Michigan is practically two big islands. Alright, Michigan is technically two peninsulas, but just like an island, our Great Lake States has a ton of fantastic beaches. Lake Michigan beaches are especially nice—they’re sandier, warmer and cleaner than most—and I believe that Laketown Beach between Holland and Saugatuck is one of the best!
Laketown is a bit off the beaten path but it’s worth finding. (For directions, click here.) It is sandwiched between two long stretches of private beachfront, so it is small, but rarely crowded. The beach may lack a lot of space, but it definitely makes up for it in serenity. That isn’t to say Laketown is always empty; on weekends it can attract a crowd, but it remains one of the best public beaches when it comes to privacy, relaxation and space. Parking is free and available right at the base of the stairs.
The stairs can be a hike. Going up and down the dune to the beach and back to the parking lot means walking nearly 500 stairs. Luckily—though this can be a great workout—you can take a clearly marked shortcut down a smaller dune after about 60 steps. This year however, you may be forced to take the shortcut, since last summer large sections of the stairs were buried under sand. But the higher you climb, the better the view is. Looking over Lake Michigan from the top of the stairs is truly spectacular and one of the best places to catch a sunset over the water. When the sky is clear and blue, the view seems endless.
When you are finally able to rip yourself away from the view and head down to the beach, you’ll discover that it is equally stunning. Rocks don’t litter the ground at Laketown; there is just dune grass, sand and crystal blue water. It might be smart to pack a lunch when you plan your day at the beach; there aren’t any hot dog stands, ice cream vendors or small shops nearby. As far as public beaches go, Laketown is a little rustic, but it’s this serenity and privacy that makes it a hidden gem.
Probably one of the biggest draws to Laketown isn’t actually within its boundaries however, but what is known locally as “The Bowl.” The Bowl is an gigantic sand bowl, resembling a sort of concave desert. Along with the other dunes and Lake Michigan itself, The Bowl was carved out of the earth by glaciers millions of years ago and was likely a small lake before drying up. Standing at the center of The Bowl and being surrounded on all sides by enormous walls of sand is quite breathtaking. The landscape is truly like no other. This awesome sight alone makes a trip to Laketown a summer necessity and a great, relaxing place to bring friends and family. ~Mike Guisinger, Regional Director