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Front_Range_Guy

Planning a late August trip to GR

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I haven't left Colorado in 8 years, so I figured it was about time. My friend lives in Fruitport, and I've heard good things about GR on here so I decided to take the last week of August off and spend it in Grand Rapids. I'd like to find an affordable hotel downtown and stay there... probably visit Fruitport to see my friend and I also hope to take a day to drive down to Chicago. It's what? 3 hours away?

I know nothing about Southwest Michigan... what do I need to know?

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go to the beach! the beaches of Lake Michigan are like no place else in the world.

184376876_3dd246fa99.jpg

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august.. is that celebration on the grand time?? if so, thats a sweet festival. you like fishing? if so, the grand river is a great urban fishing ground.

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I'll probably be there August 28 through August 31. Is celebration on the grand a big outside tourists draw or more of a local thing? Should I worry about finding a hotel room if I don't book early? LOL... my friend told me to come prepared to swim. I'm assuming the water is clean? I'm generally not a fan of outdoor swimming... but I've never been to Michigan so I'm definitely willing to make an exception.

How is the drive from GR to Chicago?

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I'll probably be there August 28 through August 31. Is celebration on the grand a big outside tourists draw or more of a local thing? Should I worry about finding a hotel room if I don't book early? LOL... my friend told me to come prepared to swim. I'm assuming the water is clean? I'm generally not a fan of outdoor swimming... but I've never been to Michigan so I'm definitely willing to make an exception.

How is the drive from GR to Chicago?

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I also hope to take a day to drive down to Chicago. It's what? 3 hours away?

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I'm not a big fan of swimming in small lakes/ponds either. Lake Michigan is great to swim in in August, and no nasty salt water to deal with. Try any of the beaches in Holland, Grand Haven, and Muskegon. Have you ever seen Lake Michigan before?

We've also talked here at length about the convenience of the South Shore Line Commuter Rail (especially a lot better and cheaper than Amtrak) to get to Chicago. You just have to drive to just over the Michigan/Indiana border to Michigan City to get on:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...st&p=561540

Festivals in August include:

- 28th Street Metro Cruise (if you like vintage and muscle cars)

- Polish Festival in Grand Rapids

- Art on the Riverfront in Grand Haven

From GRNow

There's also a lot to do in downtown Grand Rapids and the neighborhoods surrounding it.

August in Michigan is a lot more humid than Colorado, so be prepared to sweat. :D

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Agreed GRDad...don't waste your time w/ inland lakes when you have Lake Michigan to enjoy. Visit Oval Beach in Saugatuck/Douglass. Rated one of the top 10 beaches by Conde Nest magazine.

Rizzo, I don't know how fast you drive but I make it from GR to Pizzano's Pizza at State and Chesnut in Chicago in 2.5 hours!

Taking the train is very convenient but I find it leaves to early in the evening for the return. I wish it left later.

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As someone who grew up in GR and took the lakes, including Lake Michigan for granted until I moved away, I highly recommend checking them out. If you go to the "Big Lake", I suggest visiting Grand Haven. You can go straight to the beach, but you can also walk around downtown Grand Haven, shop, have lunch, and then walk along the Grand River Channel, all the way from downtown to the end of the pier where the lighthouse is. That's a great stroll and you can stop for ice cream along the way, too! You also have the chance to access the State Park beach.

To me, the best State Park in that vicinity is Hoffman State Park, north of Grand Haven. Wonderful dunes and trails through the woods, opening up to the beaches and water and it has a nature center, to boot. Not as convenient perhaps as the Grand Haven State Park, but quite an experience for someone from Colorado.

If you want to go further afield, just drive north along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Grand Haven. You'll have lots of opportunities for great scenery, to check out the small lakeshore communities (not necessarily Muskegon) and to see some gorgeous inland lakes, depending how far north you want to go. The "crown jewel" of Michigan, in my mind is the northwest area of the lower peninsula (the pinky finger area). One advantage of smaller, inland lakes - they tend to have warmer water to swim in, especially by August.

A good Michigan tourist book (or website) will be very helpful in figuring where you may want to go.

