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


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

Begin at NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) Lake Michigan Field Station | 1431 Beach St.

  • Muskegon Channel
  • Historic U.S. Coast Guard facilities
  • Pere Marquette Park

Ride east toward Torresen Marine | 3003 Lakeshore Dr.

  • Certified Michigan Clean Marina
  • Commercial fisheries and marinas
  • Lake Express cross-lake ferry to Wisconsin

Visit Sappi property.

  • Former paper mill undergoing mixed-use redevelopment

Explore Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Annis Water Resources Institute | 740 West Shoreline Dr.

  • Multidisciplinary research facility with waterfront access and science vessels

Travel northeast along Muskegon Lake.

  • Residential zoning, boat launches, and commercial docks
  • Shuttered B.C. Cobb Consumers Energy power plant

Explore $10 million NOAA wetland restoration project.

  • 100 acres of restored wetlands designed to address algal blooms and declining lake oxygen

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


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.