Note: this Southwest Michigan Beach Guide has been updated for 2017. Let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite beaches in the comment section below.by Marina H
Southwest Michigan Beach Guide
Michigan’s state nickname is the “Great Lake State” and for good reason. Michigan is the only state that touches four of the five great lakes. There are more than 11,000 inland lakes and you are never more than six miles from one of them! What more reason do you need to visit a beach this summer?
Load up the beach toys, towels, snacks, sunscreen and head on out to the beach! We got the guide to the best beaches around Kalamazoo.
Beaches In Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties
Ramona Park has something for everyone from the fisherman to the beach bum! Located off Sprinkle Road with access to Long Lake, Ramona Park is truly a family destination site. Ramona Park has a fully-staffed and lifeguarded beach and is home to a creative, accessible playground with a colorful soft surface. The beach is open daily from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm. Visit the website for beach admission fees. The park has picnic tables, BBQ grills and other amenities. Ramona Park also rents out pavilions for large groups.
Markin Glen County Park, Kalamazoo
Located just north of downtown Kalamazoo, Markin Glen features unique and beautiful natural features. From the top of one of the highest points in Kalamazoo, hikers can experience a scenic view of downtown. The park also offers fishing, a walking trail, playground area, picnic shelters and a campground site.
Prairie View County Park, Vicksburg
Located on the shores of Hogsett Lake, the park offers a premier swimming beach and a pristine natural setting. This is a smaller lake and usually not crowded. Small water toys are allowed. The park doesn’t have a playground, but there is a slide for the kids if they want to take a break from the beach. Prairie View has five picnic shelters that are a perfect setting for any gathering. For additional details and a map, check the website.
Cold Brook County Park, Climax
Home to a championship 24-hole disc golf course, Cold Brook is a popular campground and beach. Cold Brook has 276 acres consisting primarily of water in the form of three lakes and unique wetlands.
The beach hours at Cold Brook, Prairie View and Markin Glen are 7:00 am to 8:30 pm seven days a week. Annual passes can be purchased at any of the parks with cash or check from the gatehouse and the passes can be used at all of the Kalamazoo County Parks.
Check the website for admission fees.
River Oaks County Park (Splash Pad)
Although not a beach destination, River Oaks Park splash pad is a fun spot to visit for the day and cool off. The splash pad features fun in-ground and above-ground water spray elements. A playground has recently been added near the splash pad. Both areas have specific elements designed for children ages 2-5 and ages 6-12. The hours are 10:00 am to 8:00 pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Located in Augusta between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Fort Custer features Eagle Lake – a wonderful sandy beach for swimming. The lake offers canoe rentals, a concession stand and beach house with changing rooms. The area boasts many other activities – hiking and biking trails, fishing and an 18-hole disc golf course. Park hours are Monday-Sunday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and there is a day-use admission charge.
Gun Lake County Park is a day use park located on the west shore of beautiful Gun Lake. This four-acre park has over 450 feet of beach, a playground, a basketball court, picnic tables, grills, a pavilion, and modern restroom facilities. The Park is open daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm and there is a day-use admission charge.
Willard Beach is located off of Capital Avenue SW, South of Columbia Avenue and offers a beautifully landscaped park on scenic Goguac Lake with a wide bathing beach and picnic grounds. The park boasts multiple picnic areas with pavilion cover, picnic tables, grills, and restrooms. The park is open daily from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm.
Worth The Drive
Feeling a little adventurous? A bit more of a drive, but oh-so worth it!
Located at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, Silver Beach features a clean, wide beach on Lake Michigan and public access to the South Pier. It is a favorite destination for a variety of beach and river front activities, ranging from swimming and beach volleyball to sunset strolls. Weather permitting; lifeguards are on duty during the summer from 11:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. A daily entrance fee applies or an annual permit may be purchased.
In addition, Silver beach offers three playground structures. Make sure and visit the Silver beach carousel for a ride. Steps away from the carousel is Michigan’s tallest kaleidoscope and Curious Kids’ Museum, an entertaining place for toddlers to teens to explore water exhibits, a climbing wall and traveling exhibits.
Overlooking Lake Michigan from a bluff in Benton Township, Rocky Gap County Park provides a wonderful place to enjoy the Lake Michigan shoreline. There’s a beach with 1,100 feet of lake frontage, an overlook platform, and spectacular views of the lake. It is an ideal location to take a relaxed lunch break, enjoy a sunset, or cool off with a quick swim. There are no lifeguards on duty at this park. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
South Haven attracts thousands of visitors each summer and with good reason. There is plenty of sparkling water and sandy beach to go around.
North Beach is located just north of the pier and running off Lakeshore Drive. It costs $7 per day to park during the summer (credit card or cash), daily and weekly passes are available. North beach offers concessions, a picnic area and volleyball courts.
South Beach is located across the river from North Beach on Monroe Drive. Check out Packard Park, located on North Shore Drive. It has a beach setting on one side and a park setting on the other, with a playground, picnic tables and restrooms.
Deerlick Creek Park is a Lake Michigan beach access in South Haven Township with a small creek entering Lake Michigan. This beach offers free parking and is dog-friendly. They have a portable bathroom.
Hagar Township is located in northern Berrien County along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
Hagar Park Beach – Located on M63 in the Lake Michigan Beach area. This park offers paved parking, porta johns, wooden walkway and stairs to the beach, shaded picnic area with metal grills and playground equipment.
Roadside Park Beach – Located on Blue Star Highway just south of Van Buren County line. This beach park is a natural dune park that offers a roadside gravel parking lot and port-o-johns. Both park areas close at 11:00 p.m
Located three miles south of South Haven, Van Buren State Park offers approximately 400 acres of land located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in northern Van Buren County. The focal points of the park are its high dune formations and one mile of sandy beach. The beach area (daily use admission fee applies), has picnic tables and grills, a picnic shelter and two modern restroom buildings.
Located just off Interstate 94, six miles southwest of St. Joseph, Grand Mere is Michigan’s largest state park on Lake Michigan. Grand Mere has over one mile of coastline for sunbathing and swimming. One of the more secluded parks, Grand Mere has acres of wetlands, woods, sand dunes and beach. The Beach has very little in the way of amenities, so consider bathroom needs if you plan to bring the family. Also, getting to the beach from the parking lot requires a bit of travel through hills of sand. Dogs on a leash are allowed within the beach and swimming area.
Nestled among sand dunes and the winding Kalamazoo River is Oval Beach in Saugatuck. From Memorial weekend until Labor Day weekend, the beach is open daily from 9:00 am until 10:00 pm with a daily parking fee. Oval beach offers a concession stand with typical fare – hot dogs, snacks and ice cream. There are modern bathroom facilities with showers, lifeguards, a swing set area and picnic tables. Carve out some time in the day to check out Mt. Baldhead Park. Mt. Baldhead is a 600 ft tall dune that overlooks the area. From the parking lot at Mt. Baldhead, visitors can trek up the almost 300 steps to the top of the dune to the overlook with an amazing view of Saugatuck. There are platforms with benches spaced out throughout the stairway for resting and enjoying nature.
Is your favorite beach not on our list? Let us know in the comment section below and we can add it to our Southwest Michigan Beach Guide. Thanks!