Bring along your own seating and enjoy dinner options and ice cream available for purchase.
20) Take a Family Bike Ride Along Buck Creek Trail
The Buck Creek Trail follows Buck Creek through the cities of Grandville and Wyoming and also connects with a network of trails that lead up to Grand Rapids via the Grand River Pathway and Kent Trails system. Highlights along the trail include Wedgwood Park in Grandville, as well as the Buck Creek Nature Preserve in Wyoming.
Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink is the perfect roller skating destination for families with children. They offer skatemate rental for little ones who are just learning or still a little unsteady on their skates!
If you’re up for a challenge, check out the Ninja Warrior Course at Rebounderz Extreme Fun Center- over 200 feet of obstacles, Michigan’s first Spider Wall, a multi-section elevated course, and the finish line on top of a 10 foot warp wall! And while you’re there, don’t miss the JumpXTREME Tower, foam pit, inflatable fun slide and jump arena. Or grab some friends to play air dodgeball, slam basketball or human foosball!
The library is a wonderful place for kids to play and learn. Not only can you find books, but most libraries also have activities, puzzles and other interactive toys- you can stop in any time for loads of educational fun! Many libraries also offer story times, classes and even special events, so be sure to check the website of your local library to see what they have to offer!
26) Play a Round of Mini Golf at Loeschner Village Green
If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned game of putt putt golf, take the family to Loeschner Village Green! Thirty-nine holes of mini golf, some skeeball and snacks and a ride on the musical carousel horse makes for a fun family night out!
There’s always something special about watching a movie outside! Bring the whole family to Allendale Movies in the Park for free, family-friendly movies throughout the summer. Just don’t forget your blanket or lawn chairs!
The kids will love seeing the ducks at Wedgwood Park before heading off to the playground to play. The park is also adjacent to Buck Creek Trail, so hiking and biking is an option- and if you want to stick around for lunch or dinner, there are picnic shelters with tables, a campfire area and charcoal grills.
29) Take a Picnic Cruise on the Grand Lady Riverboat
Pack up a lunch and take your kids on a picnic they will never forget! The Grand Lady Riverboat offers Sunday afternoon Picnic Cruises where you can learn about Steamboat History and the Grand River while the kids can enjoy a root beer float and have a chance to steer the big wheel in the pilothouse!
Instagram & Newsletter Manager. Renee is Grand Rapids born & raised and takes any chance she can get to adventure around the city -- especially if those adventures lead to one of her favorite local coffee spots. Mom to four growing-too-fast kids, you can often find her facing her arch nemesis: The Laundry. Renee loves to plan anything from a date night with her husband to a day trip with her kids. Things she gets excited about: Antique shops, Podcasts, The Enneagram.