Perfect Pentwater

Distance from Grand Rapids: 1 hr 11 min (82.8 mi) via I-96 W and US-31 N
Charles Mears State Park Beach. Photo by Stacy Feyer-Salo.

I once saw a bumper sticker in Los Angeles that read: “Where the hell is Pentwater?”
Just south of Ludington, this primarily May-to-October village has somehow made its way onto a celebrity hot list. A lot of stars are rumored to have vacationed here. Confirmed sightings include John C. Riley and Rebecca Romijn.

Maybe it’s Zoltar at Cosmic Candy, 168 S. Hancock St., who lures them in? The village’s multiple art galleries and antique shops are definitely a big draw. So is the” village green” that serves as a community gathering place and venue for art fairs, farmers markets and live music throughout the summer. As for food, the Brown Bear serves a great burger, Antler Bar is known for great Mexican food and Gull Landing, along with its diverse menu, serves up some strong drinks which can be heartily enjoyed from a deck that offers live music and lake views, especially pleasing at sunset.

Cosmic Candy, Pentwater. Photo by Stacy Feyer-Salo.

Charles Mears State Park Beach is another of Pentwater’s main attractions, with a campsites that are practically on the beach. Much smaller than Ludington’s Stearns Park beach, Mears is an easy place to keep track of kiddos, and it’s a walkable distance to downtown Pentwater. Don’t expect to make it past Pentwater Dari Creme on the corner of Hancock and Lowell, though, without jumping in line. This place offers multiple flavors of both soft serve and traditional ice cream, frozen yogurt.


The area boasts a plethora of rental cottages, Airbnb’s, resorts, cabins and even a Best Western hotel on the outskirts, just off U.S. Hwy 31. Don’t forget to stop at the Wishing Well and throw in a penny.  A.J.’s Family Fun Center, 8915 US-31, offers go-karts, a ginormous minigolf course, a playground and an arcade.

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