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Warren Dunes State Park

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Warren Dunes State Park is a well known destination among Midwest hang gliders.
Copyright: - Michigan State Parks & Forests
Warren Dunes State Park is a well known destination among Midwest hang gliders.
Description - Warren Dunes State Park encompasses 1,952 acres with more than two miles of Great Lakes shoreline backdropped by spectacular sand dunes rising 240 feet above Lake Michigan. A variety of natural settings dominate the park, from rugged dune formations to winding streams to forest growth and wildflowers.

Attractions - The main attraction at Warren Dunes State Park is the mountain of golden sand rising 240 feet above Lake Michigan. Visitors are attracted from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Hang gliding enthusiasts ride the prevailing lake winds while youngsters tumble down the sandy slopes. Windsurfers provide a colorful kaleidoscope across the water's surface.

The park has 180 modern dune campsites and 24 rustic sites. Open year-round, with modern camping facilities only from April 15 to November 1. Bathhouses are conveniently located and electric hookup is available at each site. An RV water tank fill site and holding sanitation station are available. "Beach" camping for those with RVs is available during the summer months in a parking lot adjacent to the water. However, no hookups are available in this location and the bathhouse is a short walk away. The park does offer three mini-cabins at the dune campground. Each cabin comes equipped with electric and sleeps four. Overnight reservations should be made when visiting the park between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The day use area consists of several picnic grounds with rentable shelters. A fabulous sandy swimming beach is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. A concession store sells refreshments and souvenirs. Hiking trails are provided in the northern natural area of the park. Shady hardwoods with an understory graced with seasonal wildflowers makes for an enjoyable walk. Marked trails are available between the sun-drenched shores and the canopied forest. Biking is permitted, however, limited. Hunting for small game is permitted north of the hiking trails. State regulations apply. Cross-country skiing, sledding, and tobogganing are allowed during the winter season.

About a mile north of the state park, along Red Arrow Highway, Weko Beach is another popular destination. Beach facilities include beach house, concession, cold outdoor shower, and volleyball courts. In addition, a pleasant boardwalk makes for an easy beach stroll. During summer evenings, the playing of the "Taps" occurs waterside.

Recreation - Warren Dunes State Park is a wonderful outdoor destination. Visitors are welcome to camp, beach camp, hike, swim, sunbathe, study nature, bird watch, hang glide, wind surf, bike, hunt, cross-country ski, sled, and toboggan.

Warren Dunes- Modern - (800) 447-2757, 182 site(s), $25/$23
Warren Dunes- Rustic - (800) 447-2757, 36 site(s), $10
Warren Dunes- Group Use Area - (616) 426-4013, 6 site(s), Contact the park

Warren Dunes Nature Trail - 1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-Mt. Randal Trail - 1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-White Tail Trail - 0.8 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-Oak Ridge Trail - 0.2 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-Red Squirrel - 0.66 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-Blue Jay Trail - 0.75 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-Yellow Birch Loop - 1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-Golden Rod Loop - 0.33 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Warren Dunes-Cross Country Ski Trail - 6 (Miles), Cross Country Ski

Climate - West Coast Michigan experiences pleasant summers with temperatures averaging 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). In winter, temperatures plunge to 22 degrees F (-6 degrees C). Lake winds have dramatic affect on wind chill factors. Yearly precipitation averages 40 inches and above.

Location - Warren Dunes State Park is located just south of the small town of Bridgman. Travel Interstate 94 to exit 16. Head south on Red Arrow Highway and proceed approximately 2 miles to the park's entrance.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Kathy (Oswego, IL)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We visited the Warren Dunes for the first time this week and are hooked! The sand is the softest we have ever felt and the water is clear, calm and warmer than other parts of Michigan. The dunes are an incredible sight and you have to try and run up at least once. We are going to put this on our day trip list for many summers to come. Notes: Bring an umbrella and/or cabana -- the sand is immense and can be very hot. I would also recommend bringing your own food/drinks. There is a concession area but depending on where you are, it is quite a walking distance.

