"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
December 16th, 2014
Now, I know we’re about to hit the peak of winter, but the summer needs some planning ahead, especially for a family trip. So West Michigan isn’t that wild of an idea for a family trip, right? At least consider these things when summer plans begin forming in your household.
1) One of the best ice cream places I have been to, and definitely on the top-top of the list of Michigan (Moomers in Traverse City is its one competition), is Jersey Junction in East Grand Rapids. It is a place with a rich history, well-loved by folks from the Grand Rapids area, and charming for the rest of us who encounter it. This ice cream parlor has been here for quite awhile, and stories from their past cover their walls. One of the stores original gas lights still sits outside the store. They are one of few places in the area that are still serving old fashioned sodas and they also serve Michigan’s Hudsonville Ice Cream (including Blue Moon, my favorite). And the waffle cones are fresh and made in house.
2) Grand Haven, Michigan is a beach town. For those who live on the coast, a Midwestern city being called a beach town may very well sound ridiculous, but once you’ve experienced Lake Michigan, you’ll understand. The lake is beautiful with its beautiful waters and small waves. In the summer, this town is crowded with visitors and activities. Plus, this town is a foodie town, with known restaurants like Snug Harbor, Morning Star Cafe, Grand Haven Islands, and plenty of others.
3) Holland, Michigan is another beach town, originally settled by Dutch Calvinists. Now, that may not be terribly interesting (and for the few that find that interesting, I recommend Holland’s annual “Tulip Festival” in May), but some of things those settlers left behind are beautiful, such as the historical De Zwaan windmill, first erected in 1761. Holland is also littered with summer cottages and tourists, but the town maintains its small town feel in the craze that sets in when things get warm. A popular event towards the very end of summer is the Tulipanes Latino Art and Film Festival.
4) Festival of the Arts is the largest outdoor festival in Grand Rapids, has been going on for 45 years, and has more than 20,000 volunteers helping out with this free event. Free concerts, amazing food booths, and dancers all over the place, this festival is a great way to kick off your summer with the family, from June 6th to the 8th.
5) Eastown Bizarre Bazaar draws all the quirky and wild vendors of Michigan for an amazing artist market. Local artists and local food, what could be better? The music is also awesome. Yes, some of it is a bit odd, but for the most part, you will be blown away. GR’s favorite bazaar has consistently attracted over 5,000 people for an almost all-day event. Thankfully, admission is free.