by Robin



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!

Beaches In Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties

Ramona Park, Portage 

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 Monday – Friday from noon to 7:00 pm and on the weekends and Holidays from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm. Visit the website for beach admission fees.  Ramona Park also rents out Pavilion’s for large groups.

Kalamazoo County Parks:

1.      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.

2.  Prairie View County Park, Vicksburg

Located on the shores of Gourdneck and Hogsett Lakes the park offers a premier swimming beach and a pristine natural setting. Prairie View has five picnic shelters that are a perfect setting for any gathering. The beach offers row boat rentals as well as hiking trails nearby and picnic shelters.

3.     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 – 8:30 pm seven days a week. Check the website for admission fees.

Fort Custer Recreation Area, Augusta

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.

Willard Beach Park, Battle Creek

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 is open daily from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm. Visit website for more information on entry fees.


Worth The Drive

Feeling a little adventurous? A bit more of a drive, but oh-so worth it!

Silver Beach, St. Joseph

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 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. 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.

South Haven Beaches

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 located just north of the pier and running off Lakeshore Drive. It costs $5 per day to park during the summer, daily and weekly passes are available. North beach has concessions 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. South Haven has a “Beach Bus” – for 50 cents/passenger, riders can transit between South Beach, North Beach and Packard Park. The hourly run starts at South Beach at noon and the last trip from North Beach is at 5:30 pm. The bus will allow people to park at either beach, depending on where parking is available.

Grand Mere State Park, Stevensville

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. Grand Mere is one of a few state parks that are “dog friendly”.

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 just 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!


By | 2014-07-02T20:25:25+00:00 July 7th, 2014|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Guides, Newly Published|1 Comment

About the Author:

Robin is a native Michigander and mother of two. She has a keen eye for discovering deals and an honest desire to share local activities and family fun. In addition to enjoying early mornings with strong coffee, she likes hanging outside with her kids, biking and reading.

One Comment

  1. Emily July 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Robert Morris Park on H ave in comstock is a treasure of a park! It has a beach a bit smaller than Ramona, lots of green space and a playground. $5 day pass, $20 annual for Comstock residents. I think $25 otherwise.

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