3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset

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Halfway between Holland and Grand Haven, MI, there is a 2.6 mile stretch with 3 hidden gem Lake Michigan beaches that are perfect places for watching the sunset. As smaller, lesser known beaches, Kirk Park, Olive Shores and Windsnest Park all have beautiful sandy shorelines without as many crowds as the popular state parks nearby.

With gorgeous white sand and iconic lighthouses, Holland State Park and Grand Haven State Park are both must see West Michigan beaches. However, in the peak summer season, both parks can reach parking lot capacities.

If you are in the Holland or Grand Haven area and are looking for a quieter beach off the beaten park, check out one of these 3 gems. In this short stretch, you have 3 wonderful beach options to enjoy at sunset or any time of day!

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

Beautiful and quiet Olive Shores beach in West Olive, MI

Map Of Quiet Beaches Between Holland & Grand Haven

Kirk Park

9791 Lake Shore Dr, West Olive, MI 49460

Parking: Large paved parking lot
Restrooms: Modern restrooms (open seasonally)
Dogs: Allowed off-leash on beach between 7-10 am and 6-10 pm daily; allowed leashed on trails any time
Fee: $5 for Ottawa Country residents or $8 for non-residents daily fee (from Memorial Day to Labor Day) or purchase an annual pass either online or at the gate house in the parking lot
Perfect for you if… you are a dog lover.

Of these 3 parks, Kirk Park is the largest and busiest. With a beautiful beach and lots of fun features, it’s not hard to see why it’s a popular spot for locals. At Kirk Park, there’s lots of picnic tables and grills, a small playground, and some nice hiking trails including a Dune Climb Loop with scenic outlooks. The uppermost deck is no longer usable due to erosion, but you can still catch a glimpse of the lake from the top of the dune.

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

Alternate trail at the top of the Dune Climb Loop at Kirk Park

Freshwater Dunes

To get to the beach from the parking lot, there is a very short walk (0.07 miles) through a wooded path. At the beach overlook, check out the educational kiosks to learn about the unique freshwater dunes in West Michigan. Due to erosion, the staircase down to the beach is covered in sand, but the rope handrail is a helpful guide for making your way down to the shoreline.

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

Pathway down to the beach at Kirk Park

Dog Beach

One big draw at Kirk Park is the dog beach. With dogs allowed off leash on the beach in the morning and evening, this is a mecca for dog lovers. If you want to watch the sunset over Lake Michigan with your best canine buddy, Kirk Park is the place for you.

Olive Shores

8555 Olive Shore Ave, West Olive, MI 49460

Parking: Medium-sized paved parking lot
Restrooms: Modern restrooms (open seasonally)
Dogs: Not allowed
Fee: $5 for Ottawa Country residents or $8 for non-residents daily fee (from Memorial Day to Labor Day) or purchase an annual pass online or at Kirk Park up the road
Perfect for you if… you love a little hike in the woods as you journey to the beach.

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

Staircase up the back dune at Olive Shores

Hike To The Beach

With wooded paths, Olive Shores has the perfect combination of short hiking trails and Lake Michigan shoreline. The trail to the beach is less than a quarter of a mile, only 0.19 miles one way. Part of the beach path includes wooden staircases up and over the dune with a total of 311 steps. A bit of a climb here, but Olive Shores is definitely less intense than bigger dune climbs like the ones at the nearby Rosy Mound or Laketown Beach.

For a little extra hiking, the Dune Ridge Loop and Dune Meadow Loop add another 0.25 miles of trails to the park. Along the wooden boardwalk Dune Ridge Loop, there are scenic overlooks to enjoy the view of Lake Michigan. Take in the sunset up here or take the stairs down to the water and stroll along the beautiful sandy beach.

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

Sunset at Olive Shores

Road to Perdition

Interesting fact: Olive Shores has some cinematic history. In Road to Perdition, the 2002 movie starring Tom Hanks, the ending beach scene was filmed at Olive Shores. West Michigan hasn’t appeared in too many films, so it’s a fun novelty to find a local movie location.

Windsnest Park

Margaret Ave, West Olive, MI 49460

Parking: Medium paved parking lot
Restrooms: Modern restrooms (open seasonally)
Dogs: Not allowed
Fee: No fee
Perfect for you if… your kids love a beach playground.

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

Easy beach access at Windsnest Park

Quick Walk To The Beach

If you like quick and easy beach access, check out Windsnest Park. Here the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline is only a stone’s throw from the parking lot. You could even park and watch the sunset from the comfort of your captain’s seat, if you prefer.

Again, erosion has been a major issue for many West Michigan beaches including Windsnest Park. At the end of the beach boardwalk, the main staircase down to the water has been closed off. To the right of the boardwalk, there is a mat and small sand path to follow to the shoreline instead.

Playground Area

If you have children, the playground area will be a huge hit. You can have a full afternoon of beach and playground fun at Windsnest Beach. There’s even a shaded table area for a picnic lunch.

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

Playground at Windsnest Park

The one drawback at Windsnest Park is the power plant located behind the park. Luckily there is a lovely view of Lake Michigan in the other direction!

Enjoy That Beautiful Lake Michigan Sunset

I hope you are able to catch many gorgeous sunsets this summer whether on Lake Michigan or somewhere else special!

What’s your favorite spot to watch the sunset? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset Between Holland And Grand Haven, MI

For another hidden gem beach near Holland, MI, check out my post on Adventuring At Laketown Beach.


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2 thoughts on “3 Quiet Lake Michigan Beaches To Enjoy The Sunset

  1. Ooh man, this is just what I was looking for. I don’t like going to Holland or the other state parks because they are so busy all the time but I’m not familiar enough with the area to know of any other places to go. I am totally going to check out some of these lesser known Lake MI beaches this summer! Thank you!!!

    1. Awesome! With these 3 parks being so close together, you are sure to find one that’s a good fit for you. For a recent date night, we went beach hopping to all 3 in one evening! 🙂

      I hope you get in some fun Lake Michigan beach time this summer, Wendy!

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