Millennium Park Parent’s Guide: All About the Beach, Trails, Playgrounds, Splash Pad, Equipment Rentals, Fishing and More

Millennium Park header
COVID-19 Notice: The beach, splashpad, and boat rentals are CLOSED until further notice. Check their website for updates.

1415 Maynard Ave SW, Walker, MI 49534

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 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.)

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!

West Michigan Beach Directory » 

About the Playgrounds at Millenium Park

We had so much fun at Millennium Park when we went.

First, we checked out the playground. (And then the bathrooms.) There are two different playground sections at this park, one for the younger kids and one for the older kids. The playgrounds are outside of the fenced-off beach area and have a nice grassy area nearby. Also nearby: the picnic shelters (these are often reserved by groups ahead of time.)

Millennium Park playground

We had a snack and then chose a 2-mile loop from the 18-mile trail system. (More about this later.)

After our walk, the kids were ready to cool off and I was ready to sit in a lawn chair, so we headed into the beach area.

Millennium Park Beach & Splashpad: What You Need to Know

*This is a fee-based area of the park.

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-splash-pad-Grand-Rapids

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.

Covered picnic tables dot the concrete terrace, which is right next to the concession stand.

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 beach

About the Boathouse and Boat Rentals

Boat rentals are typically available from the Millennium Park Boathouse from Mid-May through Mid-September. Lake Leota is fun to paddle – there is usually little to no current and paddling under the bridge is cool.

Tandem Kayaks, Stand-Up Paddleboards, Single Kayaks, Canoes, Row Boats, and Paddleboards are all available by the hour. Rates are very reasonable – kayaks are just $8 for an hour.

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.

Millennium-Park-boat house boat rentals

Fishing at Millennium Park

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.

About the Huge Trail Network at Millennium Park

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.

Millennium Park Grand Rapids

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!

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy!

  • Dogs Allowed? Yes.

  • Facilities: Seasonal restrooms located near the North Trailhead.

  • Stroller Friendly? Yes–most of the trails are paved and stroller friendly.

  • Time of Year Accessible: Open year round.

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Stroll, Blade, or Bike Through Woodland and Lake Views

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.

Millennium-Park trails

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.

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 it to your family’s needs

Millennium Park trails

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.

Grab the Perfect Beach Read at Kent District Library

I’m an avid reader and there’s nothing I love more than a good book at the beach (and maybe some extra eyes to watch my kids swim while I read). Sometimes it’s hard to find the next “good book” at the library–especially if you have your kids along with you.

Kent District Library has the coolest tool called StoryCompass! This online tool guides you through a few questions (like your age group and genres you typically enjoy) and then generates a personalized list of book recommendations based on your interests.

KDL StoryCompass also works for children and teens. I often blindly grab books for my kids and end up disappointed at home. You can confidently curate a list of books that you know your kids will enjoy with StoryCompass!

Don’t even know what you like these days? They have tons of general recommendations like staff picks, best sellers, and, of course, beach reads. So grab a good book and hit the beach at Millennium Park!

Tips for Your Trip from other Parents

  • 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 FAQ’s

Yes, though with so much wide open space, you’ll want to keep a close eye on them so they don’t wander off. The playground has a special area just for 2-5 year olds, there’s the splash pad and the beach, which has a very slow drop off, and lots of trails where you can push your stroller and let them take in the views.

Millennium Park playground

Millennium Park has just about everything you’d want for an outdoor adventure.

  • 18 Miles of Hiking Trails
  • Beach and Splash Pad
  • Boat Rentals (kayak, paddle board, canoe, rowboat, paddleboat)
  • Pavillions and grills
  • Concessions
  • Indoor bathrooms
  • Large Playground
  • Basketball and volleyball courts, cross country skiing
  • Fishing areas
There are indoor bathrooms near some of the pavilions and at the beach house. You’ll want to take any restroom breaks before embarking on any trails.

Millennium Park offers many picnic shelters and grills. Two shelters are available for rent if desired. Others are first-come, first-served basis.

Millennium Park pavillion

Millennium Park has its share of shade trees, but the majority of the park is in full sun. The trails can be especially sunny and on hot days, I’d recommend taking those on in the early morning or towards evening, and enjoy the beach and splash pad during noonday sun.

Millennium Park open trails

Yes! We saw a few kites in flight when we visited. This is a great place for that!
Millenium Park is free, with the exception of Millennium Beach, which is where you’ll find the splash pad, beach and boat rentals.  The beach and splash pad are $4 for adults, $2 for kids aged 3-15, and free for those under three. Boat rentals vary in cost.
Millennium Park is open May 1-October 31, from sun up to sundown, with the exception of the beach/splash pad area. The beach and splash pad close at 8:00 PM, and the bathrooms in the beach area close at 7:30 PM.

Millennium Park has a large parking space, but as such, you may walk a bit to get to the playground and beach.

All the West Michigan Parks and Trails Your Family Needs to Know About

Discover even more parks in our list of Favorite Grand Rapids Playgrounds. Trail seekers will find plenty to explore in our list of Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails around Grand Rapids.

Or, use this map of all the playgrounds, trails and dog parks around West Michigan to find your next family adventure!

Have Tips or Questions about Millennium Park?

Leave us a comment below and we will get back to you.

Millennium Park girl jumping

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5 thoughts on “Millennium Park Parent’s Guide: All About the Beach, Trails, Playgrounds, Splash Pad, Equipment Rentals, Fishing and More”

  1. Chris Jennifer via Facebook

    Umm, this morning, yesterday, Saturday, last weekend, weekend before , weekend before…….I think I see a pattern! Sometimes we run, sometimes we bike, sometimes we rollerblade, sometimes we swim, sometimes we sit on the beach and play/read and sometimes we actually stay home for a day.

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