GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - Hundreds of thousands of people will visit Grand Haven over the next 10 days to experience the lakeshore's premiere event. The Coast Guard Festival, which started as a picnic in the 1920's, kicked off Friday.

It's the calm before the storm. The silence before the surge.

"We have roughly 350,000 people that visit us throughout the 10 days," Coast Guard Festival Marketing Director Annie Lengkeek said.

In the next few days traffic will be a nightmare.

"It's crazy," one West Michigan resident said.

"It is busy, very busy," another added.

"We come down every year and enjoy it. We just need to plan out where we're going ahead of time."

But not all know how to get around it. The Coast Guard Festival takes over Grand Haven every year. Organizers say the best practice is to avoid driving around anywhere near the downtown area.

"Take your bike, walk, that's probably the best mode that you can do if you're already in the city limits," Lengkeek said.

It's gotten to the point where they're providing shuttles for their busiest night. On Aug. 4, organizers are expecting about 150,000 people around town. The festival starts that day with a major parade and ends with a firework show.

"That is the day we concentrate on helping people with the traffic," Lengkeek added.

SHUTTLE OPPORTUNITIES

  • HARBOR ISLAND
    • If you park at Harbor Island, a shuttle will take you to downtown Grand Haven
    • $10/ carload
    • 9:00 a.m. - After the fireworks

PARK AND RIDE ($1 / ride)

  • Grand Haven
    • Griffin Elementary School
    • Trinity Reformed Church
    • First Christian Reformed Church
    • Ferry Elementary School
  • Ferrysburg
    • Ferrysburg City Hall
  • Spring Lake
    • Spring Lake Presbyterian
    • First Baptist Church

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