Duck Lake State Park is the Perfect Beach for Kids and Families
4733 N. Scenic Dr, Whitehall, MI 49461
natural hiking paths through mature woods with a paved portion
Trail Length: 2.8 miles
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs Allowed? Yes, but they must be on a 6-foot leash.
Facilities: Modern restrooms
Stroller Friendly? No
Time of Year Accessible: Open year-round.
Duck Lake State Park doesn’t make the sweet spot list because of its name. Rather, it makes the list for its wonderful beach, a channel perfect for little kids and its reasonable proximity to Grand Rapids.
Duck Lake State Park is one of over 50 walking trails in West Michigan.
Duck Lake has Something for Every Age
Sand dunes, perfect for climbing, beckon the adventurous.
The shallow, warm channel from Duck Lake out to Lake Michigan is perfect for enjoying water play with the little ones, especially since the big lake isn’t always warm enough for swimming.
The dune climbs here are small enough that most kids and adults can get up them, yet tall enough to reward with spectacular views.
Inland, another part of the park flaunts its style. A paved half-mile path travels from the channel near Lake Michigan through the woods, past a boat launch on Duck Lake and ends up at a picnic pavilion and beach on Duck Lake.
The beach at Duck Lake is much calmer, with fewer people and fewer waves than on the Big Lake.
Duck Lake State Park is an easy, exciting day trip for families!
Tips from Other Parents for Duck Lake State Park
- There are a few restrooms available. The restrooms have concrete floors, and there are no changing tables.
- You’ll need the yearly recreation passport ($11) to park in the State Park parking lot. Otherwise, you can try for one of the limited parking spots along the channel road.
- There are sandbars on the Lake Michigan shore, which are perfect for kids to jump in the waves in shallow water.
- Label your sand toys! The shallow play area attracts many toys, and they float off easily in the channel.
- Pack a cooler – there is no place to purchase snacks or beverages.
- No shade available – bring a beach tent or umbrella.
- The walk from the car is a little bit of a hike, so be prepared for that.
- There is no playground.
- Expect approximately 1 hour of travel time from downtown Grand Rapids.
Map of Grand Rapids Parks and Trails
Find your next outdoor adventure near you with this map of the best hiking trails, playgrounds, and parks in West Michigan.