This Michigan State Park has Sand Dunes, Hiking, Sports Park, Beach and More
As Michiganders, our big reward for long winters is beautiful summers. But with such short summers, sometimes the biggest challenge is deciding what to do and where to go.
Located right on Lake Michigan, Muskegon State Park is one of the best things to do in Muskegon and is a great place to visit in the summer – or any time of year.
With over 1,200 acres, there is something for everyone.
Read on to find out more about the park’s highlights including Muskegon Sports Complex, the beautiful beach, hiking trails and the historic blockhouse.
Muskegon State Park Overview
3560 Memorial Drive, North Muskegon, MI 49445
Muskegon State Park is located four miles west of North Muskegon on the shores of both Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake.
Spend your visit camping at one of the two campgrounds – or even in the yurt! – swimming or boating, hiking the six trails or just taking in the breathtaking views.
Families can participate in weekly nature-based nature programming Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Things to Do at Muskegon State Park
From sitting on the beach to hiking the trails, there is no shortage of things to do at Muskegon State Park.
1 – Muskegon Sports Complex
The real draw here is the Muskegon Sports Complex. It’s free to enter and spectate, but you must purchase tickets for the activities you want to do.
The Muskegon Sports Complex is open year round with a wide range of unique activities.
In the summer, visitors can zipline through the trees, learn how to shoot with a bow and arrow, climb the rock wall or soar down the wheeled luge track.
Winter is just as fun here, with luge, cross country skiing and ice skating through the woods.
With the special adaptations available, everyone of every ability can still participate in ALL of their activities.
Summer Activities at Muskegon Sports Complex
There are two main things to do at Muskegon Sports Complex in the summer. The ¼ mile zipline takes off from the top of the sand dune and provides incredible views of the forest and luge tracks.
The other big activity here is the wheeled luge track. This one-of-a-kind track uses the same winter sleds, but with in-line wheels attached to the bottom.
Muskegon Sports Complex is the trailhead for eight different trails within Muskegon State Park. Four of the trails are within the sports complex.
Most of these trails (not including Spencer’s Advanced Trail) have a packed gravel surface making them accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
Keep your hike adventurous by playing Trail Quest. It’s part escape room, part geocaching and all active.
Teams work together to work their way through checkpoints on a map. Solve riddles to unlock boxes to collect the points inside of the box.
Winter Activities at Muskegon Sports Complex
The winter activities at Muskegon Sports Complex are a great way to stay active in the long, cold winter months.
The main draw is the luge track. It’s one of only four luge tracks in the United States – and the only one made from natural ice.
Each 2.5 hour luge session includes a lesson on how to luge. You can even luge at night!
Ice skate through the woods on the 1/4 mile figure-eight loop or skate on the naturally frozen pond.
Equipment rentals, lessons and adaptive equipment are available.
You can also cross-country ski on 15 km of groomed and lighted trails (both classic and skate).
Snowshoeing trails are groomed and marked to guide to natural features and landmarks like the Block House. They are not lighted.
2 – The Beach Scene
There are three miles of shoreline at Muskegon State Park. Two miles are along Lake Michigan and the other is along Muskegon Lake.
The Lake Michigan beach area has one section designated for swimming. Dogs are not allowed in this area. They can, however, enjoy the beach in the non-swimming area as long as they remain on a 6 ft leash.
There is a beach house here which includes modern restrooms. Picnic tables are also available throughout the area.
Metal detecting is allowed along much of the shoreline. Check this map for information. Items found are subject to park inspection.
Muskegon State Park has one mile of beach along Muskegon Lake, including Snug Harbor.
With the boat launch in this area of the park, it’s a popular area for watersports.
Bring your kayaks and paddleboards – this is a great place to use them!
Muskegon Lake is great for fishing. There’s an accessible fishing pier plus the accessible navigation channel walkway has two fishing decks.
Clean your catches at the fish cleaning station in Snug Harbor.
Along with picnic tables and grills, Snug Harbor also has two picnic shelters. The Pine Shelter has electricity. Shelters can be reserved up to 12 months in advance.
There is also parking nearby.
3 – Hike the Trails
Muskegon State Park has twelve miles of hiking trails. The trails wind through all different kinds of landscapes including bogs and sand dunes.
The hiking trails are also used for cross-country skiing in winter. The five mile Muskegon Loop to Loop is a lighted trail.
Muskegon State Park has track chairs available first-come, first-reserved. These provide a great way for people in wheelchairs to explore the trails.
4 – Get Ice Cream at Ruth Ann’s
605 Scenic Drive, North Muskegon, MI 49445
Nothing says summer like ice cream!
Head to the north end of the park near the Lake Michigan campground to visit the iconic Ruth Ann’s.
They have everything from desserts, to snack foods, freeze dried candy and bags of ice.
Favorites here include the donut sundaes, flurries and fresh fruit smoothies.
Or try the ultimate espresso shake, made fresh and natural from the bean to the blender.
Visitors rave about the affordable prices, large portions and high quality. There’s also a small gift shop in the back.
