things to do in silver lake campground michigan

10 Fun Things to Do in Silver Lake Michigan

Looking for sand dunes? Michigan has ’em! And Silver Lake Sand Dunes is a great Michigan dunes vacation. See things to do in Silver Lake Michigan for a plan!

If you grew up in West Michigan like I did, chances are you have fond memories of a visit to Silver Lake sand dunes. Vacationing on the Lake Michigan dunes is a popular summertime activity for Michiganders and out of staters, too. There’s just nothing like it anywhere!

lake michigan dunes
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

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The magnificent Silver Lake Sand Dunes are adjacent to Silver Lake, Michigan, which is located near the Lake Michigan community of Mears in Oceana County, north of Muskegon. The lake is separated from Lake Michigan to its west by Silver Lake State Park, which has recreational facilities and an off-road vehicle area.

Check out things to do in Silver Lake Michigan and plan the experiences you’re going to love in this unique destination!

1. Play on the Silver Lake Dunes

There are many fun things to do in Silver Lake Michigan, but the big draw, of course, is the sand. Silver Lake Sand Dunes are the only dunes in Michigan where it is legal to drive on the sand.

You can take Silver Lake dune rides in your own off-road vehicle if you have one, rent a dune buggy or ATV, or ride along in a multi-passenger specialty vehicle. If you plan to do your own driving, click here to review the Silver Lake dunes rules from the Michigan DNR.

If you don’t own an ORV, you’ve got plenty of options. For our money, the dune rides Michigan boasts are the real deal in terms of thrills.

Most people think of a traditional sand dune buggy when they consider their options. But be aware you can rent Jeeps and ATVs, too.

Silver Lake Michigan Dune Buggy Rentals

For Silver Lake dune buggy rentals, your go-to is the aptly named Silver Lake Buggy Rentals, where you’ll find 2 and 4 person options.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes ATV Rental

Wild Bill’s ATV Rentals is your source for Silver Lake ATV rentals as well – this is a single person, four wheeler vehicle.

Silver Lake Jeep Rentals

Perhaps the above Silver Lake dune rentals don’t appeal. You’re not limited just to dune buggy rides in Michigan if that’s the case. Open air Jeep Wranglers are perfect for self-drive or be-driven guided options. Get in touch with Parrot’s Landing Jeep Rentals and Tours for the lowdown.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Rides

Don’t feel like driving yourself at all? For sure, these big dunes can be intimidating, but you can still enjoy a thrill with Mac Woods Dune Rides. Personable guides will take you on a 40 minute journey from the dunes summit at Silver Lake. Sand dunes rides wouldn’t be complete without splashing along the water’s edge, too. Mac Dune Rides’ experience is safe for all ages, and accessible for the mobility impaired.

Walking, Picnicking, or Sand Boarding at Silver Lake

With over 2000 total acres of dunes, Silver Lake State Park has plenty of room for those who prefer to get where they’re going on their own power. The designated walkable part of the state park makes the Lake Michigan dunes experience even more thrilling.

test hill silver lake dunes
Test Hill [Image in public domain]

If you’re a sand boarder, this is one of the best places to practice your skills. Those in the know rate the slope’s pitch and sand texture as the very best. Need a board? Rent one at Wave Club Watersports.

Beach lovers can stake a claim on Lake Michigan sand dunes or Silver Lake Beach. Michigan’s soft, golden sand is perfect for a day spent relaxing and picnicking at the water’s edge. For a change of scenery, check out Charles Mears State Park in close by Pentwater, which has swimming, picnic, and play areas.

Pentwater Harbor Navigation Project at Mears State Park
Cpmwjune [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

2. Silver Lake Camping in the Scenic Outdoors

Each of these Silver Lake campgrounds promises fun and relaxation in scenic surroundings. Near Silver Lake Sand Dunes, camping options vary from simple tent sites to amenity-laden resort-style experiences for those who like to bring the comforts of home along.

Silver Lake State Park camping has been popular ever since its opening in the 1950s. The Silver Lake State Park Campground has 200 sites with eco-friendly and many accessible features. Modern facilities include an off-road recreation area, boat launch, hiking trails, fishing pier, playground, and more. Note: alcohol is prohibited within a ¼ mile of the off-road area and completely prohibited throughout the park from late May to early June.

things to do in silver lake campground michigan
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Other camping options are plentiful: the Silver Lake Resort and Campground has over 200 full hook-up sites on 30 acres, with camping cabins, heated swimming pool, camp store, and family movie nights. Playground, picnic area, pavilion for groups, laundry facilities, catch and release fishing pond.

The Silver Creek RV Resort welcomes big rigs and large groups from April 1 – October 31. This gated entry resort has full hook-up sites, each with concrete slab. The community includes a gathering center, fitness center, pickle ball and basketball courts, arcade, pool and hot tub and store. Playground, pet area and wi-fi provided.

Sandy Shores Campground has been located across the lake from the dunes in a beautifully wooded, grassy setting for almost 40 years. This is the only private park with beach on Silver Lake. Michigan camping should include a swimming area with a sandy bottom perfect for all ages, and you’ll find it here. Outdoor heated pool, full playground with equipment, laundry, spacious sites and basic wi-fi.

silver lake dunes michigan
Dale Fisher, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [Public domain]

Silver Hills Campground offers a range of experiences from rustic, non-electric sites to self-catered A-frame cabins. Back-in and pull-through options offer electric, optional water and pond views. Pool, bath house, and store on site.

3. Stay in kitschy Silver Lake Sand Dunes hotels

Silver Lake, Michigan hotels are mostly traditional, but there are a couple of kitschy, retro options you will want to consider for a unique, throwback experience!

