20 Memorable Things to Do in Muskegon MI

The Deck Muskegon Michigan VanderW

Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI

If you’re looking for a Michigan vacation destination that’s close to home, you’ll want to take a closer look at Muskegon, MI.

When people think of west Michigan lakeshore towns, it’s generally Grand Haven, Saugatuck or Holland. If you just stop there, you’re missing out on a wealth of adventure in Muskegon.

In addition to beaches, Muskegon is home to the USS Silversides Submarine Museum (where you can spend the night!), an up-and-coming downtown area and an amazing summer art festival.

Muskegon FAQs

Where is Muskegon MI located?

Muskegon is located about 45 minutes northwest of Grand Rapids, right along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Muskegon-on-a-Map

When is the best time to visit Muskegon?

Muskegon is great to visit all year, but it really comes alive in the spring and summer when outdoor activities are more available.

What is Muskegon known for?

In addition to being close to Michigan’s Adventure, Muskegon is has way more beaches than you might expect.

Muskegon County as a whole has 26 miles of shoreline and their beaches are often less crowded than those farther south. Their waters are often filled with sailboats.

Muskegon is a lesser-known vacation town, with historic homes, lighthouses, a mega rollercoaster/waterpark and lots of outdoor rec.

Throw in 18 beaches, parks and sand dunes and Muskegon MI is definitely worth the trip.

Things to Do in Muskegon

1 – Take a Cruise Boat Up the Muskegon Channel

Aquastar Lake Cruises
560 Mart St, Muskegon, MI 49440

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Muskegon Channel on a leisurely cruise onboard Aquastar Lake Cruises.

The two-story riverboat departs from the Mart Dock most days throughout summer. While afternoon and sunset cruises are the most popular, there are also special themed cruises every week including wine tasting, Cabaret, Luau, and the annual Blessing of the Boats.

The indoor lower level includes a full bar. Chips and hot dogs are also available for purchase. The open air upper level has a partial bar that serves canned beer. No homemade food is allowed on board per state regulations.

Restrooms are available on board, but they are not accessible and there is not a baby changing station.

Tickets range from $25 ($10 kids) for afternoon cruises through $40 ($20 kids) for some specialty themes. Veterans and active duty military are free for afternoon and sunset cruises.

Pro tip: Bring along coloring books or other entertainment for your kids.

Aquastar Cruise family at lower level table
Aquastar Cruise ship at dock
Aquastar Cruise view of lighthouse and coast from ship

2 – Get Hands On at Lakeshore Museum Center 

Lakeshore Museum Center
430 W. Clay Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

The Lakeshore Museum is two floors of history and science in the making – much of it hands-on.

The main level is home to the rotating exhibit (currently Dangerous Things) and the STEM Center.

The lower level has the Michigan history area, Body Works exhibit and the Science Center. This is a baby and toddler-safe version of the main level’s STEM Center.

The museum is open Monday – Saturday year-round. Admission is $5 for ages 3+. Muskegon county residents of any age are free.

Lakeshore Museum Muskegon sign
Lakeshore Museum Muskegon stem center wide view
Main level STEM Center at the Lakeshore Museum
Lakeshore Museum Muskegon science center wide view
Lower level Science Center at the Lakeshore Museum
Lakeshore Museum Muskegon MI history wide view Rudd
Michigan History room at the Lakeshore Museum

3 – Spend the Day at Pere Marquette Park, Lighthouse & The Deck Restaurant

Pere Marquette Park
3510 Channel Drive, Muskegon, MI 49441

The Deck
1601 Beach St, Muskegon, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Beach sport enthusiasts will love Pere Marquette Park.

Rent jet-skis & paddleboards, take a kite-boarding lesson or play sand volleyball.

Those looking for a more relaxing trip to the beach will find a playground, restaurant and concessions, wheelchair accessible beach walk, picnic tables and restrooms.

