Editor’s Note: This article was written by 10-year-old Adalyn Stier. She hitched a ride with her dad, News 8 executive producer Luke Stier, to find the best playgrounds at Lake Michigan beaches and eat a little ice cream along the way.
PERE MARQUETTE PARK, MUSKEGON
There are two fun playgrounds at Pere Marquette Park. The playground by the river channel has some of the biggest slides I have ever seen.
The playground at the beach is right by the water. It looks really new and is very big. It has slides, a rope obstacle course, tunnels, drums and my favorite: a stand-up spinner. It’s right on the sand so if you somehow get bored on the playground, you can build a sandcastle.
Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Ice cream: Sold at beach right by the playground.
KRUSE PARK, MUSKEGON
This playground is a little older (like my dad), but it is still a lot of fun. It has a really big slide, teeter-totter, swings, monkey bars and tire swing. If you have puppies at home that like to go outside, you should take them here because they are allowed on the beach. There are lots of trails that you can walk with them. I bet they would appreciate that. There are also stairs by the playground that take you to the top of a bluff to see Lake Michigan. The beach is on the opposite side of the park.
Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Ice cream: Not sold at park, but you can stop at Frosty Oasis on your drive home.
GRAND HAVEN STATE PARK
This playground is still pretty new. It is near the water and has a great view of the pier. It’s a good beach to see freighters. When you go to the playground, there are always lots of other kids to play with. This playground includes swings, monkey bars, slides and a stand-up spinner. Convince your parents to stay late to watch the Musical Fountain just after sunset in downtown Grand Haven (May through September).
Hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Ice cream: Sold at beach, but my favorite is to go downtown for some frozen yogurt at the Pump House.
WINDSNEST PARK, PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP
This is a brand new playground and it is definitely fun. There are twirler seats, slides, monkey bars, a stand-up merry-go-round and an awesome rope obstacle course. It also has sifters to find treasures hidden in the sand. It is a great playground to race your siblings while climbing the ropes and going down slides. Don’t go too fast!
Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ice cream: There’s not any ice cream nearby. This is a good spot to convince your parents to bring a cooler with some ice cream sandwiches.
TUNNEL PARK NEAR HOLLAND
This might be my favorite beach playground of all time. This is also one of the easiest playgrounds to get your parents to play on. At this spectacular playground, there are tons of fun things to do and explore including an obstacle course, climbing wall, slides, monkey bars, swings, a stand-up spinner, twirler seats and volleyball nets. There is even a ginormous dune by the playground that you can climb and run super fast down. When you walk to the beach, you get to go through a super cool tunnel!
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ice cream: Not sold at park, but there are three spots nearby: Ottawa Beach General Store, Dune Dogz & Captain Sundae.
HOLLAND STATE PARK
This is a playground with a great view of the water and Big Red lighthouse. Parents can sit on the beach and relax while their kids play and run around at the playground. There is an awesome variety of things to do. There are monkey bars, swings, drums, slides and stand-up spinners. The beach is really big with lots of room to spread out.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Ice cream: Sold at the beach, or you can also stop on the way home at Ottawa Beach General Store, Dune Dogz & Captain Sundae.
SOUTH BEACH, SOUTH HAVEN
If you can only get your parents to take you to one beach this summer, beg them to go to South Haven. There’s a new splash pad along the channel that looks like a pirate ship. There’s also a big playground right on the beach. It has slides, 12 swings, a teeter totter and monkey bars.
Splash pad hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Beach playground hours: Closes at 11 p.m.
Ice cream: Sold at beach, or you can get the best ice cream ever from Sherman’s Dairy Bar.
BONUS PLAYGROUND: KIDS’ CORNER
This is just up the hill from South Beach in South Haven. It might be the biggest playground I’ve ever seen. It is a gigantic wooden structure that is a good spot to play tag or hide-and-go-seek. There are also 17 swings. You can even watch the sunset from the bluff.
Kids’ Corner Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.