Millennium Park Grand Rapids: An Outdoor Adventure Oasis
1415 Maynard Ave SW, Walker, MI 49534
natural hiking paths through hardwoods, creek & hills
Trail Length: 18 miles total
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs Allowed? Yes, but they must be on a 6-foot leash.
Facilities: Modern restrooms plus seasonal restrooms located near the North Trailhead.
Stroller Friendly? Yes
Time of Year Accessible: May 1-October 31, from sun up to sundown
Millennium Park is the Crown Jewel of the Kent County Parks System
With over 1,400 acres of outdoor activities, this park has something for everyone.
I hadn’t been to Millennium Park Grand Rapids in over a decade because I thought there was a cost to go. And I don’t like risking packing up the kids for an adventure and paying a big admission, only to have my kids want to go home after five minutes.
But much of Millennium Park is FREE!
(There is a fee to get into Millennium Beach – including splash pad – and boat rentals, but everything else is complimentary, including parking.)
You can play on the playground, walk the beautiful, paved trails system, fly a kite, have lunch, watch the boaters on the lake, and more, for free!
Millennium Park Grand Rapids has just about everything you’d want for an outdoor adventure and is one of over 50 hiking trails in West Michigan.
- 18 Miles of Hiking Trails
- Beach and Splash Pad
- Boat Rentals (kayak, paddleboard, canoe, rowboat, paddleboat)
- Pavilions and grills
- Modern restrooms and changing areas
- Large Playground
- Basketball and volleyball courts, cross country skiing
- Fishing areas
Millennium Park Beach & Splash Pad
*This is a fee-based area of the park.
Millennium Park Beach and Millennium Park Splash Pad are accessed via the same entrance. You will need to pay a fee to get in, but the fee covers both attractions.
Millennium Park Splash Pad
The splash pad water was so cold! But also so fun.
I liked that the splash pad is completely enclosed so parents of little kids don’t have to worry about someone wandering off.
Millennium Park Beach Area
The beach area is sandy – although it is a little grainy.
There’s a marked swimming section and plenty of room to spread out towels, dig with sand toys, and have a fun day at the beach.
Bathroom breaks are easy – just pop into the VanAndel Beach House. Changing rooms are available as well.
Millennium Park Concessions
Covered picnic tables dot the concrete terrace, which is right next to the concession stand.
The concession stand was well-stocked when we visited – Hawaiian shaved ice, hot dogs, and cold brew coffee were some of our favorites.
Millennium Park Beach Area Fees
Admission to the beach/splash pad area is $4 for adults, $2 for kids aged 3-15, and kids under two are free. They accept Visa and Mastercard.
Want to go again and again? Consider a season pass.
Millennium Park Boathouse & Boat Rentals
Boat rentals are typically available from the Millennium Park Grand Rapids Boathouse from Mid-May through Mid-September.
Private watercraft are not allowed to launch at the Boathouse.
Tandem Kayaks, Stand-Up Paddleboards, Single Kayaks, Canoes, Row Boats, and Paddleboards are all available by the hour. Rates are reasonable – kayaks are just $8 for an hour.
You will need to show an ID when renting equipment.
Lockers are available (bring your own lock) or leave your keys, wallet, and phone at the front desk for safekeeping while you paddle.
You will pay for the first hour of your rental when you check in. If you stay out longer than an hour, you will pay for the additional time when you return.
Rentals are first-come, first-served – there are no reservations. Life jackets and paddles are included with your rental.
You will need to wear a lifejacket at all times (they are provided).
Kids ages 12-15 can use rental equipment on their own, but it must be checked out by an adult.
Lake Leota is fun to paddle – there is usually little to no current and paddling under the bridge is cool.
Millennium Park Playgrounds
There are three different playground sections at this park, one for the younger kids, one for the older kids, and one ninja warrior course.
The playgrounds are outside of the fenced-off beach area and have a nice grassy area nearby.
They feature swings, slides, a rock wall, and climbing elements.
The surface is covered with woodchips,
Also nearby: the picnic shelters (these are often reserved by groups ahead of time).
The playground has a special area just for 2-5 year olds.
Ninja Warrior Playground
Kids and families that like to watch American Ninja Warrior on television will love testing their mettle on the new play equipment at Millennium Park.
Multiple obstacles and structures comprise the playground, which is geared toward older kids.
This design is the first in the USA and Millennium Park is excited to debut it here right in Grand Rapids.
Fishing at Millennium Park Grand Rapids
Fishing from the observation and fishing decks at Millennium Park makes accessing the water a breeze.
There are a few places in the park where fishing is not allowed, but overall there are numerous places to cast a line.
Hint: You don’t have to fish in the busy parts of the park. There are multiple lakes to fish from. Try walking to the little deck between two lakes on the other side of Millennium Park and casting there for a bit.
Some people rent a paddle boat and fish from that.
Millennium Park Trails
I feel like more often than not I’m telling you to leave the stroller in the car, but guess what?
Bring that stroller, you parents of tiny humans! Finally, a trail that is primarily stroller-friendly.
Millennium Park in Walker offers a whopping 18 miles of interconnected trails. Most of these trails are paved, but there are some off-shoot trails that are natural surfaces.
This detailed trail map notes which trails are paved or natural surface.
In addition to being stroller-friendly, you can also take a bike, scooter, or any human-powered device on the trails. We tackled the trails with a scooter and a stroller and it was a breeze!
We hiked the Orange and Purple loops and part of the Hansen Nature Trail. These trails offer views of beautiful wetlands and the recreational lake. It also has two boardwalks that my kids loved.
The trails are mostly sunny, with some shade on the Hansen Nature Trail. You’ll want to apply sunscreen and bug spray before you hike during the summer months.
The trails were busy with bikers, joggers, and hikers. If you have toddlers prone to wandering, be mindful, and keep them close.
We barely scratched the surface of all the trails at Millennium Park Grand Rapids.
From what we did see, the trails are well-maintained and easy to navigate. With many options of loops and lengths, you can easily cater to your family’s needs.
There are many parking options located along the trails.
The map offers specific addresses to input into your GPS if you want to start somewhere other than the main park complex. Seasonal public restrooms are located by the Kent Trails North Trailhead.
Millennium Park Tips
- Millennium Park has a lot of full sun areas, especially the beach and splash pad, so protect your skin.
- Bring a stroller (or bikes!) for the paved trails. My husband and I found the one mile and two-mile trails to be quite pleasant, but apparently my three- and six- year olds preferred to be carried. And we hadn’t brought a stroller or bikes for the kids.
- The paths wind through the woods, so bring bug repellant.
- Pack a picnic (or bring money for concessions at the Beach House). There’s a lot to do at Millennium and you’ll get the most out of your trip if you spend the day there.
- If you do the beach, don’t forget all the usual beach supplies (chairs, blankets, towels, sand toys), and note that there are lockers and shower rooms.
- Dogs are allowed on the trails and at the park, but they cannot go to the beach area, so leave your pet at home if you plan to swim or do the splash pad.
- Millennium Park has a large parking space, but as such, you may walk a bit to get to the playground and beach.
- This is a great place to fly a kite.
Map of Grand Rapids Parks and Trails
Find your next outdoor adventure near you with this map of the best hiking trails, playgrounds, and parks in West Michigan.
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