saugatuck mi

Discover Oval Beach Saugatuck: An Exquisite Destination

Oval Beach, nestled in Saugatuck, MI, graces the shores of Lake Michigan, showcasing its unparalleled beauty. This stunning beach is not only one of the most renowned in the area but also holds a place among the top 25 beaches in the world, as recognized by Conde Nast’s Traveler magazine. Prepare to be captivated by the wide expanse of sandy shoreline, framed by gentle coastal dunes, and the shimmering blue waters of Lake Michigan.

A Perfect Retreat by Lake Michigan

As you approach downtown Saugatuck, you will find Oval Beach, offering everything you need for an idyllic day by the water. This charming beach town boasts ample beach parking, clean restrooms, and a concession stand for your convenience. Soft, sandy beaches provide ample space for relaxation, while the Star of Saugatuck paddle boat gracefully cruises along the coastline, adding to the picturesque ambiance.

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A West Michigan Beach Paradise: Unveiling Oval Beach

Situated near the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, Oval Beach is a gem among Michigan’s travel destinations. During the summer months, tourists and locals flock to this haven to swim, unwind, and witness breathtaking sunsets over Lake Michigan, which paints the sky with vibrant hues. While the Saugatuck Douglas area is renowned for its beaches and the splendid sand dunes at Saugatuck State Park, Oval Beach holds a distinct allure that beckons me back every summer. Its magnetic charm and irresistible appeal make it a must-visit destination in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Discovering the Location of Oval Beach in Saugatuck, MI

oval beach in saugatuck

Although St. Joseph and Grand Haven boast their own magnificent Lake Michigan beaches, the unparalleled beauty of Oval Beach sets it apart. Personally, it stands as one of my favorite beaches in southwest Michigan, if not the entire United States. Each summer, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to sink my toes into the soft sands of this remarkable freshwater beach. Whether you choose to embark on a leisurely stroll along the nearby dunes or meander along the water’s edge, this easily accessible spot is the perfect beach getaway.

Insider Tips for Visiting Oval Beach

Parking at Oval Beach during the peak summer season can be a bit tricky, as it is a highly popular destination. However, do not let this deter you from experiencing the wonders of this remarkable place. If you decide to park in the lot, there is a $10 fee per car, collected from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day, or you can opt for a $50 season pass. Day passes and season passes can be purchased at the beach gate, and both cash and credit cards are accepted. It’s important to note that beach entry is free from Labor Day to Memorial Day.


Alternatively, you can take a delightful ride on the Chain Ferry, operational from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which ferries passengers across the river from downtown Saugatuck for a nominal fee of $2 per person each way. From there, you can enjoy a leisurely half-mile walk along Perryman Street, leading you straight to the beach. More information about the Chain Ferry can be found below.

If the Chain Ferry is not your preferred mode of transportation, you can call the Interurban Bus at 269-857-1418 from anywhere in Saugatuck or Douglas. For a fee of $1 per ride each way, they will drop you off at the beach and pick you up later. This option allows you to bypass the $10 beach parking fee.

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Essentials to Bring to Oval Beach

To make the most of your visit to Oval Beach, remember to pack a comfortable blanket to spread out on the sand and towels for drying off after a refreshing dip in the lovely Lake Michigan. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. Personally, I always include an umbrella or a small beach tent in my beach bag, ensuring a shady retreat on hot summer days.

Note: Oval Beach does not permit dogs, but you can bring your furry companions to Deerlick Creek Beach in nearby South Haven.

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Attractions near Oval Beach

Saugatuck Chain Ferry

While exploring this must-visit beach in Michigan, seize the opportunity to partake in a unique experience—the Saugatuck Chain Ferry. As the last hand-cranked chain ferry in the United States, this charming ferry, affectionately known as Dianne, transports passengers along a portion of the Kalamazoo River, where it merges with Lake Michigan from Kalamazoo Lake. For a mere $2 each way, you can embark on this memorable journey. Additionally, children and dogs are not only welcome but also ride for free.

Exploring Downtown Saugatuck, MI

Should you seek further adventures beyond the beach, downtown Saugatuck awaits with its delightful array of boutiques, restaurants, and knick-knack shops. For art enthusiasts, the Saugatuck Center for the Arts showcases live theater performances, and it’s worth checking their schedule for showtimes. Alternatively, if you crave a deeper connection with nature, you can hike Mount Baldhead, meander through Saugatuck Dunes State Park, or explore the scenic West Side County Park, located south of Saugatuck.

Allow me to share my favorite aspect of Saugatuck, Michigan. While indulging in an afternoon of shopping, topped off with a delectable Kilwin’s chocolate ice cream cone, there is one thing that consistently draws me back to Saugatuck—Oval Beach. Surprise, surprise!

Embark on an Exciting Saugatuck Dune Ride

For an exhilarating adventure, make your way to Saugatuck Dune Rides (6495 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck, MI 49453). Discover the hidden treasures of Michigan as you traverse the local dunes on an unforgettable dune ride. Lasting 40 minutes, the ride not only acquaints you with the history of the lost town of Singapore but also provides insights into the surrounding environment and wildlife. During the excursion, you will have the opportunity to disembark from the buggy and explore on foot. The staff at Saugatuck Dune Rides ensures that every ride is filled with excitement and knowledge about the area.

Escape to Oval Beach

Above all, savor the tranquility, warm hospitality, and undeniable comfort that Oval Beach offers. As you immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery, close your eyes and let the rhythmic sound of the waves wash over you. It may feel as though you are sitting on the porch of your very own beach house, awaiting a delicious dinner or relishing the sunset after a remarkable day.

Don’t hesitate any longer! Type 690 Perryman Street, Saugatuck, Michigan, into your phone or GPS, and embark on a memorable exploration of this remarkable destination.

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Where to Stay Near Oval Beach

One of the remarkable advantages of planning a visit to the beautiful Oval Beach in Saugatuck is the abundance of accommodation options. You can refer to our Guide to the Best Places to Stay in Saugatuck or consider some of our personal favorites in the area.

Wake Robin

Douglas, MI

For those traveling with other couples or a large family, the private home rental at Wake Robin is a true gem. This tastefully designed three-bedroom residence boasts three bathrooms—a rarity among private rentals. The spacious furnished deck and bright, well-equipped kitchen contribute to a comfortable and enjoyable stay. As an added bonus, you can gather around the fire pit in the evening for cozy bonfires.

Serendipity Bed and Breakfast

203 Griffith Street, Saugatuck, MI 49453

At Serendipity Bed and Breakfast, one of the aspects I adore is the delightful full English/Irish breakfast, prepared with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. This charming establishment offers comfortable accommodations and is run by friendly owners. Guests can choose from a variety of standard rooms or opt for a cozy cottage.

Best Western Plaza Hotel Saugatuck

3457 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck, MI 49453

While chain hotels are scarce in this area, the Best Western Plaza Hotel Saugatuck is a reliable choice. Located just a short distance from Oval Beach, this hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms. An indoor pool awaits for a refreshing swim, and a daily continental breakfast is available to start your day off right.