Michigan is blessed with some incredible scenery. Both in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, the Great Lake State is home to some extraordinary landscapes, with its long shoreline along the enormous Lake Michigan being among the most famous and iconic.
Millions of Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors flock to the shores of Lake Michigan each and every year, and one of the best places to enjoy the lake in a peaceful and harmonious location is Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park - Lake Michigan State Park
Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a Michigan state park located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the area between the cities of Saugatuck and Holland in Allegan County. Once privately owned by inventor Dorr Eugene Felt, Saugatuck Dunes State Park was made into a public recreation area in the late 1970s. It stretches out across 1,000 acres of land and includes beaches, sand dunes, and scenic trails for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
It’s one of the best state parks in Michigan, and here’s everything you need to know about visiting Saugatuck Dunes State Park:
- Opening Times and Access - Saugatuck Dunes State Park is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Come rain or shine, the park will be open and accessible to the public, and this is a day use park, so it opens up early in the morning and closes down as the sun sets. Getting to Saugatuck Dunes State Park is easy enough from nearby major cities like Grand Rapids, and the entrance fee is just $9 for a non-resident daily pass, $32 for a non-resident annual pass, $11 for a Michigan resident when purchased with license plate renewal, or $16 for Michigan residents at other times.
- Amenities - You'll find some simple amenities around Saugatuck Dunes State Park to make your trip to the park more enjoyable and comfortable. Restrooms can be found around the park at the main parking lot and near the beach too, and there's also a large picnic shelter offered on a first come, first served basis. Camping is not allowed at the beach and there are no campsites or camping facilities. There are also no concessions at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, so guests are encouraged to bring their own food and drink or plan a trip to local restaurants in cafes in Saugatuck or Holland.
- Hiking - Hiking is one of the most popular activities at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. There are no less than 13 miles of hiking trails to be found here, so there are a lot of different hiking routes to be enjoyed and plenty of options for people who like to walk around, admire the views, look out for wildlife, and appreciate the fresh air. The trails each have their own names and lengths and are clearly marked. For those visitors who don't wish to go on long hikes but still want to enjoy the park, there's a short hike of just 0.6 miles from the parking lot to the lake itself. Visitors are encouraged to bring along some water to stay hydrated and wear comfortable footwear to have the most fun while hiking.
- Other Activities - Hiking is definitely the main appeal of Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and this is one of the best hiking locations in Michigan, but there's plenty more to do in this state park besides walking around. The park's eponymous sand dunes measure up at heights of around 200 feet, so they're a real highlight and can be a lot of fun to climb up and explore. Saugatuck Dunes State Park is also home to over 2 miles of soft, sandy beaches, offering amazing views out onto the waters of Lake Michigan. It's a great place to come with friends, family, or a special someone in order to simply sit on the beach and admire the views. Metal detecting is popular here too, as well as bird watching and eating picnics. In the winter, there's also the option to do some cross-country skiing when the snows start to fall.
- Important Information for Visitors - Pets are allowed at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, but all dogs need to be kept on 6-foot leashes at all times and cannot be left unattended or allowed to run around off their leashes. Guests are also encouraged to clean up after their dogs. Bicycles and camping aren't allowed in Saugatuck Dunes State Park, but alcohol is allowed for all visitors aged 21 and above. Metal detecting is allowed in certain areas of the park too and is a popular recreational activity in Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
All in all, if you’re looking for a fun place to go in Michigan for hiking and beautiful views of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a great place to be. Open all year round, this park is one of the prettiest locations in the entire state and definitely one of the best places to really appreciate the incredible beauty of the Great Lake itself.