Have you been curious about the Saugatuck Dune Rides and the adventures that awaits? We were fortunate to get a chance to try out this adventure. My friend Jennifer and I took our boys on an early morning in August. I had grown up going on the Silver Lake Sand Dunes rides many times, but never had a chance to make it to the Saugatuck Dune Rides. This was the first time that either of our almost six year old boys had been on a dune ride.
The Adventure Starts
Each dune schooner holds at least 20 -25 people. We were loaded on the dune schooner and given a brief overview of what our 40-minute ride would entail. The Saugatuck Dune Rides date back to 1954.
We headed into the dunes and started our adventure quickly with a “roller coaster-like” drive flying through the dunes. Part roller coaster, part tour, it was a fun and informational escape into the dunes and woods of Saugatuck.
Our tour guide was filled with interesting nuggets of information about a town buried under the dunes and the tops of centuries old trees that still peek out above, along with a good dose of humor to keep the tour lively and fun.
We were given time to explore the dunes (the boys ran up and down the dunes a few times), take pictures, and jump back in our dune schooner before we headed back and through the beautiful woods of Saugatuck. While a 40-minute ride sounds like a quick ride time, I felt like we got a good flavor for the dunes and an adventure to boot!
Hours Of Operation For 2014
July – August
- Monday-Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am to 7:30 pm
- Late hours end Saturday, August 23
September weekdays end September 26th
- Monday-Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Labor Day Weekend
- Friday & Saturday 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, Monday 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
October through October 19
- Friday 12 Noon to 5:30 pm, Saturday 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Children Ages 3 to 11 $10.00
Children 2 and Under Free
Tips From A Parent
- We would suggest arriving early! The first schooner departs at 10:00 am and there was quite a crowd forming around 9:45 am.
- Do not forget sunglasses for everyone on the dune ride.
- Our driver suggested that all riders remove their hats, they tend to fly away.
- At times the dune ride will reach high speeds while going downhill and around sharp corners.
- Babies are not permitted.
- We found that the ride is best suited for children 4+
- There is safety gear including a seatbelt and handlebar.
While In Saugatuck Also Check Out
Some of our other favorite things to do in Saugatuck include:
Oval Beach which is a is a short drive from downtown Saugatuck. A $6 entrance fee allows you to park at Oval Beach all day long. You can even leave, grab a bite to eat, and come back to watch the sunset. See our Southwest Michigan Beach Guide for more information.
Mt. Baldhead (“Mt. Baldy”): Climb the 282 steps that will take you to the top of the Mt. Baldhead dune and you’ll be treated to a gorgeous view of Saugatuck, Douglas, and Lake Michigan.
Chain Ferry-You can take the hand-cranked ferry across the Kalamazoo River from Saugatuck right to the entrance of Mt. Baldy or you can just stay on the ferry for the return trip. This is a fun way to see the Kalamazoo River and it only costs $1 each way.
Harbor Duck Boat-The Duck Boat explores Saugatuck, Douglas, the harbor, and the Kalamazoo River. This transformed World War II Army amphibious vessel (part boat/part big truck) gives a humorous glimpse of the surrounding area.
Star of Saugatuck-Located right in downtown Saugatuck, this paddle wheel gives you a smooth sail as you navigate through the channel and to Lake Michigan. I love the narration given by the boat captain such as learning about Old Singapore and other tidbits about Saugatuck’s history.
Shops Galore! There is something for everyone in the shops, even for the kids. Take time to window shop, take in an ice cream cone, or grab a bite for lunch.
Thumbs Up For the Saugatuck Dune Rides!
We would give the Saugatuck Dune Rides a “thumbs-up”. My friend’s son said it was the “best thing that they did all summer!” We might even try to make it there again this season…
Hope you enjoy the ride!