Big Red Lighthouse Grand Haven State Park

Big Red Lighthouse Grand Haven State Park

A big thank you to my niece for driving me to Grand Haven State Park. I was only able to get out twice to take pictures (except for the pictures I took while I was exploring the woods behind my brother’s house) and this was one of the top places on my list, particularly because of the big red lighthouse. I’d seen pictures of it, taken during the winter, when it was completely iced over because of the rough waters and strong winds. I wasn’t trapped in the house all of the time we were in Grand Haven. We went out to eat (El Rancho was amazing, and it’s sort of a tradition to go to Golden Corral when we go to Michigan since we don’t have them in Manhattan), and of course we had the frequent trips to Meijer (I love that place), but those were hardly occasions to take pictures.

I’m enjoying this side trip into landscape/nature photography after having shot street for the past 12 or so years. It’s definitely more relaxing than street, that’s for sure. Of course, I couldn’t go to the state park without getting a few street style shots, including this one. My niece had just dropped me off at the entrance, and when I looked over towards my left, I saw these two people sprawled out on one of the tables.

I’m assuming then that there is no life guard. I didn’t see anyone swimming, just going in up to a little past their ankles.

I keep saying this, but it was so beautiful in Grand Haven. It was nice to walk pretty much anywhere and see how clean and pretty everything was.

Normally I don’t like from behind shots, but I kind of like this one. It’s nice because it’s three friends (relatives?) sitting together and just watching the waves and people walking along the pier. There was more opportunity for street photography here because not only was it a state park, but it was also a beautiful day. Except for two days (one because of the rain and the other because it was a bit warm), the weather was perfect the entire time we were there.

It was an interesting sight to see with all of the boats going by on the water, people on jet skis, etc, and just watching the waves rolling in and splashing along the edges of the pier. There are no railings or anything, so you really need to be careful when you’re walking. I’ve seen pictures of the lighthouse completely iced over during the winter and I can’t imagine risking walking the pier during the winter with the strong winds (which were cold and strong when I went at the end of August). There is a sign on the pier that says something like “In memory of those who died on this pier and in honor of those who tried to save them.” So please be careful if you decide to walk along the pier in the winter. It’s best if you don’t, but if you decide to do it anyway, please take extreme caution.

A lot of people were either sitting on the pier or the rocks, watching the water. I loved the cool breeze but I did have a cardigan with me, which I had to put on. Everyone else must have been used to it because I saw quite a few people walking along just in their bathing suits, not even seeming to notice how chilly it was. 

This man noticed me trying to get pictures of the water as it splashed up over the edge of the pier, so we talked for a minute or so. As I was walking back along the pier I noticed him fishing and talking on the phone (how’s that for multitasking?)

Someone had just left this flower headband hanging on the lighthouse, so I decided to be a bit extra and photograph it from different angles, trying to get the best shot, and getting a lot of confused looks in the process. 😆

This was across from a memorial for Coast Guard members.

It was around the time that I took these shots that I heard a voice saying “Hey!  Take a picture of us!” I turned around and these two young girls were walking towards me and smiling. I started laughing and said “Do you want me to take a picture of you?” The girl on the left said “Yeah!!  Let’s do this!” I thought they had really fun personalities so I obliged them. I was a bit too shy to ask if they wanted me to send them a copy so if they, or someone they know, on the off chance should happen to read this, send me an e-mail. It could happen. Esther posted a picture on her blog a few months ago of when she was in Milan, and one of the pictures looked a lot like a woman I follow on Instagram. I messaged the woman and sent her a link and it actually was her! She got a real kick out of it and even put it on her Instastory. (Side note. Still not a fan of Capture One editing. I just don’t like it. I recently downloaded a free trial of Lightroom and I like it much better so I’m going to try and re-edit this photo sometime with Lightroom.)

Of course I made time for some food. I wasn’t planning on eating anything, but that ice cream looked too good to pass up. Best decision ever. It was delicious. If you’re ever at Grand Haven State Park, stop in at Pier Peddler. They have cute souvenirs like t-shirts, mugs, etc., in addition to some banging ice cream. If my brother wasn’t planning on grilling that day I would have stopped in at this cute restaurant on the water.

My brother was going to be picking me up soon on his way home from work so I had to get back to the entrance to the park quickly, but I couldn’t resist taking a shot of this house. I looked it up and it’s called the Harbor House Inn. It looks beautiful from the outside, and charming inside. The rates are comparable to what you’d pay at a nice hotel, but I don’t think they have a 24 hour front desk, and I’m kind of particular about that because when I’m away from my own home, it just makes me feel more safe.

I definitely intend to rent a car next time I’m in Grand Haven. The town looks really beautiful and there are a lot of places that I wanted to see but didn’t get a chance to, and I don’t want to have to inconvenience my brother or niece by asking if they could drop me off someplace.


  1. christian
    September 10, 2018 / 2:21 AM

    Hey buddy i really enjoyed this entry. You’ve got some really great shots there, real variety. You’re so cute! You’re a mess!


    • Tina
      September 11, 2018 / 12:09 AM

      Haha! Thanks! I tried to make the most of the times that I was able to go out and take pictures. My brother told me about a few more places I could go but I was only there for a week.

  2. September 10, 2018 / 1:02 PM

    I discover another view of the United States with you, places less known to Europeans, it’s interesting! The place is very beautiful, I just saw on Google Maps that it is on the shores of Lake Michigan. This lake is very large, the surroundings seem very pleasant. I love the red lighthouse and this house with pink shutters!

    • Tina
      September 11, 2018 / 12:06 AM

      Michigan in general is beautiful, especially the Upper Peninsula. I haven’t been there but I want to go one day. My brother goes there sometimes. The place where I was this day was very walkable, but my brother lives in a more isolated part of Grand Haven, so I either had to take a car service or ask my brother or niece to drive me if I wanted to go anywhere. I had a lot of fun walking along the pier and taking tons of pictures of people walking by the lighthouse.

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