Kirk Park Beach is for Dog Lovers …and People who like Dune Views and Wooded Trails

Hike through the Woods at Kirk Park

kirk park

9791 Lakeshore Drive, West Olive, MI 49460

natural hiking paths through hardwoods, creek & hills
Trail Length: 1.2 miles
Trail Difficulty: Difficult – 500+ stairs make it challenging
Dogs Allowed? Yes, but they must be on a 6-foot leash.
Facilities: Modern bathrooms (closed during winter months)
Stroller Friendly? No
Time of Year Accessible: Open year-round.


2020 Update: High water levels and strong wave action have destroyed the stairs that led to the dog beach – and the dog beach is no longer available.

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Along the lakeshore, roughly halfway between Holland and Grand Haven, is Kirk Park.

One of the many parks managed by the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission, Kirk Park is a favorite destination for families wanting to have a beach day with their four-legged friends as a large portion of beach allows for dogs to go off-leash.

Kirk Park is one of over 50 walking trails in West Michigan.

Lake Michigan dog beach

Along with the off-leash dog beach, the park also boasts an additional beach, spectacular views from atop their wooded dunes, and fantastic cross-country skiing in winter months.

Kirk Park at a Glance

  • Small Playground Area
  • Several Hiking Trails
  • Picnic Tables
  • Grills
  • Covered Picnic Pavilion
  • Modern Bathrooms (closed during winter season)
  • Vending Machines
  • Beach Access to Lake Michigan
  • Off-Leash Dog Beach Area along Lake Michigan
  • Panoramic Scenic Overlooks
  • Marked Cross-Country Ski Trails with varying levels of difficulty

Tips for Your Family Trip to Kirk Park

Even though there is lots of shade throughout the park since it’s a forested dune, it’s full sun on the beach. Bring sunscreen.

There are NO lifeguards on duty at Kirk Park beach, so you may want to bring PDF’s along.

Most of the trails are through densely wooded terrain, so take mosquito and tick prevention measures.

Leave strollers and wagons at home; while some paths have spots of paving, there is only a single barrier-free trail in the entire park.

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Bring beach activities (shovels and pails, sports equipment, and binoculars are a few ideas) to keep kids entertained. The playground is very small and somewhat remote.

The hiking along the dune ridges involves many stairs (over 500!) and steep drop-offs, which may prove very challenging for some hikers.

Admission fees depend on the time of year you visit. There is a motor vehicle parking fee from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

County Residents: $5.00/daily; $15.00/annually
Non-County Residents: $7.00/daily, $25.00/annually
Seniors (60+): $10.00/annually (no discount on daily rates)

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3 thoughts on “Kirk Park Beach is for Dog Lovers …and People who like Dune Views and Wooded Trails”

  1. With Kruse Park and Kirk Park dog beaches closed in 2020, where can dogs swim in Lake MI near Grand Haven in September? Thanks

    1. Hi Teri, the dog beach is not fenced in, so if you have a pup who needs limits, leashes of any length are welcome.

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