15 Best Things to Do in Norton Shores, MI

Norton Shores, MI
Maxim Safronov / shutterstock.com

Scenic views, quaint neighborhoods, and high-quality living are qualities you can think of when you visit Norton Shores, Michigan.

It's a great place to live or visit for its natural attractions and proximity to Muskegon, the nearest big city.

From parks to beaches to museums, Norton Shores has that unique combination of natural beauty and recreation that allows you to jump from one experience to another.

You can explore the local area or take a short drive to experience some of nearby Muskegon's attractions.

Whatever you want to do, make sure you have a plan for it.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Norton Shores, Michigan:

Spend a Day or Two at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park

Scenic view of P.J. Hoffmaster State Park
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Over three miles of sandy shorelines and clear views of the stunning Lake Michigan—that's what you'll run into when you visit P.J. Hoffmaster State Park on Lake Harbor Road.

The park's entrance is like a labyrinth filled with towering trees that provide natural shade and fresh air.

Once you get to the parking lot, you'll first notice the smell of pine in the air.

The real prize of this park is when you get to the beautiful shoreline.

People at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park
Arthur Matsuo / Shutterstock.com

Here, you can find people sunbathing, swimming, building sandcastles, and more.

There's also a dune climb where you walk up a few hundred stairs, but once you reach the top, the breathtaking views will make it all worthwhile.

You can also find different activities to do in the park, like picnicking, hiking, and camping.

Overall, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park has all the qualities for a day well spent by the beach with the family.

Check Out the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center

Located within P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center is hidden away, surrounded by some of the country's most incredible dunes.

It's the best spot to experience the famous Michigan dunes.

The center is located on a large dune perched at the top of a magnificent wooded back-dune, and it features exhibits and displays to present the state's fascinating dune history.

If you're feeling up for a stroll, a half-mile trail goes through the park's back dune forest and up to a grassy foredune.

Here, you can witness a panoramic view of the beautiful beach and Lake Michigan.

If you want to learn more about a piece of local history while basking in the beauty of the great outdoors, check out the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center.

Have a Blast with the Family at Craig's Cruisers

Traveling with kids who have lots of energy to spend?

Take them to Craig's Cruisers, an indoor amusement park that offers endless hours of fun for kids and adults.

Go-karts, mini golf, bumper boats, batting cages, and plenty of game rooms—if your family enjoys these activities, they will have a blast at this attraction.

They've got countless recreations you can try out so you won't ever get bored.

You can stay for a couple of hours or the whole day, whichever you prefer.

If you love challenges, you can try to race your friends or family in the go-karts.

You can also purchase an all-day pass to access everything the park offers.

Craig's Cruisers is located on East Pontaluna Road.

Lake Harbor Park is nestled right between Lake Michigan's shores and the Mona Lake Channel.

This makes it the perfect place to view two of Michigan's popular bodies of water in one go—although you'll need to walk 4,000 feet to get to the shores of Lake Michigan and 1,500 to Mona Lake.

The park is accessible by car, bike, foot, or boat.

Once you're there, you can go fishing at Mona Lake, have a picnic, or enjoy the views—it's a perfect place to relax and recharge while in the serenity of nature.

If you're feeling up for it, take a stroll at the numerous walking trails encompassing this 189-acre park.

One of these trails leads to the dunes, where you can enjoy the beautiful view from one observation deck.

Lake Harbor Park is a perfect example of how Norton Shores showcases its natural beauty.

The locals know they have something special here, and it's worth your time to check this place out.

Go Fishing at DunnMee Beach

Located across the Mona Lake Channel from Lake Harbor Park is DunnMee Beach—another great spot to enjoy the beauty of nature and do some fishing while you're at it.

This beach features a small dock where you can rent a boat and go fishing in the channel.

The view from DunnMee Beach is simply stunning—on one side, you've got the blue waters of Mona Lake, and on the other, the picturesque dunes.

Mona Lake is known for its large and smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, and perch.

So if you're looking to do some fishing while in Norton Shores, this is the perfect spot for you.

If you're not into fishing or are done fishing for the day, you can relax on the sand or go for a swim in the refreshing waters of Mona Lake.

Watch a Local Soccer Game at Porter/Smitty Vanderplow Soccer Fields

Norton Shores isn't known for its soccer scene, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy watching a good game while in town.

If you're a soccer fan, go to Porter/Smitty Vanderplow Soccer Fields on Porter Road and watch a game or two.

This is where the local teams play, so you'll be able to see some real talent on display.

Porter/Smitty Vanderplow Soccer Fields is located in a secluded area away from the noise and hustle of the city, but don't let that fool you because the games here can get intense.

You can even play a casual soccer game with your friends or family—just remember to book the field in advance and bring your soccer ball.

Go Bowling at Bob Hi Lanes

Located on South Getty Street, Bob Hi Lanes is an excellent spot for a casual night out with friends or fun family activity.

If you're feeling competitive, you can join a bowling league and test your skills.

This bowling alley features 24 lanes, a full-service bar, and a restaurant.

You can bowl a few games, have a few drinks, and grab a bite to eat all in one spot.

Bob Hi Lanes also has a few arcade games if you want to take a break from bowling.

Check Out Mona Lake Boating Club

Mona Boating Lake Club is a private club that hosts a series of events throughout the year for members and the public to enjoy.

Located on Randall Road and facing the shorelines of Mona Lake, it offers many services and amenities for members and non-members.

You can charter a boat, go swimming, enjoy the sunset, or relax on the beach.

