Duck Lake State Park has Easy Lake Fun for Little Kids Plus Dunes with the Views

Duck Lake State Park feature image steps

Duck Lake State Park is the Perfect Beach for Kids and Families

duck lake state park

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.


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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 state park ward overcast day trail

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.

best lake michigan beaches - duck lake channel

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.

Duck Lake State Park

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.
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15 thoughts on “Duck Lake State Park has Easy Lake Fun for Little Kids Plus Dunes with the Views”

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  2. Is the address in the article correct? I’m fairly certain it’s for Muskegon State Park. Heading to Duck Lake for the first time today (using the address on their website). 🙂

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  5. Pingback: West Michigan Beach Guide |

  6. Just moved to our top spot … last weekend was perfect … with very active 2 and 4 year olds and being 8 mos pregnant … this beach has now claimed the top spot for — the. best. family. beach. for little ones. My husband and I could actually sit down and let them play without worrying about the depth of Lake Michigan, while still taking in the wonderful crashing waves and scenery of Lake Michigan! But sad that our new found “secret” is out ;( haha!

  7. Elizabeth Kepner Pierce via Facebook

    Lol. We drive about an hour and a half and probably pass a dozen beaches to get there. I agree, though, keep it a secret:)

  8. Alicia Marie via Facebook

    What’s a good beach with a path to the water? This pregnant momma with an 18 month old and toys, chairs, umbrella and cooler cannot walk on.the hot sand for long!!

  9. Alicia Koski via Facebook

    It was super packed this weekend. Glad my friend was there and saved us a spot! Only down fall is the parking stinks there. They sell you a day state park pass, only to find out the lot is full 🙁

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