Laketown Beach a great summer destination — be respectful

Remember that the dunes are delicate and be aware of private property.
Visitors enjoy Laketown Township Beach earlier this summer.

Laketown Beach is a popular spot during the summer, especially around the Fourth of July. It’s important, though, to respect the dunes and the privacy of neighbors.

“My family has enjoyed going to Laketown Beach since we moved to Laketown Township in the early 2000s,” said Brad Laninga, chairperson of the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission, the group that helps oversee the beach. “It’s a great spot for Laketown residents and visitors to enjoy Lake Michigan. We’re fortunate to have access to the lakefront.”

Signs at Laketown Township Beach advise visitors to stay on the path to protect the dunes.

A sensitive ecosystem

Laketown Beach Park, 6710 142nd Ave., is a sensitive ecosystem.

“I’ve learned that our dunes along Lake Michigan are delicate, and we have to pay attention to the changes that occur. To me it is a living organism in a way. Those who come to enjoy it need to recognize the damage that can quickly be done to it if you do not respect the space,” said Laninga. “As parks and recreation, we are trying to encourage visitors to stay off areas that are delicate or under repair. Simply ignoring signs and direction can cause damage that will take years to repair.”

The best way to preserve the dunes is to stay on the paths and pay attention to the signs.

Laketown Township is funding grass plantings to stabilize the sand on the dunes.

Vehicles at Laketown Township Beach earlier this season.

Parking and neighbors

Parking is limited to help make sure emergency vehicles can get to the beach and help protect the private property rights of neighbors.

“Laketown Beach and its visitors must respect the neighbors that border our beautiful park. Be respectful of their property and follow the signage posted to stay out of their front and back yards,” Laninga said. “Since we have many visitors from outside of our township, it is important that our residents follow the rules and guidelines posted and encourage others to do the same.”

Once on the beach, respect the property lines as posted and stay off private land.

Here are a few other things to remember to help visitors enjoy the beach:

  • The beach is open from dawn until dusk.
  • No dogs allowed.
  • It’s a long walk to and from the beach over a sand dune and hundreds of stairs. Be aware of what you’re carrying and that young children might need assistance.
  • There is a portable restroom in the parking lot. There are no restrooms on the lakefront itself.
  • Bring all trash from the beach to the parking lot and dispose of it properly. There are no trash receptables on the beach itself.
  • Cell phone reception can be spotty.
  • The parking lot is monitored by camera.
  • Check out the Laketown Township website at https://laketowntwp.org/ for more on the beach.
A sign at the entrance of Laketown Township Beach.

A little history

Laketown Beach is the oldest park in the township, originally acquired by the township in 1926. Over the past several years, the township has added three parcels of about three-tenths of an acre each and another at three-quarters of an acre. In January, the township purchased 3.17 acres of land that does not touch the water. In total, the township has about 9 acres.

Laketown has 200 feet of Lake Michigan frontage.

The stairs were installed in 1993. Some of the walkways are completely covered with sand. The township is looking at replacing the stairs.

The parks commission has created two groups to address various issues, challenges and opportunities at the beach. Commissioners Anne Brand and Tom Hoekman are leading these groups and welcome thoughts on beach access, parking challenges and dune preservation.

“Residents are encouraged to reach out to our commissioners or share your ideas via the parks email parks@laketowntwp.org,” he added.

Big Red, the Holland Harbor Lighthouse, from Laketown Beach on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.

More beach facts

If you face Lake Michigan at the beach and look to your right, you will see in the distance the piers where Lake Macatawa meets Lake Michigan. The Holland Harbor Lighthouse – known as Big Red – is visible. It’s more than 3 miles away.

If you look to your left, the piers where the Kalamazoo River meets Lake Michigan in Saugatuck are visible. These are also more than 3 miles away.

The water at Laketown Township Beach is tested weekly by the Allegan County Health Department for E. coli and harmful algal blooms.

There are no lifeguards and no flag system. Please check the National Weather Service for lake conditions and warnings.