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If you're looking to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, then consider traversing Lake Michigan by boat.

Sip Spotted Cow or a glass of Wollersheim wine and settle in for a two-and-a-half-hour cruise to Muskegon, Michigan, aboard Lake Express’ high-speed ferry.

It’s a 10-minute drive from the dock to downtown Muskegon – summon an Uber, or bring your bicycle, motorcycle or car on board (for an extra charge). Here are five things to do in Muskegon (pop. 38,000), from craft beer to world-class art.

 

Go vintage shopping

Muskegon’s downtown flaunts boutiques like The Front Porch (shabby chic-style repurposed antique furnishings, vintage jewelry and clothing – you can schlep it all back on the ferry!) and Vintage Redefined (nautical striped dresses join antique playing cards). Nab a Nina Simone or Johnny Cash record at Third Coast Vinyl.

Bite into the artisan food scene

Definitely check out The Cheese Lady’s cute shop. Grab pour-over coffee from Drip Drop Drink and tripped-out pizza (like “The Jack White,” garlic alfredo sauce and roasted chicken) from Rebel Pies’ counter next door. For a finer-dining experience, book a table at 18th Amendment Spirits Co. for dinner. On Saturdays, stop by the farmers market.

Admire world-class art

A Deborah Butterfield metal equine sculpture, plus lithographs by Picasso and a Camille Pissarro oil painting, are within the Muskegon Museum of Art’s permanent collection. On or near Western Avenue are several large sculptures, including Chicago artist Richard Hunt’s stainless-steel “Muskegon, Together Rising.”

Sip craft beer or Tiki cocktails

Downtown Muskegon boasts two craft breweries: Unruly Brewing (quirky beers like Orange Julius are on tap) and Pigeon Hill Brewing, which is still pouring during a taproom expansion. (Pro tip: try the “Belly Full of Hoppyness” icecream bar, which folds in its beer.) Or park yourself at Dockers, and listen to live music at the Tiki bar.

Head to the beach

Pere Marquette Park is a swath of sand – sink your toes in and stroll out to the city’s iconic red lighthouse at the end of a pier. It’s a 10-minute drive from the ferry dock. More time on your hands? Head to Muskegon State Park, a paradise with 12 miles of hiking trails, two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and a replica historical fort.

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If You Go

Lake Express

866-914-1010
$157-$203 adult round-trip (plus $194 vehicle round-trip)

Where to Stay

Emery House Bed and Breakfast is tucked into a Georgian Colonial house and within walking distance of downtown.
231-722-6978


“Make Waves” appeared in the July 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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