Welcome to Muskegon, Michigan! A vibrant city nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, where an array of exciting activities and attractions await. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or thrill-seeker, Muskegon has something for everyone. From pristine beaches and scenic hiking trails to captivating museums and adrenaline-pumping adventures, this charming city offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
Let’s explore with Let’s Save Michigan the top things to do in Muskegon, Michigan and discover the hidden gems that make this destination a must-visit for any traveler.
Tour the USS Silversides Submarine
Address: USS Silversides Submarine Museum, 1346 Bluff St, Muskegon, MI 49444
Hours: Open daily 10am-5pm
The USS Silversides is a must-see attraction located on Muskegon Lake offering the opportunity to explore a historic naval submarine from World War II. This Gato-class sub completed 14 wartime patrol missions in the Pacific and is now one of the most intact remaining subs from the era.
What you can do during this tour? I will suggest you:
- Take a guided or self-guided tour of the USS Silversides to view cramped living quarters, the control room, engines, and torpedo bay.
- See where 80 submariners worked and lived while underwater for months at a time.
- Exhibits on the pier contain artifacts like the Enigma encryption machine along with details on submarine technology and naval history.
- Make sure to visit the on-board museum to view relics from the Silversides itself like silverware, documents, and sailors’ possessions.
- Learn how to aim torpedoes.
The Silversides is moored at the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum, allowing visitors to tour these unique naval vessels in one place. This floating piece of WWII history offers an informative look at life aboard submarines.
See the Wildlife at Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve
Address: Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve, 501 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440
Hours: Trails open daily 8am-30 minutes after sunset
Sprawling across 450 acres, Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve provides excellent opportunities to spot diverse wildlife along the wooded hiking trails, observation platforms, and floating boardwalk loop.
This ecological haven contains wet meadows, marshes, ponds, forests and shrubland that make up a transitional zone between land and water environments.
Sandhill cranes are frequently seen feeding on plants in the shallow wetlands year-round. Massasauga rattlesnakes inhabit the preserve, though they tend to avoid humans. Sharp-eyed visitors may spot river otters, beavers, mink, foxes and coyotes, especially early in the morning or at dusk.
Over 150 species of birds have been recorded at the preserve, including migratory songbirds that stop to rest in the trees and shrubs.
Bald eagles nest here and can be seen gliding over the wetlands or perched along the shore scanning for fish. Muskrats, painted and snapping turtles also call the marshy areas home. Interpretive signs identify ecosystem types and highlight the rare or notable flora and fauna.
With diverse habitats in a small area, the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve offers phenomenal wildlife viewing opportunities. Bring binoculars and tread quietly to spot critters along the hiking paths.
Ride Michigan’s Heritage Trail
Address: Trailhead at Heritage Landing, 1050 Seventh St, Muskegon, MI
Hours: Open 24/7 for hiking and cycling
Stretching 60 paved miles from Muskegon to South Haven, the scenic Heritage Trail provides a fantastic cycling adventure through forests, dunes, parks, and quaint lakeshore towns. The well-maintained, relatively flat trail follows a former railroad corridor, making it accessible for riders of most levels.
Starting from the trailhead in downtown Muskegon’s Heritage Landing, the route crosses over the Muskegon River on the historic railroad swing bridge offering great photo opportunities.
What else can you do? Pedaling through wooded stretches and farm fields and passing near communities like Montague lined with cafes and shops are great options too. Highlights include the pristine wooded trails of Brooks Creek Preserve, views of Lake Michigan from atop towering dunes, and stops in classic beach towns like North Muskegon.
Make sure to visit Muskegon State Park, home to Lake Michigan beach access, camping, and hiking trails intersecting the Heritage Trail route. Clear mile markers help track your progress, and rest stops every 5-10 miles have parking, restrooms and picnic facilities.
For multi-day trips, camping grounds accepting tents and RVs are positioned along the way. Renting bikes in Muskegon allows doing a portion, or bring your own to tackle the entire 60 mile journey to South Haven.
See the Collection at Muskegon Museum of Art
Address: Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W Webster Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440
Hours: Open Tue-Sun 11am-5pm
This renowned regional art museum houses an impressive collection of fine art spanning many genres and periods. The permanent collection has works by acclaimed artists like Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Enjoy 19th century landscapes, surrealist paintings, exquisite glass sculptures, and rotating exhibits. The museum also features weekend family art activities and summer classes.
Shop Downtown Muskegon’s Farmer’s Market
Address: Downtown Muskegon Farmers Market, Western Avenue & Clay Avenue
Hours: Seasonal market open Tue/Fri/Sat mornings
Sample the region’s bounty every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday morning at the outdoor Downtown Muskegon Farmers Market. Over 60 vendors sell fresh produce, artisan baked goods, houseplants, cut flowers, honey, maple syrup, and homemade food items. Frequently there’s live local music and kids activities. The market makes for great walking and shopping in downtown’s Public Square Historic District.
Hike the Dunes at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park
Address: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, 6585 Lake Harbor Rd, Muskegon, MI 49441
Hours: Open daily 8am-10pm
This state park hugs over 2 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, with towering dune bluffs, quiet beach, and hiking trails that traverse diverse landscapes. Spot migratory birds at the Gillette Visitor Center, then climb the Dune Climb for panoramic views of Muskegon’s coastline. A 4-mile loop hike incorporates beach, prairie, forest and dune ecosystems within steps of each other along the route.
Kayak on Muskegon Lake
Address: Muskegon River Adventures, 805 Mart St, Muskegon, MI 49442
Hours: Kayak rentals and tours offered May-October
Paddle the protected waters of Muskegon Lake for scenic views of beaches, dune bluffs, and historic lighthouses. Rent a kayak or join a guided sunset paddling tour from operators like Muskegon River Adventures. Kayak routes pass by Kruse Park for beach stops and cross to Lake Michigan outlet for bigger waves.