The Gateway Motel is an unassuming, 18-unit, family-owned accommodation in a quiet country setting 9 miles from the dunes. Accommodations are clean and simple, with cable TV, Wi-fi, mini-fridge and microwaves in the room. Continental breakfast included, open year ’round.

Try a rustic or full service cabin rental at Dune-Town (formerly Jellystone Park). The Dune-Town Silver Lake experience includes more than 200 campsites, but you’ll want to check out the cabin rentals. Take your pick from self-catered duplex units with kitchens, rustic cabins, or “camping rooms” (like a motel room) that sleep four. On duty every Tuesday and Thursday during peak season for “tuck-ins” – a bedtime story where you’re staying with milk and cookies – is Yogi Bear. Silver Lake’s most endearing tradition, Yogi is also available for singing birthday balloon deliveries.

Great for couples or family groups, Sierra Sands Family Lodge is a 12 minute walk from Silver Lake beach, and has a playground, outdoor swimming pool, outdoor fireplace and picnic area, and free wifi.

For those who prefer a more branded experience, or are looking for Pentwater MI hotels, these hotels near Silver Lake Sand dunes fill up fast during the season: Dunes Express Inn and Suites and American Host Inn.

Check out our interactive map for great places to stay near Silver Lake Sand Dunes!

4. Try an Escape Room

Looking for things to do near Silver Lake MI that are mentally challenging but not overly physically strenuous? If you’ve never tried this unique experience, you’ll want to get a group together and head over to Bamboozled Escape Rooms. You and your team will be locked in, and given a series of clues to solve in order to achieve the steps necessary to free yourselves within an hour’s time. By appointment only.

5. Play on the water near Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Michigan is revered for recreation that revolves around the water, and there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of that here in this beautiful setting.

For recreational boaters, water skiers, and jet skiers, Wave Club Water Sport Rentals is your outfitter. Choose from water ski boats or pontoons to fit your group (up to 12), powerful wave runner machines, and a full range of paddle equipment. Life jackets and safety instructions included with all rentals.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Paddlers who want to explore inland waterways should check out Pentwater Outfitters, where you’ll find a full range of SUP boards, canoes, and kayaks, and comfortable apparel to complement your experience. Guided trip options and lessons available.

6. Visit a Lighthouse

little sable point lighthouse things to do in silver lake michigan
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

One of a 3-lighthouse cluster, Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a remarkable brick structure which dates back to 1874. Still equipped with its original lens, the lighthouse has a copper roof cap. You can climb to the top for a small fee, and educational guides are on hand during the season.

7. Tour and Taste at a Michigan Winery

Years ago, we’d laugh at the thought of Michigan wines, but the industry has matured and is producing impressive, nuanced offerings nowadays. Take a break from the water and sand to sample and tour at these friendly locations!

Fox Barn Winery – a restored antique tasting barn and food board for patio dining are just two of the features here. With more than 2000 acres of a 5-generation family farm given over to vines and woodlot operations, a full range of vintages includes dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet varieties. Note their specialty asparagus wine, which sells out every year.

Pleasant Valley Farm and Vineyard – 100% farm sourced interpret classical Europe and modern day styles. Private tastings and tours by appointment, yoga class and tasting, and special events during the season. Wedding venue holds 150 (more guests if outside).

Jomagrha Vineyards and Winery – a small boutique winery established in 1999 with hand-crafted French and new generation hybrids, Bordeaux and Burgundy viniferas. Tasting room is housed in one of the distinctive white barns on the property.

8. Walk or Bike a Beautiful Trail

The William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail State Park is the pride of this area and with good reason! Part of Michigan’s “Rails to Trails” project, the 22 mile paved trail has now been expanded in the hopes of linking now to other projects.

bike trail with two cyclists
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Originally laid as a rail bed in the 1870s and a popular stop as a passenger pigeon hunting center at that time, the trail is an easy, flat surface with five waypoints which have drinking water and restrooms. The route takes you through forested areas, Christmas tree farmland and the fruit orchards so typical of West Michigan.

9. Race Go Karts, Bumper Boats, Zip Line and more!

Craig’s Cruisers Family Fun Center – Since 1979, a simple go-kart track has evolved into a destination for a variety of fun things to do in Silver Lake. From soaring over the lake on a single or double zip line, to double bumper or swan paddle boats and three kinds of go-karts, you’re sure to have a blast at Craig’s Cruisers! See how good a racer you are on the outdoor track, or partner up for 18 holes of mini-golf.

10. Get Acquainted with an Old-Fashioned Country Dairy

The Country Dairy has been family owned for four generations, boasting Michigan grown and made cheese and ice cream from local milk. Products are certified non-GMO and hormone free. But that’s only part of the story.

silver lake michigan things to do country dairy holstein cows
Image by Cally Lawson from Pixabay

Tours take you literally from farm to table during 90 minutes of guided learning about dairy practices, the industry, and the farm itself. The Country Dairy encompasses the entire process of producing and handling milk and turning it into fresh product.

Tour the bottling plant and learn how the farm’s 1200 Holstein cows are fed and milked, sample the incomparable chocolate milk and cheddar cheese curd “moochies.” The Farm Store and Deli serves up a variety of salads, sandwiches, and Country Dairy ice cream treats, and offers gift boxes in various sizes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our top ten list of things to do in Silver Lake Michigan. The Lake Michigan lifestyle can’t be beat! Check out our post on the 5 best small towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan for more fun ideas!

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  1. Well-done documentary on our wonderful area. Some things mentioned I didn’t even know about all these years!

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