Unsalted & Unsurpassed

If you’ve never been to a Lake Michigan beach, prepare to be amazed. Instead of a sleepy, inland lake, you’ll come around a bend or over a dune and be dazzled by a sparkling freshwater sea. The clear, salt-free water reaches all the way to the horizon, dotted with sailboats and whitecaps or smooth as glass, depending on the day. And the white quartz sand stretches on for miles, inviting people to relax, stroll along the shore, build sand castles, hang out with friends, or watch the sun go down. With 10 miles of shoreline, Saugatuck and Douglas have six public beaches, each with its own unique personality.

Oval Beach

Celebrated around the world for its beautiful sweep of shoreline and backdrop of rolling dunes, this is the main beach in town and the most happening place to soak in the sun. Its impressive pedigree of awards (Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World, National Geographic Traveler’s Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA, and MTV’s Top 5 Beaches in the USA) is proof of its status as a summertime favorite and natural beauty spot. Easy parking, concessions, and a picnic area will keep the whole group happy until the sun goes down.

Getting there: Take Perryman Street to the Oval Beach parking lot, or pay $1 to take the chain ferry from 528 Water Street in Saugatuck and walk .6 miles to the beach.

Parking: $8/day, $50/season.

Douglas Beach

This small neighborhood beach offers prime real estate for watching the sunset. You’ll find a restroom and picnic area at the top of the hill and a quiet beach down below, tucked in be- tween lakefront cottages on each side.

Getting there: Park along Lakeshore Drive in Douglas and take the stairs down to the beach.

Parking: Very limited, free.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Get back to nature in this state-owned park, featuring 2.5 miles,of secluded beach and 200-foot tall wooded dunes. Four trails, ranging from 2.5 to 5.5 miles, offer a chance to explore dunes and shore on foot or cross-country skis.

Getting there: Park in the picnic area at 64th & 138th in Saugatuck, and hike 10 minutes on a sandy trail to the beach.

Parking: State park permit or day use fee required.

Pier Cove Beach

Named for the shipping piers that supported the logging and fruit industry in the 1800s, this beach is an ideal place for families to play. You’ll find a small, warm creek for wading and smooth stones just right for skipping. Pack a picnic and stay for the day.

Getting there: Park at 70th Ave. in Ganges Township and take the steep stairway down to the beach.

Parking: Limited, free.

Laketown Beach

When you’re ready for a quiet spot away from the crowds, head north out of town to this peaceful strip of sand, water, and sun set views—open to anyone who’s up for a little exercise on the long wooden stairway down to the beach.

Getting there: Park at 6710 142nd Ave. and take the stairway down to the beach.

Parking: Limited, free.

West Side County Park

A beautiful place for picnics, family get-togethers, special events, or watching the sunset, this park has a sparkling beach along with pavilions, playgrounds, restrooms, and picnic areas.

Getting there: Park at 2152 Lakeshore Dr. in Fennville and take the stairway or ADA-accessible ramp down to the beach.

Parking: Limited, free.