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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Grand Haven, MI

Written by Allie Gardner

Grand Haven is one of several gorgeous lakeside communities on Michigan’s beaches, but few can match its warmth and hospitality. The melodic fountain may be the most well-known attraction in this Michigan community, which is also known for its white sand beaches and majestic fire-engine red lighthouse.

If you spend even a short amount of time in this hamlet, you will immediately come to understand why Grand Haven is considered one of the top destinations along the sunset coast of Michigan.

Here are ten things to know before moving to Grand Haven!

1. Grand Haven’s cost of living is 6% less than the national average

Grand Haven has a cost of living index of 94. One adult in Grand Haven pays $34,119 a year for housing, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and all the other essentials. This is more than the cost of living in Michigan, which is $32,897, but lower than the national average, which is $38,433.

The city has a median home price of $342,638. It’fe to say your money will go much further in this city.

2. Visit the beach at The Grand Haven State Park

Grand Haven’s expansive sandy beaches along Lake Michigan are a highlight of the area. The Grand Haven State Park, with its beautiful dunes and pristine shoreline, offers opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, beach volleyball, and building sandcastles. The pier and lighthouse add to the picturesque scenery, providing excellent spots for sunset views and leisurely walks.

Surrounding the city are numerous trails catering to hikers and bikers of all skill levels. The North Bank Trail, Duncan Woods, and Rosy Mound Natural Area offer scenic trails amid nature, perfect for hiking, trail running, or mountain biking. 

3. The weather in Grand Haven is unpredictable

The weather in Grand Haven can be quite erratic. There are times when the local climate is affected by the powerful Lake Michigan.

Sunlight glinting off the beach and a gentle breeze make summertime a picture-perfect season. At this time of year, temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees attract sightseers from throughout the Midwest.

The seasons of fall, winter, and spring, on the other hand, are less predictable. The rapid cooling effect of the lake water causes large temperature swings, and it always snows.

Due to the ice show that the turbulent lake waters create along the Grand Haven Pier during the winter months of November through March, Grand Haven gives the impression of being a frozen tundra.

4. Attend Winterfest, the Annual Kite Festival, or the Coast Guard Festival

Grand Haven is known for its laid-back vibe, but the annual festivals make it exciting no matter the season. 

Winterfest kicks off the winter season, followed by the Annual Kite Festival in the spring. Summer brings the Coast Guard Festival, and fall brings the Salmon Festival—and that’s not even scratching the surface! Anywhere you go along the lakefront, you’ll see activity. 

5. Downtown is always bubbling with activity

The downtown area of Grand Haven is the liveliest in all of West Michigan, and it’s always bustling with activity.

Once you’ve settled in Grand Haven, you’ll discover that the town stays running even when most of the surrounding beach communities close for the winter. The historic downtown is home to year-round, independently-owned businesses. Check out exciting bars such as Grand Armory Brewing!

6. The crime rate is lower than the national average

Grand Haven maintains a commendable safety record concerning both violent and property crimes. With a violent crime rate of 16.6, lower than the national average of 22.7, and a property crime rate of 31, which also sits below the US average of 35.4, the city offers a secure environment for its inhabitants. 

This data indicates that Grand Haven is a secure and reassuring place to call home.

7. Grand Haven has hospitals such as North Ottawa Community Hospital, Mercy Health Lakeshore Campus, and Holland Hospital

Grand Haven boasts a range of local healthcare institutions, such as North Ottawa Community Hospital, Mercy Health Lakeshore Campus, and Holland Hospital. Complementing these are several urgent care centers and walk-in clinics strategically situated across the city. Residents benefit from an extensive network of primary care doctors and specialists covering various medical fields. 

Grand Haven’s dedication to ensuring top-notch healthcare services underscores its commitment to fostering a healthy environment for its residents, rendering it an ideal place for individuals to live and flourish.

8. Grand Valley State University is 12 miles away

Grand Haven Area Public Schools (GHAPS) serve as the primary district, providing education from kindergarten to high school. The district comprises several elementary schools, middle schools, and Grand Haven High School. GHAPS focuses on delivering comprehensive education and offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including athletics, arts, and academic clubs.

Grand Haven is 12 miles away from Grand Valley State University, providing higher education opportunities for residents. GVSU offers various programs and degrees for undergraduate and graduate students, contributing to the educational diversity of the region.

9. Don’t miss the Grand Haven Musical Fountain Show

For over half a century, the Grand Haven Musical Fountain has mesmerized audiences spanning different age groups. This captivating display of water and light has become a nightly summer tradition.

Witnessing the spectacle is free every night from Memorial Day to Labor Day, extending to Fridays and Saturdays in May and September. With each show lasting approximately 25 to 30 minutes, it stands out as an ideal way to wrap up a day in Grand Haven.

To experience this attraction firsthand, visit the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.

10. Learn about the city’s history at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum

Explore the past through a visit to the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, offering an immersive journey into the local area’s history. With free entry and extended summer opening hours, it stands as a premier indoor attraction in Grand Haven.

The museum’s first floor reconstructs scenes depicting life across various eras in the Grand Haven area, providing a compelling glimpse into the past.

Complementing its permanent displays, the museum also has rotating exhibitions throughout the year, enriching the visitor experience by shedding light on additional aspects of the region’s history and enticing new guests to step through its doors.

To Sum it All Up

Grand Haven, MI, offers a lower cost of living and beautiful beaches. The city maintains low crime rates and has good healthcare and educational facilities, as well as fascinating attractions. However, its weather, influenced by Lake Michigan, brings unpredictable conditions and significant snow in the winter. 

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