Playground at Pere Marquette Park VanderW

Pere Marquette beach is raked daily, so it’s no surprise it is listed as one of the cleanest beaches by the National Healthy Beaches Campaign and the Clean Beaches Council.

Break up your beach day with a meal at The Deck, located at The Ovals on Pere Marquette Beach. This upbeat, seasonal restaurant features BBQ plates, craft brews & cocktails, plus a beachfront patio.

The Deck Restaurant at Pere Marquette Beach Muskegon
Grab a meal at The Deck on Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon MI

4 – Hike or Beach at PJ Hoffmaster State Park

6585 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon, Michigan 4944

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon has over 10 miles of trails you can choose from to get from the parking lot to beautiful lake views, followed by a seemingly endless beachfront you can walk once you get there.

One of the park’s main attractions is the dune climb along the Dune Overlook Trail, an approximately half-mile roundtrip climb with about 220 steps and benches along the way.

To learn more about the dunes, stop by the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center.

PJ Hoffmaster State Park Sand Dunes by Lake Michigan

5 – Tour a WWII Submarine

USS Silversides
1346 Bluff St, Muskegon, MI, 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

The kids will be fascinated as they tour the USS Silversides, a World War 2 submarine.

Maybe they will even want to spend the night aboard! And be sure to come back in the summer as well to enjoy “Movies on Deck.”

USS Silversides in Muskegon Michigan

6 -Go Boating on Muskegon Lake

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Most people just imagine the Lake Michigan waters when they think of Muskegon. But Muskegon actually sits on Lake Muskegon, a massive river mouth lake that empties into Lake Michigan.

And this smaller, more protected body of water is fabulous for water sports. Bring your own boat or rent from places like Muskegon Lake Boat Rentals or 3rd Coast Rentals. Pick a pontoon, jet ski, fishing or even speed boat and get out on that glittering water!

7 – Throwback at the Drive-In

Getty Drive-In Theatre
920 E Summit Ave, Muskegon, MI 49444

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Owned by Celebration Cinemas, the Getty Drive-In has all the summer blockbusters.

The Getty Drive-In has been around since 1948 and today boasts FOUR giant outdoor screens.

You’ll find concessions and a kids’ play area here, too.

Getty Drive In theater courtesy of Getty
Muskegon Getty Drive-In Movie Theater

8 – Hike to the Lakeshore, Lighthouse and Sand Dunes

Muskegon Lakeshore Trail
3510 Channel Dr, Muskegon, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Muskegon Lakeshore Trail runs just under 12 miles around Muskegon Lake and through town.

Trailgoers are treated to sights of the lakes, the channel, the South Pier Lighthouse and sand dunes.

Trail also provides convenient access to area attractions and restaurants.

There is plenty of parking available at various places along Lakeshore Drive, Heritage Landing, Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve and Pere Marquette Park.

Muskegon beach Lake Michigan VanderW

9 – Luge, Skate Through the Woods or Take a Zip Line at Muskegon State Park

Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
462 Scenic Drive, North Muskegon, MI, 49445

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park is THE place for winter sports recreation. Boasting an ice skating rink through the woods, an 850′ luge track (one of only 4 luge tracks in the nation), night cross country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding, people travel far to come to this unique sports complex.

Summer more your style? Head on over for zip line and archery, or ride the luge – on wheels!

Muskegon Zip Line Adventure Sports Park
luge at muskegon winter sports complex 2 1

10 – Take a Ferry Ride to Milwaukee

Lake Michigan Fast Ferry
1918 Lakeshore Dr, Muskegon, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

The Lake Express ferry transports visitors between Milwaukee and Muskegon, making your trip to Wisconsin just 2 1/2  hours long. It’s a great way to experience the grandeur of Lake Michigan and makes Milwaukee a very easy getaway.

lake express high speed ferry muskegon to milwaukee 1

11 – Shop the Muskegon Farmers Market

242 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

The Muskegon Farmer’s Market has been around longer than anyone can remember and is the place for the best produce, fruit, flowers and anything farmers grow in the region.

