Description - The West Coast Travel Region spans the Lake Michigan shoreline from Manistee County to the State of Indiana stretching inland to include portions of Huron-Manistee National Forests. The Forest is characterized by five Wild and Scenic National Rivers, miles of trails, home of the Kirtland's warbler, waterfront campsites, the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, and much more.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Terrain along the coast is comprised of dune and jackpine swails, brushy marsh, wetlands, and mature forests. The diverse habitats support a variety of upland, shoreline, and aquatic birds. In addition, raptors may be seen soaring overhead on the Lake Michigan thermals. White-tailed deer, red fox, beaver and other small mammals inhabit the wetlands and woodlands. Just beyond the massive deep blue waters and the beautiful sand dunes, some reaching as high as 240 feet, numerous inland lakes provide yet another recreation destination.
- Water sports dominate the West Coast traveler's recreation list. Sprawling along hundreds of sandy Lake Michigan shoreline, the travel region provides access to world-class freshwater fishing and miles of river paddling. Many natural inlets and more than a dozen developed harbors attract boaters ranging from sea kayakers to large fishing vessels. Sport fishing is enjoyed all year with harvests including northern pike, small and largemouth bass, muskie, salmon, perch, trout and many more species. One such destination is Muskegon State Park, which rests on over two miles of some of the most beautiful shoreline in Michigan while also offering large inland lake opportunities. Beyond the beautiful deep blue waters and huge coastal dunes, visitors may tour the Great Lakes Visitor Center, found within Ludington State Park where they will learn about the Great Lakes' fragile ecosystem. Quieter destinations can be found within the region. Warren Woods Natural Area provides a secluded day experience with remote access to the Galien River via a forested walk. Stretching from the northern shore of Duck Lake to Lake Michigan, the park is the perfect secluded spot for daytime activities. Charles Mears State Park is located in the quaint village of Pentwater along the Lake Michigan shoreline offering a swimming beach and fishing pier. If you enjoy fast-paced activities, travel to Silver Lake State Park that contains over 1,500 acres of "Sahara Desert-like" sand dunes attracting hundreds of off-road vehicles. Winter does not slow the outdoor enthusiast in Michigan. Miles of marked trails are open to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Winter camping, ice fishing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, and sledding can be found at both private and public facilities.
Recreation - Water sports reign along the West Coast Travel Region providing a true outdoor paradise. From sea kayakers to large fishing vessels, water-oriented recreation is enhanced with camping, hiking, biking, snowmobiling, skiing, and an assortment of other outdoor opportunities.
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.
West Coast Michigan spans the Lake Michigan shoreline from Manistee County to the State of Indiana. Major thoroughfares include Interstates 96 and 196, and U.S. Highways 31 and 131. Major metropolitan areas include Muskegon, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo.