Balancing work and fun over the summer

West Michigan offers treasure trove of things to do to unwind

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 5/7/17 9:37pm

editorial


Between working part time or full time and taking summer classes, many Grand Valley State University students might be finding their "vacation" time less relaxing than they had hoped or anticipated. For students to be able to come back refreshed and ready to hit the books in the fall, though, it's important for them to find time to unwind, relax and recharge.

Finding a balance between work and fun over the summer isn't easy, but it's important for your health and mental wellbeing. Sometimes, something as simple as spending five bucks and working on a homework assignment at a coffee shop just to get out of the house can do the trick to refresh your brain.

If you're looking to take a longer study or work break, though, here are some places you can have fun in West Michigan this summer: 

Grand Haven State Park - 30 minutes from Allendale, 45 minutes from Grand Rapids

Grand Haven is a small beach town on Lake Michigan that serves as a popular destination for Grand Rapids residents in the summer. For a small fee—if you have a state parks pass on your license plate, you'll get in for free—visitors can park and enjoy the beach. The 48-acre park also has a plot for camping, a pier and lighthouse, and plenty of sandy beach shore to walk. 

John Ball Zoo - downtown Grand Rapids 15 minutes from Allendale

The zoo is always a fun getaway you can go to without traveling too far. Walk on the various paths around the zoo and enjoy the nature, and maybe even bring a friend or your family with you; it can be an affordable outing for everyone. GVSU students get in for $9.

Fifth Third Ballpark - 20 minutes from Allendale, 10 minutes from Grand Rapids

Games are running all summer at the Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the Whitecaps, a feeder team for the Detroit Tigers. Tickets start at $8, and attendees can enjoy ballpark concessions and the Craft Clubhouse, a walk-in beverage stand with 16 local craft beers on tap. 

Division Avenue - downtown Grand Rapids, 20 minutes from Allendale

Division Avenue, between Wealthy Street and Michigan Street, is bustling with interesting shops, cool clubs, and great food and coffee. Small, independent stores make up much of the street and are fun to go into and look around, even if you're on a budget. Fun stores and interesting people make a day window shopping on Division Street a fun and inexpensive way to spend a day in Grand Rapids. 

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park - 24 minutes from Allendale, 11 minutes from Grand Rapids 

During the summer, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is home to the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts and the annual Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition. You can also take a stroll through the sculpture park and the paths of the Leslie E. Tassel English Perennial, Bulb Garden and Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden, so plant enthusiasts will not only be able to see the beauty of the gardens but smell them too. It's a fun and beautiful place to visit with friends and family, whether you're a nature enthusiast or not.  

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