With over 1300 acres of pristine wilderness along the shores of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a top destination for hikers looking to explore scenic trails, towering sand dunes, pristine forests, and over 13 miles of captivating trails.. Located just south of Holland, MI, this state park immerses you in a tranquil landscape of forests, dunes, and breathtaking lake views.
Whether you’re planning a day hike or an overnight camping trip, this guide covers everything you need to know to plan your visit to Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
Four main hiking paths stem from a central trailhead and vary from easy 1.5 mile loops to rigorous 5 mile treks. The signature Beach Trail leads hikers to expansive dunes rivaling those found elsewhere in Michigan.
Beyond scenic hikes, visitors to Saugatuck Dunes State Park can explore sandy beaches, swim in designated areas, and picnic in the shaded shelter. Wintertime offers serene trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Free from crowds and distractions, Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a peaceful place to immerse yourself in natural wonder and tranquility.
Getting to Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Saugatuck Dunes State Park is conveniently located off I-196, about 10 miles south of Holland, MI.
Address: 6575 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423
From Grand Rapids: 45 mins, 35 miles
From Kalamazoo: 1 hour, 45 miles
From Chicago: 2.5 hours, 150 miles
Driving directions – Take exit 49 off I-196 and head north on Blue Star Highway. Turn left on 144th Ave and follow until you reach the park entrance on the right.
Parking is available at the main lot near the trailhead and picnic area. Be sure to display a Recreation Passport.
Saugatuck Dunes Park Hours & Fees
Park Hours: 8 am – 10 pm daily
Day Use Fees:
- Daily Vehicle Permit – $9
- Annual Recreation Passport – $12
The Recreation Passport provides unlimited access to all 100+ Michigan state parks and recreation areas. Passes can be purchased at the park office or online here.
Hiking at Saugatuck Dunes
The main activity at Saugatuck Dunes State Park is hiking. With over 13 miles of trails winding through pristine dune landscapes, it’s a hiking haven.
Four main hiking trails stem from a central parking lot and trailhead. Here’s an overview:
North Trail – 2.5 mile loop through wooded and dune terrain. Moderate difficulty.
Beach Trail – 1.5 miles to Lake Michigan beach. Sandy terrain, moderate difficulty.
Livingston Trail – 2.5 mile loop with forest and dune views. Easiest trail.
South Trail – 5.5 mile out-and-back to natural area. Most strenuous.
Dogs are allowed on leashes no longer than 6 feet. Always clean up after pets. Biking and camping are prohibited within the park.
Be sure to wear sturdy shoes for sandy conditions and bring plenty of water. Trails close at dusk.
Saugatuck Dunes Beach & Swimming
In addition to scenic dune hikes, Saugatuck Dunes offers a picturesque beach along Lake Michigan. The 1.5 mile Beach Trail leads from the picnic area to the expansive sandy beach.
Swimming is allowed only in designated areas marked by buoys. Be sure to pay attention to water conditions and warning flags. Swimming outside of the buoyed swim area is dangerous due to strong currents.
Glass containers, alcoholic beverages, grills, and fires are prohibited on the beach. For updated beach rules and safety info, visit Michigan DNR.
Saugatuck Dunes Picnic Area
Near the main parking lot, Saugatuck Dunes has a picnic area with tables and grills. A large picnic shelter is available to reserve for group gatherings.
The picnic shelter can accommodate up to 100 guests and includes electricity, grills, and nearby restroom facilities. Reservations can be made by calling the park office at 269-637-2788.
Vending machines provide snacks and drinks seasonally. There are no convenience stores within the park, so be sure to pack accordingly.
Winter Activities at Saugatuck Dunes
While summer is the most popular season, Saugatuck Dunes State Park has plenty to offer year-round:
- Cross-country Skiing – Trails wind through scenic winter landscapes. Rentals available locally.
- Snowshoeing – Explore the park on snowshoes during winter snowfalls.
- Hiking – Trails open year-round for hiking. Snow and ice can create hazardous conditions.
- Birdwatching – Spot winter birds like cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers.
Saugatuck Dunes Camping
While camping is not allowed within Saugatuck Dunes State Park, there are plenty of nearby options. The closest campgrounds are:
- Laketown Beach Campground – 5 miles south, 200+ sites, on beach.
- Holland State Park – 10 miles north, beacheside campground.
- Saugatuck / Douglas KOA – 10 miles south, amenities like pool.
Reserve Michigan campsites online up to 6 months in advance for best availability.
Trip Planning Tips
To make the most of your visit, keep these tips in mind when planning a trip to Saugatuck Dunes State Park:
- Arrive early on weekends to beat crowds
- Bring sun protection and plenty of water
- Wear closed-toed shoes for sandy hiking trails
- Pack lunch/snacks as there are no concessions
- Spring and fall offer smaller crowds and moderate temps
- Observe all posted rules and regulations
- Consider booking campsites well in advance
With spectacular scenery along Lake Michigan, Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a special place to enjoy natural beauty and serenity. Follow this guide to help plan an enjoyable and safe hiking adventure.