Grand Haven : Michigan


What It Is Like to Retire in Grand Haven

Grand Haven, Michigan, is a waterfront community located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Grand River.  It is the county seat of Ottawa County with a population of 10,412 (2010 census), but swells to a higher number during the summer tourist season.  Grand Haven is one of Michigan's favorite beach destinations with its lighthouses, a 2.5 mile boardwalk, the world's largest musical fountain, a State Park that offers camping, and beautiful sandy beaches that have been host to national beach volleyball tournaments.  In August of 2013, CNN Travel named Grand Haven as a "Must See U.S. Beach", and in March of 2012, Travel+Leisure Magazine recognized it as one of the  "Best Secret Beaches on Earth".  The U.S. Coast Guard has had a presence in Grand Haven since 1924, and is the only city officially designated as a "Coast Guard City USA" by President Bill Clinton in 1998.  History has it the first bank robbery committed by the notorious "Baby Face Nelson" occured in Grand Haven, and the famous gangster Al Capone owned a safe house here.


Where to Retire in Grand Haven and Home Prices

Zillow reports the median home value in Grand Haven to be $304,513 in mid-2021.  The selling price of homes on the water will be much higher.  Spring Lake and Ferrysburg are located along the river and considered part of Grand Haven. There are many condominium and active adult communities in Grand Haven. (See link at top left).


What Is Special about Grand Haven

Grand Haven is located in a beautiful spot on the shores of Lake Michigan and the Grand River.  The town has a 2.5 mile boardwalk that is lined with shops, art galleries and restaurants.  It is also home to the world's largest musical fountain, that during the summer months puts on daily musical displays. Grand Haven is a popular vacation spot for families as it offers sandy beaches, swimming, beach volleyball, sailing, fishing, golf, musical events and festivals happening throughout the summer.  Grand Haven State Park is recognized for having one of the top five beaches in the United States, by Good Morning America. For winter fun, Grand Haven has a ski slope that hosts an annual Winterfest with skiing, snowboarding, and sled races


What Is Not Special about Grand Haven

Because of its popularity as a beach community and all the festivities, Grand Haven does get crowded during the summer months; if you don't enjoy the great outdoors, you may not find much to do; winters may be too quiet and the town averages over 70 inches of snow.


Who Will Like Retirement in Grand Haven

Those who want a beach community with lots of outdoor activity, a low cost of living, a low crime rate, and is very walkable, would enjoy retiring in Grand Haven.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Manufacturing, and retail are important to the economy of Grand Haven,  but it has also become a technology leader in Western Michigan, and has been featured in national magazines including PC World and Forbes.


Climate and Physical Environment

Grand Haven has an average Janurary temperature of 25 degrees and gets about 70 inches of snow each winter. The average July temperature is 71 degrees. 


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Grand Haven is a beachtown that offers an abundance of outdoor activities and festivals on the shores of Lake Michigan and the Grand River.  Tuesdays in Central Park in downtown Grand Haven, features a variety of music by local musicians; Wednesdays on the Waterfront is Big Band music and dancing; The Great Lakes Kite Festival is an annual three day event with stunt kite fliers performing to music; The world's largest musical fountain is a synchronized water and light show accompanied with music; The Depot Museum of Transportation and the Tri-Cities Historical Museum both provide visitors a history of the area; The Salmon Festival is a three day event held in the fall with fishing contests, food, music and entertainment;  the largest annual celebration is the Coast Guard Festival, which is a two week event that features U.S. and Canadian vessels and has an attendance of over 300,000; and as a vacation spot, there are ice cream shops and restaurants galore.



Grand Haven has a low crime rate with the majority of the crimes involving theft.


Medical Facilities

North Ottawa Community Hospital services Grand Haven.



Muskegon County Airport is 9 miles away; Gerald R.Ford International Airport is in Grand Rapids, about 46 miles away; Amtrak services Holland, Michigan, 20 miles away; Grand Haven has bus service within the community provided by Harbor Transit; Harbor Trolley gives narrated tours of the area during the summer months;  Grand Haven is a very walkable and bicycle friendly town.


Valuable Links

Downtown Grand Haven

Grand Haven Coast Guard City USA


What people are saying about Grand Haven

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