It’s not just a market where you pop in – it’s more like an event. You’ll also find food trucks, live music, performing artists and more.

The market runs year round, but May – November is the height of the season. Common hours are Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, 8 AM – 2 PM.

Muskegon Farmers Market Vendor

12 – Rollercoaster and Water Park Fun at the Mega Amusement Park

Michigan’s Adventure
1198 W Riley-Thompson Rd., Muskegon, MI 49445

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

The largest amusement park in the state, Michigan’s Adventure is two parks in one – rollercoasters and water park. Live close enough and you can get season passes for year round thrills.

corckscrew-roller-coaster-michigans-adventure
beach party waterpark michigans adventure

13 – Chase a Sugar Rush at These Candy Stores

Hey Sugar Cotton Candy
1925 Lakeshore Drive, Muskegon, MI 49441

Lakeside Emporium
1930 Lakeshore Dr., Muskegon, Michigan 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Hey Sugar make small batch cotton candy in flavors like Bubble Gum, Tropical Punch, Root Beet Float, Confetti Cake and Salty Caramel. Purchase in packages or freshly spun cones.

Hey Sugar Muskegon girl eating fresh spun cotton candy

Lakeside Emporium offers all kinds of delicious sweet treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. Get favorites like gummies, fruit slices and chocolates along with nuts, taffy, jelly bellies and more.

Candy Store: Lakeside Emporium

14 – Play Putt Putt Golf, Ride Go-Karts & Rock the Arcade

Craig’s Cruisers
1551 E Pontaluna Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49444

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Craig’s Cruisers Muskegon is your one-stop place for all kinds of active fun.

Zoom around on outside go-karts or sail on bumper boats. Plus 18 holes of mini golf, arcade, pizza and more.

craigs cruisers

15 – Muskegon Union Depot

Visitor’s Center
610 West Western Avenue, Muskegon, Michigan 49440,

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Hitting up the visitor’s center in a new town is always a good idea. And if it’s in a historic railroad station? You have to go! Muskegon’s Visitor’s Center is an architectural beauty worthy of a stop and photo op.

16 – Take a Scenic Drive

Local Point of Interest
N. Scenic Drive, Muskegon, MI

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Start on the north side of the channel in Muskegon State Park and drive up to Whitehall.

This is probably the most beautiful drive in Michigan, especially in the fall. Take your time and stop now and then to walk the beach.

17 – Watch the Muskegon Lumberjacks

Mercy Health Arena
470 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Head downtown to Mercy Health Arena for a Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey game! Your family will have a blast cheering on the ‘Jacks.

Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey player

18 – Head to Outer Space at Carr-Fles Planetarium

Carr-Fles
221 South Quarterline Rd, Muskegon, MI 49442

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

Located on Muskegon Community College campus, Carr-Fles Planetarium offers state-of-the-art digital projection, sound and lighting systems, modern theater seating, a new domed ceiling and FREE themed planetarium shows every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 PM.

19 – Muskegon Yacht Club Sailing School

Local Business
3198 Edgewater Street, Muskegon, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

The MYC Sailing School summer program features camps from mid-June through mid-August.

Lessons are designed to meet the needs of each sailor from first-time to experienced with instruction tailored to the individual student.

muskegon yacht club sailing

20 – Attend the Great Lakes Surf Festival

Annually in August
Pere Marquette Beach, 1601 S. Beach St. Muskegon, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Things to Do in Muskegon MI:

The annual late summer Great Lakes Surf Festival celebrates all things surfing and paddle boarding.

Event-goers can enjoy music, food, art and yoga. For the enthusiasts (and newbies) there are also beginner surf and SUP lessons and workshops.

Plus free raffle giveaways for surfboards, SUPs, surf trips and surf related clothing.

Great Lakes Surf Festival, Muskegon, MI

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