West Michigan, while having a fairly large skateboarding scene, has never had a large number of local skate parks. Instead, skaters have often had to take their chances on the streets by finding curbs, railings, boxes and other obstacles in area parks and in the downtown Grand Rapids area. Unfortunately, this has meant that skateboarding has often meant dodging police who clamp down on kids skateboarding.
Thankfully in recent years, several new options have emerged for skaters who are sick of the cat-and-mouse game with law enforcement. While there are still not many local skate parks-and all the best ones cost money-there are considerably more options than there were in the past. While one of the most recognized indoor skate parks-the one in Purple East-has closed, there are still more local skate parks than there has been at any other time.
The following guide to local skate parks provides an overview of the best skate parks in West Michigan:
Modern Skate & Surf (3665 28th Street SE / Grand Rapids, MI) – If you are looking for the best local skate park in West Michigan, Grand Rapids’ Modern Skate & Surf should be at the top of your list. The skate park, which is located inside of a mall, is surprisingly good. There are plenty of things to skate including a pool, mini ramps, handrails, a twelve foot vert ramp, and plenty of stairs and railings. There are a number of different pricing options from $75 unlimited memberships for a month to $125 yearly memberships that get you into the park at discounted rates. Otherwise, expect to pay about $10 to skate depending on when you go. You also have to have your own protective gear (helmets if 13 or older, full pads if younger than 13) or rent theirs in order to skate. Occasionally, it can be a little crowded-and the crowd a little young for older skaters, but the park is big enough that you can find your own room to skate. On top of all this, it’s open seven days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12pm – 9pm; 12pm – 12am on Wednesday; 9:30am – 9pm on Saturday; and Sunday from 12pm – 6pm). It’s also on a bus route, so it is easy to get to even if you can’t drive (or your parents won’t take you). There is also an attached store for all your needs.
Rivertown Sports Skate Park (2605 Sanford Ave SW / Grandville, MI) – Another great local skate park for year round skating is the Rivertown Sports Skate Park in Grandville. Like Modern Skate & Surf, this local skate park offers a number of indoor skating options. It’s not as big as Modern Skate & Surf, but it has enough to keep you busy. There is a mini-ramp, several smaller ramps, railings, fun boxes, and more. You can put together some good lines and get some decent speed going. Overall, the skate park is 3,500 square feet. It’s $3 for members and $6 for non-members to skate on weekdays and $5 for members and $10 for non-members on weekends. Memberships go for an affordable $50 for 6 months and $90 for a full year. Hours are 6:00pm to 9:00pm on weekdays and 12:00pm to 5:00pm on Saturdays.
Byron Skate Park (8085 Byron Center Ave / Byron Township, MI) – Byron Skate Park is a city funded skate park located in Byron Center’s Bicentennial Park. Like many cities, Byron Center realized that without giving people a place to skate they would have to expend considerable time and resources enforcing anti-skating ordinances. Thankfully, the city decided to invest in this park because it is one of the more fun outdoor skate parks in West Michigan. It has plenty of different options including a half pipe, a quarter pipe, several ramps, numerous fun boxes, and several rails for grinding. Moreover, the fun boxes and rails can be moved around to make an almost infinite variety of runs. It’s a great outdoor park that is free and it’s open whenever it is light out. Byron Center also has a reputation as a “safe” suburban city, so it is easy for younger skaters to get parental permission to go out to Byron Center.
Parslow Park (Shonat St and Francis Ave / Muskegon, MI) – This is another little outdoor skate park that is open from sun up to sun down. It’s more beat-up and worn than Byron Skate Park-no doubt due to the harsh lakeshore winters-but it offers good skating for skaters in West Michigan. The local skate park has several grind boxes and railings along with a seven-foot half pipe and a pyramid. Because it is a little worn, it tends not to be very busy. The skate park is particularly fun because it’s located near Lake Michigan so it is easy to go for a swim as a way of relaxing after a few hours of skating. Depending on where in West Michigan you live other local skate parks may be closer, but the possibility of mixing skating with a day at the beach make this a popular skate park.