Waterside Summer Date Night Ideas
Up Your Summer Date Night Game With These Waterside Destinations
West Michigan summers are perfect for all kinds of family activities, but sometimes parents need a night out…just the two of you, right?!
And what better way to spend a summer evening than a place with an amazing view?
We wanted to make planning your summer date nights a little easier while also being sure to include one of the best features West Michigan has to offer – WATER!
Whether it’s LakeMichigan, the Grand River, or one of our many inland lakes and rivers, we’ve put together a creative list of summer date night ideas that you can enjoy with your significant other this summer!
If you can swing it, a date by Lake Michigan is perfect.
It’s cooler than inland on these hot summer nights, the sound of waves hitting the shore adds a little romance, and epic Lake Michigan sunsets make for an unforgettable evening.
Make it the Boardwalk in Grand Haven, Michigan
Make a stop for sandwiches, like “The Tipsy Texan” or the “Nashville Hottie,” from The Toasted Pickle (112 Washington Ave), and head down to the boardwalk to dine waterside.
Find a bench or spread a picnic blanket on one of the many grassy spaces along the harbor and watch the boats go by.
Take the 3-mile round trip on the boardwalk (start at Chinook Pier, 301 N. Harbor Dr.) and catch the sunset over Lake Michigan! HINT: Check out @visitgrandhaven on Instagram where they post the daily sunset time.
Visit the Pump House (20 N Harbor Dr.) for something sweet (frozen yogurt, anyone?) before taking in a performance of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain (101 N Harbor Dr).
If you’ve not visited this iconic lakeshore attraction before, you can expect a 25-minute synchronized water and light show set to a wide range of music…everything from the Trans Siberian Orchestra to Justin Timberlake.
The show is free (donations accepted) Find showtimes & nightly playlists here.
Go Tandem in Holland, Michigan
A bicycle made for two? Yes, please!
Cross Country Cycle located on the north side of Lake Macatawa (345 Douglas Ave Holland, MI 49424) offers $20 Tandem bike rentals.
From their rental location, you can take the Lakeshore Loop from Cross Country Cycle. It’s 13 miles with lots of places along the way to stop and explore.
You and your partner can choose to stop to climb Mt Pisgah, offering views of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. You’ll also find ice cream at the Ottawa Beach General Store.
Continue on your way to Holland State Park Beach and Tunnel Park for more time along the Lake Michigan coastline.
The loop is just over 13 miles long and is relatively flat. There is a bike path for part of the route.
Sign Up for a Sunset Sail out of South Haven, MI
Looking for summer date night ideas with a little more adventure? Hoist the sail!
Sailing South Haven offers 2-hour sunset sailings on the 37-foot Margaret Ann that are hopelessly romantic.
The sound of the wind and waves lapping will lull you into a state of bliss. Add wine and your favorite person – what more could you ask for?
Sign up in advance online – sunset sails are popular and often sell out.
Dine Waterside in Grand Rapids
Perhaps you’re looking for a place to dine waterside.
Here’s a curated list several favorite waterside restaurants scattered throughout West Michigan. (Click here for a full list of patio dining locations in West MI.)
– Linear Restaurant (1001 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids) not only has a riverfront dining experience and patio seating too. Their modern-American menu features seasonal & local produce and the restaurant aesthetic has a bright Frank Llyod Wright-esque vibe. Definitely plan to add this restaurant to your “must visit” list this summer.
– The Lake House Waterfront Grille (730 Terrace Point Blvd, Muskegon). Situated near a marina and overlooking Muskegon Lake, you can dine al fresco on their large deck.
– Red Dock in Saugatuck/Douglas (219 N Union St, Douglas, MI 49406) is the place to be on Sunday nights in the summer. *We hope they reopen this summer! Their waterside seats, live music, and yummy food make this a great hangout.
– The Southerner (800 Holland St., Saugatuck). The Southerner is a triple- threat with their serious Southern cooking, Southern charm AND a serious water view. Just outside the hustle & bustle of downtown Saugatuck, situated on the Kalamazoo River, this popular restaurant has everything from Fried Chicken to Shrimp & Grits.
– Bostwick Lake Inn (8521 Belding Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341) Bostwick Lake Inn is the place to go if you’re looking for a laid-back “at the cottage vibe” with fresh food and great drinks.
Make it Food Truck Friday & Disc Golf at Riverside Park in GR
Back for 2021, Food Truck Fridays are happening again at Riverside Park (2001 Monroe Ave NE, Grand Rapids)!
A great selection of Food Trucks gather every Friday from 5:00 – 9:00 PM at Riverside Park (through September 3.)
While the trucks that gather at the park each week vary, cuisine you may be able to indulge in includes: Hand-rolled ice cream, wood-fired pizzas, gyros, crepes, turkey legs…are you drooling yet?
BONUS: Riverside Park has Disc Golf, so bring a frisbee and challenge your partner to a round!
Take Your Picnic Riverside to Grand Ravines Park
Grand Ravines Park North (9920 42nd Ave, Jenison MI 49428) is the perfect spot for a romantic riverside picnic.
While there are a handful of tables scattered throughout the park, my favorite place to sit is on a bench in front of the Grand Ravines Lodge. You can’t ask for a much better view of the Grand River from here – and if you keep an eye out, you may even spot a bald eagle soaring overhead.
PRO TIP: For amazing picnic supplies, swing into Martha’s Vineyard (200 Union Ave NE, Grand Rapids).
They have prepped & ready-to-eat sandwiches, fresh fruit and charcuterie items along with coolers of craft beers and sodas, and wine. Their deli & dessert case is also chock-full of delicious items (two words: Mom’s Hummus) perfect for including in your basket!
Stay Late at Meijer Gardens for Waterfalls & Concerts
Here’s one of our mid-week summer date night ideas: head to Frederik Meijer Gardens (1000 E Beltline Ave. NE).
Open until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, it’s wonderful to be able to take a quiet walk and really take in all the beauty of the gardens when you’re not having to keep up with kids.
You can choose to stroll the Frey Boardwalk and check out the wetlands, or head to the Japanese Garden and soak up the serene surroundings, or walk through the Sculpture Park and grab a bench by the waterfall.
You can also enjoy the Tuesday Evening Music Club if you’re visiting between July 6-August 31, 2021.
So go ahead – grab your date and enjoy an evening of waterside summer fun in West Michigan with one of these fantastic summer date night ideas!
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This list needs to be updated. The Riverside Grill in Rockford is no longer open.