I’ve also been meaning to post something about a family hike we took a while back just north of Holland. The Lake Michigan shoreline is packed with great little day parks where you can park, hike a little, and hang out at the beach for the day and Olive Shores County Park is no exception.
The day we went wasn’t exactly what you’d consider a sunbathing day, so we decided to just hike the stairs and walk the beach. The park recently went through an overhaul that included a new parking lot, visitor’s center, and stairs down to the beach complete with several scenic look-out areas. The parking lot is actually lower than the peak of the dune, so you climb stairs before descending to the beach. So in other words, you walk up hill both ways…kinda like your grandparents did going to school when they were kids. There’s also modern restrooms here, so it is definitely kid friendly during the summer. Expect to see people making the rounds on the stairs as its also a great place to get your sweat on.
At the bottom of the stairs on the beach, you’re greeted by a large sitting deck with a placard describing how the park came to be, and the really unique story about how the cottage that sat on the deck’s foundation was used in Tom Hanks’ movie “Road to Perdition”. The cottage was used near the end of the film when Tom’s character took his son to Michigan while he returned to ‘take care of some business’. The beach itself is very spacious because the water levels of Lake Michigan have been so low for the past few years. If walking the beach is your thing, you have both North and South options with a southern walk bringing you by the Consumer’s Power coal powered electric plant and to the mouth of the Pigeon Lake channel just a few steps further.
If you make it over to my neck of the woods to hit the beach, just be mindful that this park is a county park not covered by the State of Michigan passport sticker so you’ll have to pay a nominal day fee to check this park out. Outside of that, it’s one of the jewels of Lake Michigan and worth checking out.