Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Updated: May 6
We find Saugatuck Dunes State Park great for a variety of reasons:
Beautiful Beaches in the Summer
Dune Hikes in the Spring
Miles of hiking trails
Frisbee Golf Course through the dunes
Generally quiet due to its location and lack of a campground
Great shoreline ecosystem with Eagles and many other varieties of birds and wildlife
We found Saugatuck Dunes State Park more to our liking for Day trips compared to Van Buren State Park or Hoffmaster. Saugatuck State Park is located North of Saugatuck and South of Holland on Lake Michigan’s East shoreline.
The beach days are always amazing. There are a few trails that take you to the beach. The longer trails will take you to a more secluded shoreline. The Beach Trail is the most popular in the Summer. It is a 1½ mile loop trail that feels a lot longer when hauling chairs, coolers, life jackets, and all the rest of the beach gear. It’s a beautiful well maintained trail through the forest. The trailhead is at the North Parking lot off 66th street. The length and difficulty of the trail and limited parking allow for a great beach day for people that make the effort. We find the beach pretty quiet in the morning and then it reaches full capacity by early afternoon. Still the beach is fairly open and you will find room to stretch out.
The trails are just as important in this park as the beach. The South Trail is a 5.5 mile loop through the dunes that provides a vast walk through forest and dune ecosystem. The park recommends a clockwise route. The forest includes tall hardwoods that reach far into the sky and provide a canopy that prevents growth at the forest floor. This allows for wide ranging views from the forest trails into the depths of the forest. After the forest the dune opens up to the sky and has sandy footing. The dune grass is beautiful and supports the stability for the area. For Michigan there is a lot of elevation change and the South trail is more difficult due to the elevation changes and sandy trail. We brought a lot of water, snacks, and treats to keep our brood motivated. The payoff at the half-way point is a beautiful secluded beach. We ate lunch here, let the dogs swim, and played on the beach for a nice break in the trail.
The North Trail includes an inner and outer loop that is 2.5 miles total with a different view of the lake. This trail provides the same forest and dune experience with a shorter hike. We’ve found the variety is nice and if you visit the area more than once we recommend taking a new trail each time. Your desire for difficult and length of time will guide you into the right trail for your experience. They are all fantastic trails and worth hiking for their own features. The parking area includes vault toilets. Dogs are welcome and had no troubles on the trails. There are also picnic areas and a hand powered water pump.
The Felt Estate is also located inside the park. We have not visited the Estate. It is available for weddings and other events. Tours are available. To learn more visit https://www.feltmansion.org/
In summary Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a more quiet park on Lake Michigan with hikes to the Lake and beautiful beach shoreline to enjoy your day. We enjoyed hiking in the Spring and Fall and spending time on the beach and in the water during the Summer. There are multiple sites hosted by pure michigan, Saugatuck, and the DNR with maps and more details about the park. If you are looking for a unique experience on Lake Michigan Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a hidden gem you now know a little more about. Thank you and let us know what questions you have or about your time in the park.