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To me, the best State Park in that vicinity is Hoffman State Park, north of Grand Haven. Wonderful dunes and trails through the woods, opening up to the beaches and water and it has a nature center, to boot. Not as convenient perhaps as the Grand Haven State Park, but quite an experience for someone from Colorado.

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When I visit GR, I generally fly to Chicago and then drive up. Getting from O'Hare, the Skyway can be a real bottleneck (not to mention the lovely drive down the Dan Ryan to get there), but it beats the Tri-State, which I find not only takes you far out of the way but also costs a fortune (not to mention drops you into terrible traffic on 80 through Northern Indiana).

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Take Amtrak to Chicago for a day trip. $54 RT. It will cost you that in gas and tolls. You're in walking distance to the Sears Tower, Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium. The Loop is just a few minutes north by bus or cheap taxi fare. Leaves GR 7:30 arrives Chi 10:30 Leaves Chi at approx 6, arrives GR 10ish. The GR station is walking distance from downtown

Least expensive hotel in DT GR is the Days Inn on Pearl Street at US 131.

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No. I've never seen Lake Michigan except on TV, LOL. In fact, I've never been east of Lincoln County, Colorado. Never even been to Kansas, LOL. Anyway... yeah... I'm planning to take Greyhound to GR. I've found a nice little B&B that seems pretty affordable, though I haven't settled on a place to stay yet. My friend in Fruitport is constantly talking about this one beach she likes to swim at... though I don't remember what's called... but I'm fairly sure it's on Lake Michigan. Taking the train to Chicago sounds much better than driving. I'm not used to that being an option. <_<

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My friend in Fruitport is constantly talking about this one beach she likes to swim at... though I don't remember what's called... but I'm fairly sure it's on Lake Michigan.

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Taking the train to Chicago sounds much better than driving. I'm not used to that being an option. <_<

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I haven't left Colorado in 8 years, so I figured it was about time. My friend lives in Fruitport, and I've heard good things about GR on here so I decided to take the last week of August off and spend it in Grand Rapids. I'd like to find an affordable hotel downtown and stay there... probably visit Fruitport to see my friend and I also hope to take a day to drive down to Chicago. It's what? 3 hours away?

I know nothing about Southwest Michigan... what do I need to know?

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I haven't left Colorado in 8 years, so I figured it was about time. My friend lives in Fruitport, and I've heard good things about GR on here so I decided to take the last week of August off and spend it in Grand Rapids. I'd like to find an affordable hotel downtown and stay there... probably visit Fruitport to see my friend and I also hope to take a day to drive down to Chicago. It's what? 3 hours away?

I know nothing about Southwest Michigan... what do I need to know?

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Agreed GRDad...don't waste your time w/ inland lakes when you have Lake Michigan to enjoy. Visit Oval Beach in Saugatuck/Douglass. Rated one of the top 10 beaches by Conde Nest magazine.

Rizzo, I don't know how fast you drive but I make it from GR to Pizzano's Pizza at State and Chesnut in Chicago in 2.5 hours!

Taking the train is very convenient but I find it leaves to early in the evening for the return. I wish it left later.

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No. I've never seen Lake Michigan except on TV, LOL. In fact, I've never been east of Lincoln County, Colorado. Never even been to Kansas, LOL. Anyway... yeah... I'm planning to take Greyhound to GR. I've found a nice little B&B that seems pretty affordable, though I haven't settled on a place to stay yet. My friend in Fruitport is constantly talking about this one beach she likes to swim at... though I don't remember what's called... but I'm fairly sure it's on Lake Michigan. Taking the train to Chicago sounds much better than driving. I'm not used to that being an option. <_<

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Agreed GRDad...don't waste your time w/ inland lakes when you have Lake Michigan to enjoy. Visit Oval Beach in Saugatuck/Douglass. Rated one of the top 10 beaches by Conde Nest magazine.

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Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over-rated. Holland and Grand Haven are just as nice if not nicer.

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I agree towshort. I have been to Oval Beach before. In my opinion many of the beaches on the Northern shore like Grand Haven and Ludington are really much nicer. I always chuckle a little when I hear that Oval beach is in the top 10.

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