Who says you have to travel to the ocean to get a great beach. Some of the best beaches in the country are in Michigan with more miles of shoreline than any other state.
You can enjoy pure sandy peaches, gentle lake breezes and fresh water fun in Western Michigan.
Try one of these public beaches located in and around Holland and Saugatuck.
Holland State Park is too big for just one beach. In fact, there are two. There is an expansive beach along Lake Michigan and another beach on the often calmer waters of Lake Macatawa. The pier on the beach runs across from the iconic "Big Red" lighthouse. It's the perfect place to catch a sunset or watch sailboats head out to Lake Michigan.
The pristine beaches, campground and boat access attract a lot of visitors. Holland State Park is one of the busiest beaches in Michigan in the heart of summer. Arrive early if you're planning a day at the beach in summer.
You'll find some pretty tall sand dunes surrounding the lakeshore around Holland and Saugatuck. Sometimes, it's a chore to walk up and down the dune to get to the beach. Tunnel Park north of downtown Holland solves that problem with, you guessed it, a tunnel right through the dune.
In addition to a great stretch of beach and the tunnel, you'll find a children's playground, sports fields plenty of picnic tables and stairs up to the top of the dune for incredible Lake Michigan views. Tunnel Park is very popular with locals and you must pay for parking between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Further north of Holland is the smaller Kirk Park featuring 66 acres of dunes, beach, woodlands and bluffs. Kirk Park is a small beach, but many days it is less crowded than Tunnel Park or Holland State Park.
At Kirk Park, you'll enjoy picnic tables, a small playground and many nature trails on stairs and boardwalks throughout the wooded dunes. While the park is open year-round, you'll need to pay for parking from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Oval Beach in Saugatuck is kind of the Goldilocks of Lake Michigan beaches...not too big, not too small. We're not the only ones who think it is "just right." Condé Nast Traveler ranked Oval Beach as on the top 25 in the world. It's also one of the top two fresh water beaches according to National Geographic Traveler. The Chicago Tribune ranks it #1 for midwest beaches and even MTV has Oval Beach in the top 5 US beaches.
With all these accolades, it is still easy to enjoy a day at the beach at this popular beach. You'll find plenty of amenities like picnic tables, a concession stand, showers and a playground. Ample parking will put you close to the beach (there is a fee to park). You can avoid the fees and hike up and down Mt. Baldy, the giant Sand Dune mountain on the edge of Saugatuck.
There is plenty of beach for everyone in Sagautuck Dunes State Park with 2 and a half miles of shoreline. Located just north of town, Saugatuck Dunes features 1000 acres of undeveloped wilderness crisscrossed by nature trails.
With so much space, the park features less crowded beaches for those seeking a secluded, quiet place to enjoy Lake Michigan. Fees are required for entry into this State Park.
Located south of Oval Beach at the end of a residential area of Douglas lies Douglas Beach Park. This small beach is sandwiched between private beaches, but the beach is free and often less crowded than more it's more famous cousin.
There is limited parking, restrooms and a few picnic tables. Douglas Beach has a quaint feel and is popular with locals.