The club also has a full-service bar and restaurant, so you can grab a bite or drink.

Mona Lake Boating Club is a great option if you're also looking for a place to host an event.

They have indoor and outdoor spaces that can accommodate various events.

Their outdoor auditorium, in particular, is a great spot for weddings, concerts, and other large events.

Go Kayaking at Dune Harbor Park

Nestled on Seminole Road, Dune Harbor Park is a must-visit spot when visiting Norton Shores.

It's one of the many outdoor recreational spots in the city, and its uniqueness makes it stand out among other parks.

For one, this park isn't showcasing the great Lake Michigan or Mona Lake.

Instead, its focal point is a small inland lake that's calm and pristine—perfect for water activities such as swimming and kayaking.

You can also take a nature trail and enjoy Dune Harbor Park's simple yet alluring beauty.

Are you interested in spotting wildlife?

There have been sightings of deer, different species of birds, and even coyotes, so keep your eyes peeled.

Other Things to Do Nearby

The natural beauty of Norton Shores perfectly complements the historical and man-made attractions in the nearby areas.

Don't limit your exploration to just within Norton Shore—expand your horizon by checking out these nearby gems:

Learn about Submarines at the USS SILVERSIDES Submarine Museum

Exterior of the USS SILVERSIDES Submarine Museum
GCNorton, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The USS SILVERSIDES Submarine Museum is one of the most interesting and unique museums you'll ever visit.

As its name suggests, the museum is dedicated to submarines—specifically, the WWII submarine USS Silversides.

It's located in Muskegon, only four miles from Norton Shores.

Daytime view of the USS SILVERSIDES Submarine Museum
Joanna Poe from Munith, MI, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The USS SILVERSIDES Submarine Museum features an extensive collection of submarine artifacts, documents, photographs, and more.

You can even tour the USS Silversides, located next to the museum.

The tour takes you through the different areas of the submarine, giving you a firsthand look at what life was like for the sailors who served on it.

Engine room in the USS SILVERSIDES Submarine Museum
Aaron Headly, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience an Outdoor Cinema at Getty Drive-in

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a movie outdoors?

It was a popular activity back in the 1950s, and it's making a resurgence at the Getty Drive-in in Muskegon.

Less than 10 minutes from Norton Shores, this place is a must-visit for movie buffs and adventure seekers.

It's one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in operation today, and it's a great place to watch newly-released films.

What's more, the experience of watching a movie under the stars is something that you'll never forget.

If you're looking for a fun and unique activity to do in Norton Shores, make sure to add the Getty Drive-in to your list.

Visit the Muskegon Museum of Art

Whether you're a fan of art or just looking for a place to spend a couple of hours, the Muskegon Museum of Art is a great option.

Located five miles from Norton Shores, the museum houses a celebrated collection of American and European paintings, sculptures, historical prints, and drawings.

Art fans will love seeing works by renowned artists such as John Steuart Curry, Pierre Bonnard, Edward Hopper, William Merritt Chase, and Winslow Homer.

The Muskegon Museum of Art also hosts exhibits throughout the year, ranging from thrilling nationally touring shows to present-day contemporary local and Michigan artist showcases.

Watch a Magical Performance at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

Colorful lights of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain
Todd Maertz / Shutterstock.com

The Grand Haven Musical Fountain is a spectacular light and water show that's set to the tune of popular songs.

The fountain is located in Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium near Grand Haven, just a 15-minute drive from Norton Shores.

The lights and the way the fountains "dance" to the music are simply enchanting.

The water show runs for about 20 minutes and is free to watch.

So, if you're looking for a fun and family-friendly activity, check out the Grand Haven Musical Fountain.

Get the Best View of Mona Lake at Mona Lake Park

Of all the spots you can choose to view the magnificent Mona Lake, the best one is Mona Lake Park, five minutes from Norton Shores.

This park offers an unobstructed view of Mona Lake and its surroundings, making it the perfect place to appreciate the lake's beauty.

It also has a playground, picnic tables, and grills, making it a great spot to spend an afternoon with family and friends.

There are also basketball courts, baseball fields, a soccer field, a tennis court, and a walking trail if you want to get active.

If you want to explore Mona Lake, you can charter a boat and go fishing or take a leisurely cruise around the lake.

Mona Lake Park is a giant complex with many activities for everyone to enjoy.

So whether you want to relax, get active, or do a little bit of both, this is the place for you.

Beat the Challenges at the Lakeshore Quest Escape Rooms

Whether or not you've tried escape rooms before, it's something worth trying at least once, and there's no better place to do it than at the Lakeshore Quest Escape Rooms.

Located five minutes from Norton Shores, it's considered Muskegon's premier Escape Room.

It features different rooms with varying difficulty levels, so there's always a challenge for everyone to enjoy.

Each room has a different theme and story, so you can choose the one that interests you the most.

An all-time favorite is "Mortimer's Mansion," a haunted house-themed room.

There's also "Balance of Power," a theme that features the Cold War in 1958.

Finally, as its name suggests, the "70s Room" is set in the disco-filled era of the 1970s.

With so many rooms to choose from at Lakeshore Quest, you're sure to find one that's perfect for you.

Final Thoughts

Norton Shores is an attractive city with a lot to offer.

From its scenic beaches to the interesting museums, you'll always find yourself moving from spot to spot and finding a new experience.

This city is rich in natural beauty and history, making it the perfect place for a vacation.

No matter your interests, you're sure to find something exciting on this list of the best things to do in Norton Shores, Michigan!