Photo by Port of Ludington Maritime Museum

West Michigan Museums 

The West Michigan lakeshore communities boast numerous opportunities to learn about the area’s rich history and to expand knowledge through activities and exhibits.

Port of Ludington Maritime Museum

The newest museum on our list, the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, allows tourists and visitors alike to step back in the past and learn about Ludington’s maritime history. The museum is housed in the former U.S. Coast Guard Station, now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Ludington Maritime Museum building is in a prime location overlooking the harbor and is a popular attraction in an already beautiful Lake Michigan city. 

The Marchido School, which was established in 1895, sits in the Historic White Pine Village. | Courtesy Photo

Historic White Pine Village

Discover small town Michigan life in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s at Historic White Pine Village. Set upon 13 beautiful acres overlooking Lake Michigan, you can visit more than 30 museums that depict Mason County’s history. Historic White Pine Village opened in 1976 with only 11 buildings, one of which was the first Mason County Courthouse, built in 1849. Many of the buildings are original and were moved to the village. There’s something for everyone, as the exhibits encompass many areas of interest, such as maritime, lumbering, government, farm life, early education, business, health, and more. Volunteer gardeners lovingly tend the landscape so visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Value of Sports Museum

The Value of Sports Museum is part of Historic White Pine Village and adds significantly to the visitor experience available at this important area attraction. It goes beyond the game and final scores and highlights the importance that sports play in developing character for participants and non-participants alike.  The Value of Sports Museum, features professionally designed kiosks and exhibits that tell the stories of well-known athletes and local men and women who have excelled in sports and in life. These special people are role models for helping us appreciate and understand the life lessons to be found in sports – beyond the game.

Sandcastles Children's Museum

Sandcastles Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum with 4 floors of exhibits to promote learning through play. Exhibits include a real Cessna airplane, Badger playship, grocery store, climbing wall, veterinary office, hospital nursery, Grandpa’s farm, and more! Party room available. Summer Hours: Monday-Saturday from 9:30am-5pm and Sundays from 12-4pm. Fall/Winter/Spring Hours begin after Labor Day and are Fridays from 9:30am-1pm, Saturdays from 9:30am-3pm, and Sundays from 12-4pm.

Pentwater Historical Society Museum

The Pentwater Historical Society Museum opened its doors officially on May 31st, 2014. Previously the First Baptist church, the museum is already considered a town jewel, not just for its destination aspects, but because of the many exhibits in the Museum. They showcase the memories and events of many of Pentwater’s current residents, and the people who grew up in Pentwater. Many of the items were donated by families in the area. The great thing about the Pentwater Historical Society Museum is that it showcases items that residents can connect to- old yearbooks, postcards, and photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century, and artifacts from many decades ago, but not so long that people won’t recognize or have a connection to those items. There is no cost to get into the Historical Museum, although donations can always be made. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 1-4pm through August, Thursday through Saturday, 1-4pm September through October, and closed November through the winter months.

Olde Kirk Museum

Housed in the oldest Danish Lutheran Church building in the United Station, The Old Kirke Museum celebrates Manistee’s history through seasonal displays with a focus on the Scandinavian Arts. The museum also hosts the best in first person story and song. Seasonal hours are the first two Saturdays of each month, July through October, from 11am-2pm. It is located at 304 Walnut St. in Manistee.

Manistee County Historical Museum

The Manistee Historical Museum is located at 425 River St. in Manistee and was originally dedicated as the Russell Memorial Building. The structure, as it stands today, is the same as it was in 1907. The permanent exhibits  include a special drug exhibit kept in remembrance of the store’s earlier history, lumberman’s business office, life-size log cabin replica, antique dental office, Victorian rooms, a maritime exhibit, and much more. The museum is open Thursday/Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday from 10am-4pm January-March. April-December, hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday from 10am-5pm. Cost is $3 for adults, $1 for students, and $8 per family.

Activities & Attractions in West Michigan

Lake Michigan Water Temperatures

Before you make a splash in Lake Michigan, check out the water temperatures for beaches from Manistee, Ludington, Pentwater, and Silver Lake.

North Country Trail

Created in 1980, this trail has 1,000 miles running through Michigan, which also runs through the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

M-22 Scenic Drive

Take one of the most scenic drives in the nation as you travel across M-22 in Manistee County. A long winding road of adventure awaits!

Winter in Manistee County

Winter in Manistee County includes great outdoor activities like skiing, snow shoeing, hiking, ice skating, and more.

Manistee’s Riverwalk

The Manistee Riverwalk follows the Manistee River from Jones Street, under the US-31 bridge, behind downtown, and ends at First Street beach.