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Muskegon is a working waterfront in its truest form, featuring a cross-lake car ferry to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; science labs and research vessels; commercial docking; recreational marinas; commercial fishing operations; and ongoing redevelopment of former coal-fired power plant and paper mill brownfield sites.

Best suited for: Diverse waterfronts | Research and academics | Restoration and recreation


  • Largest population on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore
  • Dates back to Michigan’s early logging industry
  • Heavily industrial waterfront; designated as an Area of Concern (AOC) in 1985


Tour will take place from 12–7 p.m.

Depart Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (45-minute drive; boxed lunches provided for the road).

Begin at USS Silversides Submarine Museum | 1346 Bluff Street

  • Views of
    • Muskegon Lake Channel and State Park
    • Dockers Restaurant and Harbortowne Beach
    • Muskegon Coast Guard Station
    • Pere Marquette City Park
  • Stop at NOAA GLERL Lake Michigan Field Station

Ride east toward Torresen Marine | 3003 Lakeshore Dr.

  • Certified Michigan Clean Marina
  • Commercial fisheries and marinas

Visit Grand Trunk Public Launch Ramp | 2090 Lakeshore Dr.

  • Views of
    • Lake Express Terminal: cross-lake ferry to Wisconsin
    • Lakeside Dock
  • Windward Pointe: Former paper mill undergoing mixed-use redevelopment
  • Restored Shoreline Habitat and Community

Explore Heritage Landing | 1050 7th St.

  • Views of
    • Lafarge Terminal
    • Hartshorn Marina
  • GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute: Multidisciplinary research facility with waterfront access and science vessels
  • Heritage Landing Cruise Ships and Festivals

Stop at Cobb Dock and Forsite | 151 North Causeway St.

  • Former Consumers Energy Coal Dock
  • Shuttered B.C. Cobb Consumers Energy power plant 

Travel northeast along Muskegon Lake.

  • Views of
    • Muskegon Innovation Hub / GVSU
    • Terrace Pointe Landing / Residential
    • Shoreline Inn Hotel
    • Lake House Restaurant

Embark aboard the W. G. Jackson | 560 Mart St.

  • Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute research vessel
  • 1-1.5 hour cruise

Relax at Pigeon Hill Brewery | 740 W. Shoreline Dr.

Depart Muskegon for Grand Rapids (45-minute drive).

Tour presenters will include staff of NOAA, Torresen Marine, Downtown Muskegon Now, Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership, Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute, Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Verplank Trucking, and Sand Products Corporation.


The Muskegon tour will be predominantly on charter buses with occasional stops. Participants should bring comfortable walking shoes and a water bottle. Expect to encounter uneven sidewalks, staircases, and sandy beaches.


Dave Alexander is the executive director of Downtown Muskegon Now, Muskegon’s waterfront economic development and marketing organization. For three decades, Dave reported on business and government issues for the Muskegon Chronicle. He is an avid sailor and kayaker.

Kathy Evans has worked in the field of natural resources planning and restoration for the past 25 years. As the WMSRDC Environmental Program Manager for the past 10 years, Kathy works with West Michigan watershed groups, local governments and community organizations. Prior to 2007, Kathy worked for the Muskegon Conservation District, Lake Michigan Federation and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks Division. For her work on Muskegon Lake fish and wildlife habitat restoration, Kathy was recognized with the NOAA Restoration Center Excellence in Restoration in 2010.