Grand Haven named best secret beach

The secret's out. Travel and Leisure Magazine has placed Grand Haven on its 2012 list of Best Secret Beaches on Earth.
Becky Vargo
Mar 14, 2012



The list includes Cirali, a village in the Turkish Mediterranean and Ibo Island in Mozambique. Grand Haven is one of only four U.S. destinations in the list, according to Marci Cisneros, director of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.


“We’re thrilled and consider this an honor,” Cisneros said. “It’s a great way to kick off our pre-season.”

The list, released over the weekend, notes the following about Grand Haven:

“Trolley cars, a 2.5-mile harborfront boardwalk, and two 19th-century red lighthouses give a sweet, old-time feel to this Lake Michigan town. Boaters and fishermen flock here, and hikers like the short-but-strenuous climb to Rosy Mound that includes 1,000 feet of stairs up and down the sand dunes to the shore of Lake Michigan. There are warm shallows for swimming, and the soft sand of two public beaches squeaks when you walk on it. After sunset, the local restaurants, ice cream parlors and shops come alive.”

Cisneros said being included in such a list keeps Grand Haven in the public eye.

“Last year at this time, we got our honorable mention from Dr. Beach,” she said. “Although we’re fairly well-known in Michigan and the Midwest, we’re still considered a secret beach to people from the rest of the nation and internationally."

The director of the visitors bureau said the community has hosted writers groups every year and the nomination to this list could have come from one of the writers visiting the community over the years.

The effect it has on the area is an increase in inquiries and a “chance to retell our story,” Cisneros said.



Grand Haven beach is disgusting with GR sewage flowing out of the grand river.. Its gross.. and I don't know why everyone down stream of grand rapids doesn't throw a fit about it... Its wonderful being told the pollution is too high to go in the water every time it rains


It isn't just GR sewerage flowing out the mouth of the Grand River, it's ALL the town/villages along the way on its course across the state. I believe most of it has come from the contaminants contributed no thanks to Eagle Ottawa Leather Co. They may make a nice leather product, but have you ever toured the plant? P U! That place should require a HAZMAT suit upon entering.


If you fly over it's no secret- it's the beach next to all the brown flowing into the lake.


I feel so lucky to live in this beautiful area with so many great, clean beaches. You can't help but feel like you are on vacation every time you head to your favorite secret beach spot with nothing but a chair, beach towel, and a good book. I prefer our Lake Michigan beaches to any beach on earth. Congrats to Grand Haven!


I think it's awesome that Grand Haven won this award, especially from such a highly-recognized travel magazine. Only four of the beaches on that list were in the US, and Grand Haven being considered one of the best beaches alongside some of the most beautiful and exotic beaches out there is a HUGE achievement.


West Michigan beaches are truly a treasure. Hats off to the Grand Rapids community for nearly eliminating their combined sewer overflows through infrastructure updates. We would love to see more Great Lakes communities be this proactive! And a special thank you to Alliance Adopt-a-Beach volunteers that work to keep these special places clean and healthy! To find out more how you can take part in the Adopt-a-Beach program visit


Son of a Beach!!!


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