Ideal beach weather draws a crowd

Dylan Goetz • Jul 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Steve Dodson couldn’t decide what his favorite part about the Grand Haven State Park is each year.

“We’ve been coming here for six years now,” the Rochester Hills man said. “There’s just so many different things to do.”

Dodson and his son, Troy, have done everything from trying out the local skate park and playing volleyball on the beach to visiting local restaurants for lunch and buying ice cream on the boardwalk.

The drive from the Detroit area takes about three hours, but Dodson said it is always worth the trip.

With the recent stretch of ideal beach weather, Grand Haven’s sandy shores have seen plenty of traffic.

“We’ve absolutely seen an increase in attendance,“ said Jessica VanGinhoven, a communications specialist for Ottawa County Parks and Recreation. “It feels like this has been one of the busiest years we’ve had in terms of permit sales so far. We are always lucky with good Memorial Day weather to kick off the summer.”

Typically, the holiday weekends are the most popular times to visit the parks and beaches, VanGinhoven said.

Grand Haven resident Roger Glass said he goes to Grand Haven State Park any time that he can get a spot facing the water. Usually, it’s tough to reserve a spot facing the water because they are typically the most coveted, he said.

“It’s just nice to be out here enjoying the water,” he said.

Zeeland residents Jason and Sandy Wolters camp in Grand Haven twice each summer — both for 15 days. “Once during this time of the year and once during the Coast Guard Festival,” Jason said. “It’s always a challenge to get a reservation during then, but we keep trying.”

Sandy said she enjoys being able to walk downtown to the shops and restaurants. She thinks the state park is in the perfect location.

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