Ruth Ann’s has plenty of outdoor seating options including adirondack chairs, picnic tables, and bistro tables and chairs.
For summer of 2023, Ruth Ann’s is open seven days a week from noon – 9:30 PM.
5 – Climb up in the historic blockhouse for 360 views
If you’re looking for amazing views, the blockhouse is the place to see them. You’ll have to hike up steep hills to get to the top, though.
This famous blockhouse is a historic replica of Fort Dearborn. It was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The current structure was built in 1962.
The blockhouse sits on the highest point of Muskegon County and allows for visitors to see in all directions.
Note that recent reviews note that there’s the possibility of trees blocking some of the view.
6 – Camping
Muskegon State Park has two campgrounds.
Muskegon Channel Campground is on the southern side of the park, near the Muskegon Channel. Lake Michigan Campground is on the northern side.
These are modern campgrounds and have both tent and RV campsites.
Amenities at both campgrounds are very similar. There are modern restrooms on-site as well as hot showers.
The campsites have 20-amp and either 30- or 50-amp electricity. There are sanitation stations and potable water located throughout the campground.
All sites have a fire ring and picnic table.
Lake Michigan Campground
The Lake Michigan Campground is open for year-round camping. (The Muskegon Channel is seasonal.) It’s on the northern end of the park, right by the sports park.
This campground has a scenic overlook of Lake Michigan. Campers can also walk down the (many!) stairs to the beach. This can be a quieter beach as it’s mostly only campers who use it.
The 20-foot-diameter yurt sleeps seven with two log bunk beds and stacking cots.
It also has a table, chairs, solar lantern and woodstove (firewood provided). You provide your own linens and cookware. A fire ring is outside.
7 – Nearby Attractions
Spend some extra time in the area surrounding Muskegon State Park and visit other nearby attractions.
Silversides Museum is right across the channel from the state park. This is a real World War II submarine that you can explore and learn about its history. You can even spend the night on board.
Pere Marquette Park is one mile west of Silversides. This park is an area favorite for its gorgeous beach, fun playground, cool lighthouse and The Deck restaurant.
Muskegon State Park is a great place to set up camp for a daytrip to Michigan’s Adventure. The campground is the perfect place to come back to after your day riding roller coasters and water slides. Best of all, it’s only 15 minutes away from the park!
Lodging Near Muskegon State Park
Snug Harbor Inn
3492 Memorial Drive, Muskegon, MI 49445
If camping isn’t your scene, rent a room at the Snug Harbor Inn located across the street from the Snug Harbor boat launch.
The Snug Harbor Inn is a family business. They have an organic herb and vegetable garden, free-range chicken eggs, and five acres of blueberry bushes — all available for guests.
They also provide kayaks, paddleboards, and surfboards.
All of the rooms have full kitchens, air conditioning and private bathrooms. Plus access to the community room, use of the eclectic board games collection, and use of their DVDs.
Rent a VRBO
This cute cottage is directly across from Pere Marquette Beach, nearby Muskegon State Park. The 2-story beach cottage has two bedrooms and one full bath.
A kitchen, two king beds, a kids’ loft, sliding doors overlooking the beach… this cozy cottage is perfect for a small families.
This vintage beach cottage is just across the street from the beach. But since it backs up to the woods, it’s also quiet, serene and private.
The cottage has two bedrooms, one full bathroom, air conditioning, Wifi and central heat.
Come in summer for the beach, and winter for nearby sledding, ice skating, cross country skiing, and winter hikes!
Charming 3 bedroom cottage located across the street from Muskegon Yacht Club and a short walking distance to Pier Marquette & Lake Michigan.
This 1000 sq ft cottage has one full bathroom and sleeps four people. It’s perfect for couples or a small family.
This recently renovated cottage has two bedrooms (sleeps six people) and one and half baths. It’s not on the water, but walking distance to both Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake.
Shared free bikes and kayaks also available for your use. There is also a separate carriage house with room for four more on the property if you need additional accommodations.
Find lodging near Muskegon State Park
Is Muskegon State Park free?
You need a state recreation pass to visit Muskegon State Park.
Is there a playground at Muskegon State Park?
Yes! There are playgrounds on the campgrounds and at Snug Harbor.
Can you swim at Muskegon State Park?
Yes, there is a beach designated for swimming. No lifeguards are on duty.
Are there fire rings or grills at the campsites?
Each site has a fire ring, but no grills.
Are dogs allowed at Muskegon State Park?
Yes, on a 6 ft leash. They are not allowed on the swimming beach.
How long are the hiking trails at Muskegon State Park?
There are six hiking trails at Muskegon State Park totaling twelve miles. The longest trail is a five mile loop.
What is the difficulty level of the hiking trails?
Most of the trails are easy and accessible.
Is Muskegon State Park accessible?
Yes, many areas of Muskegon State Park are accessible. There are also track chairs available to rent.
What time of year is Muskegon State Park open?
Muskegon State Park is open year round.
Did We Miss Anything?
Whether you’re there to camp, enjoy watersports or sunbathe, you will have a great day at Muskegon State Park!
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