Welcome to Grand Rapids, where you can enjoy fast-paced excitement and laid back leisure in a single trip. From a leisurely stroll through the downtown area bustling with dining, nightlife and culture ... to a grand outdoors featuring some of the nation`s best fishing, boating, beach going and more ... it`s the best of all worlds!
Grand Rapids is known for its appreciation of art. It is this town that hosts the world`s most exclusive art competition; ArtPrize. During this three-week competition, over 1,700 artists (painters, sculptors, designers and performing arts artists) are allowed to place their work around the town for all to see during the months of September and October. Each The public then votes for those they feel should win the top cash award. The competition is free, and open to the public. More than 500,000 visitors visit the contest, which makes it one of the most-attended public art events in the nation. The exact dates of ArtPrize vary each year, so be sure to check before you go.
Only 30 miles from Grand Rapids sprawls Lake Michigan`s Gold Coast, one of the nation`s most unexpected beach getaways. There are those that will swear that the shores are comparable to those of Hawaii and Southern California. Along these beaches that seem to stretch forever (300 miles, anyway) are sand dunes that are so white, they look like piles of sugar. You can visit wineries, go antiquing, pick fresh, ripe berries and apples, visit cider houses and Hemingway hangouts. You can actually surf there too! And you can get to all of these activities in your rental RV from Cruise America, as there is an abundance of great places to station your coach for the night.
A great starting point to explore the towns of the Gold Coast is New Buffalo. From Grand Rapids take I-196 South to I-94 West (Chicago). Travel to New Buffalo Exit #1 (LaPorte Road). Turn right toward Lake Michigan. This little town is considered to be the surfing hub of the Midwest. You can step out of your motorhome and onto the beach to get surfing! You can rent all the gear you need to hit the waves, so what are you waiting for?
Another great town to visit on your journey would be Saugatuck. From New Buffalo it`s just an hour drive, 72 miles down I-96 North. This is a very artsy community that attracts boatloads of people every year. This pretty little village is known for the breathtaking sunsets over Oval Beach. If you want to make a dramatic entrance, take the Saugatuck Chain Ferry from the town, then follow the path over the dunes. There is a school in the woods called Ox-Bow that is a century old. It is where artisans go to learn glass blowing, painting and metal-smithing.
If you`re traveling in succession, the next logical stop on your Lake Michigan RV journey would be the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. 179 miles north on US-31 will land you in this paradise. Here you will discover lush forests, crystal clear lakes and unique plants. If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb the 400` sand bluffs, where you will be treated to spectacular views that will make the leg workout well worth it. A visitor’s pass is required to enter the park. They are currently $15 and can be purchased at the Phillip A Hart Visitor Center, the Dune Climb, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and The Homestead. The park is open year-round, so choose your season!
No matter where you venture in your Michigan travels, you will experience relaxation and comfort in your Cruise America rental motorhome.