Filed By: Cindy F. (West Bloomfield, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: You'll think you're at the ocean. The water is warm, shallow for a great distance and on some days even some big waves. Beautiful white sand. We all got sunburned by sun bouncing off the sand, it gets really hot. Also gets pretty crowded so get your spot early. Third parking lot is best; close to concession stand and closest walk to beach. If you tent camp there I recommmend sites 139-159. In June the campground was full to max, about 15 min wait for a hot shower but the facilities overall were nice and the other campers were very respectful. Each site has an outlet so don't forget your string of goofy lights.

Filed By: Bethany (Troy, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Every year we go to a different state park to go camping durning the summer for a week with about 20 cousins and about 3-5 aunts and uncles. This year we have decided to go back beause we all loved climbning the dunes

Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly

Filed By: Jillian (St. Clair Shores, MI)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We have been going to Warren Dunes pretty faithfully every year since I was very little. I couldn't think of a more beautiful and adventurous place to go for a vacation. The water is so blue, you feel like you are at the ocean, and the sand is so perfect, you can build luxurious sand castles. The sites are spacious and most are actually pretty well-shaded. We wouldn't drive over 4 hours every year to this place if it wasn't so perfect!!! We are going again this July, and I am already training myself to hike that huge dune!!! I love it!!!!!

Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Toughest Part? Climbing the dune. It rises a least 200 feet or more, and it takes three or four steps on the inclined sand to equal one or two steps on level ground. You'll need to take a few rest breaks on the way up, and you'll get thirsty, too. Also, I found a broken glass bottle fragment in the sand about half way up, so if you feel something hard in the sand under your foot, it may be worthwhile not to rest any more weight on that foot until you take another step. Coming down is fun but after the climb, the descent is over too quickly. I saw people walking, sliding, running, and even summersaulting their way down the dune. Biggest Reward? The view from the top of the dune, and swimming in Lake Michigan. The water feels pretty cold when you first get in but after the initial shock, it takes about twenty seconds to adjust. Then, you don't want to get out because it feels so good. Once you get beyond the shore, the sand is very fine and smooth with hardly any stones and no shells, so it feels great under your feet. The water is very clean and pretty clear. Only debris you'll encounter is a few bugs and bits of sea grass floating on the surface waves toward shore but not too much to make it unpleasant. There is a sandbar that runs underwater the entire length of the beach so just as the water begins to get to chest level as you head out into it, it gets waist deep again before very gradually deepening at the outer perimeter of the swimming area. Possibly the best beach I've been to for swimming in my 43 years of life. Also, there is a shallow lagoon (on the beach so it has a sandy bottom) at the southern end of the beach that is great for wading in because it is so warm. After wading through the lagoon (2-3 feet deep at most), walk about fifteen feet to the lake's edge and your legs will be treated to a cooling affect much like a sauna bath when you wade in Lake Michigan. There is a concession stand and a waterfountain at the beach, but if you bring your own food, there are a couple of turnouts along the entrance road with parking where you can cook and eat your food as barbeque pits and tables are provided. Bring sandals or shoes as the mid-day sun's effect on the sand will give you an understanding of what it is like to walk on hot coals. Really nice, natural place with just the facilities you'll need and nothing else. Five dollar per car entrance fee per day/ less for MI residents. Approx. 2 hrs. drive from Chicago. Have fun in the surf and sand!

More Information

Contact Information:
Warren Dunes State Park, 12032 Red Arrow Hwy. , Sawyer, MI, 49125, Phone: 269-426-4013, TTY: 517-335-4623

Additional Information:
Michigan State Parks and Forests - Everything that makes Michigan special is embodied in the 96 State Parks. Boasting sterling recreation, Michigan State Parks and Forests invite you to enjoy one of their 14,000 campsites, 170 winter-sport areas and infinite rivers, streams, and lakes.
West Coast - Engulfing the eastern shores of Lake Michigan the West Coast Travel Region is a Mecca of coastal towns and parks providing access to world-class freshwater fishing.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Official agency website.


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