Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime! To me, a West Michigan vacation is not complete until you have sand permanently in your shoes, have captured at least one firefly in a jar, and endured at least one ice cream headache! Extra points for mosquito bites in the shape of The Big Dipper!
Over the past several summers, we’ve spent time up and down the Lake Michigan coast and stumbled upon (and into) some fun ice cream shops! In no particular order, here are five worth checking out.
Whippi-Dip, Spring Lake
977 Pontaluna RoadWhippi-Dip has become a tradition for us. Just down the street from the dunes and beach Muskegon State Park, soft serve ice cream is a great “we have to leave now” bribe for kids of all ages. If you go, ask for sugar eyeballs on our soft serve. I like Whippi Dip because (1) shade slows the melting, (2) kids can play on the playground equipment, (3) you can order other food beyond ice cream. The definite downside is the lack of public restroom. Like death and taxes, I can guarantee at least one of my three kids will have to make an emergency run the Safeway station across the busy street.
503 South Mears AvenueJust south of downtown Whitehall, Pekadill’s is a popular “old timey” delicatessen. Decorated in primary colors, you can order your favorite treats at the ice cream counter. Here we have something that looks like superman topping chocolate chip? Not great for a photo, but my kids liked it. We ordered a full lunch the one time we frequented Pekadill’s; the menu was expansive enough for everyone to find something to make them happy. If you can’t find seating up front, you will find overflow dining rooms in the back (past the restrooms).
Travel Tip: As long as you’re at the beach, why not check out Duck Lake State Park?
Jersey Junction, Grand Rapids
652 Croswell Avenue SE Located in the historic Gaslight Village in East Grand Rapids, Jersey Junction is a neighborhood favorite. The type of place where you can order candy sticks and jaw breakers the size of bowling balls, make sure not to miss the model train on tracks that run along the interior ceiling. If your kids are super messy (like mine), go ahead and find a shaded spot to sit outside. I couldn’t find the photo of my oldest son taking a giant bite out of his cone, but here he is hugging a Hushpuppy dog statue while we wait in line.
Travel Tip: We love Grand Rapids (it is, after all, my hometown). Check out Meijer Gardens if you have a chance.
Captain Sundae, Zeeland and Holland
537 West Main AvenueCaptain Sundae has three locations in the Holland and Zeeland area; we frequented the Zeeland address. Clearly a community favorite, mobs of families were ordering ice cream treats after several softball games ended at the same time! If you can find an open bench, try and sit inside the wooden ship. Too busy shoving a turtle sundae in my face, I guess forgot to take a “before” photo (you’ll just have to trust me that it was delicious).
Travel Tip: If you’re in Holland, you’re super close to Tunnel Park (home of the best playground around).
Sherman’s Ice Cream, South Haven
1601 Phoenix Road Sherman’s Ice Cream has been the delight of South Haven residents and tourists since 1916. This was our first visit, and—being a stone’s throw from the interstate—we will definitely be back. Sherman’s makes their own ice cream in slow batches and features unique flavors like chocolate covered pretzel and toffee fantastic. Perhaps the most creative ice cream I’ve had in my entire life, I highly recommend a bowl of “spaghetti” with chocolate ice cream meat balls, strawberry “sauce,” and shaved white chocolate flakes that really look like cheese.
Do you have a favorite West Michigan ice cream shop? Leave a comment below!