Camp At This State Park On Lake Michigan's Sandy Shores For A Beautiful Beach Escape

'Tis the season to explore some of the USA's best beaches. You don't always have to head to the obvious choices down in Florida or all the way over to Hawaii. Instead, you can find some sandy serenity in the Midwest. For a truly beautiful beach escape, you can camp out in a state park located right on stunning Lake Michigan.

The magical oasis we speak of is Grand Haven State Park. Under an hour from Grand Rapids, the state park is near one of the best towns to visit on the Great Lakes, so there's plenty to do during your beach getaway. It's ideal for those who love hearing the sounds of waves crashing into the shore, and a destination so dreamy and serene that it will leave even the most stressed amongst us feeling calm, cool, and collected. If you're looking for an underrated lakeside destination to get your summer camping fix, Grand Haven State Park needs to be added to your radar.

Camping at Grand Haven State Park

It's one thing to visit Grand Haven for its natural beauty, but there's no better way to experience this place than by camping in the state park. Bring your tent or RV to Grand Haven State Park Campground for an affordable weekend away. While waking up to the sounds of the waves is the main draw here, the location can't be beat, and it's just a short drive or 25-minute walk to the center of town. The campground is so close to the beach that the sandy shores of Grand Haven are pretty much your backyard.

The state park spans over 48 acres and is located directly along Lake Michigan with a designated swimming area and plenty of picnic spots. If you have an RV or a camper, staying here is a no-brainer, but in case you don't, there is a lodge in the park as well.  If you plan to visit Grand Haven over a long weekend or during the annual sand sculpture contest, be sure to book your campsite well in advance. When you're not at your campsite, you'll want to swing by the lighthouse, one of the town's most iconic landmarks. Afterward, stroll down the Grand Haven boardwalk for that classic Americana feel. It's over a mile long and connects you to stores, ice cream shops, and restaurants on the way into town.

What to do and when to visit

Naturally, one of the biggest draws of the area is the beach. Grand Haven City Beach is the main attraction, and dogs are permitted in the morning before 11 a.m. and again after 5 p.m. To best explore the area, take advantage of the Lakeshore Trolley, which runs every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and connects you to neighboring towns like Spring Lake, where there's another great beach.

Much of your experience will depend on when you choose to visit. Summer is the high season, thanks to the warm weather and opportunities to spend time on the beaches and in the water. However, fall is an equally beautiful time to head to Grand Haven. The town is home to some stellar fall foliage as well as Bethke Farm where you can visit a pumpkin patch, and Gavin Orchards for apple picking.

Michigan is one of the snowiest states, and in the winter, Grand Haven is ideal for skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing. Wintertime is one of the most picturesque seasons to visit; some argue that the quintessential lighthouses in the Great Lakes look best in the winter. And if you find yourself here in the spring, enjoy cycling with over 100 miles of trails, or visit one of the region's many wineries.