Grand Beach is a village in Berrien County of the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 272 at the 2010 census. The village is within New Buffalo Township on the shore of Lake Michigan near to the Michigan-Indiana border.
Grand Beach was founded by the Grand Beach Company around 1903. It was conceived of partially as a short-stay resort. People would take the Michigan Central Railroad to Grand Beach station, rent small cottages for a day or two, eat in the dining hall (located at the corner of Lakeview and Whitewood), and enjoy bathing and golfing. The town was incorporated in 1934 to allow property owners to retain more control.
Its lakeshore beach has always been important to Grand Beach. An entertainment pier was built out into Lake Michigan and offered dining and dancing in the 1920s. The pier has long since disappeared, though its supporting posts are sometimes visible when the lake levels are low. The Golfmore Hotel was built as a luxury hotel just across the creek in Michiana Shores, Indiana. A footbridge over the creek linked the hotel to the pier area. The hotel was an important part of the social life of the beach in the 1920s, even in the winter when it hosted ski jumping events. The hotel burned down on November 19, 1939.
The public golf course has been an integral part of village life at Grand Beach since its establishment. At one time there were 27 holes, but for many decades the course has been a 9-hole course that runs from the club house down to the village gate and back. In the 1950s the village hall moved from the old dining hall structure on the lake to the newly built golf club house / community center.
Lake levels have had an impact on the focus of village social activities. In the early 1950s and during much of the 1970s lake levels were high and beach frontage minimal. From the mid-80s the beach has been wider and more people have thus been able to enjoy it.
Three Frank Lloyd Wright homes were built in Grand Beach. One of them, the Ernest Vosburgh Summer House (built in 1916) on Ravine Road near Crescent and Royal, still retains much of its original design.
The 1950s brought relative decline as all of Southwest Michigan was bypassed by Chicagoans in favor of more exotic resorts. However, beginning in the 1980s Grand Beach and nearby New Buffalo has undergone a renaissance as a charming, unpretentious, yet accessible resort area. The former Forest Beach YWCA camp was developed as a gated community with multi-million dollar homes, thus giving the area a slightly more upscale image.
In recent decades Grand Beach has probably been most famous because of its association with Chicago's Daley family.