Silver Lake Family Vacation
Are you looking for a little adventure? Or perhaps simply a relaxing day spent in the sun with the sand at your feet? Or a little of both? If so, Silver Lake would make a perfect road trip for you and your family!
Located just south of Ludington, Silver Lake is only a 90 minute drive from the Grand Rapids area. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are nestled right in between Lake Michigan and Silver Lake. With over 2,000 acres of dunes, they are definitely the main attraction of the area!
However, there is even so much more to see and do besides a visit to the dunes that my husband and I packed up and took our three preschool-aged boys for a short camping trip at Silver Lake.
While you can certainly make it into a day trip, we decided to stay several nights due to the age of our boys and the amount of things we had hoped to see and do in the area.
There are plenty of lodging options including hotels, adorable cabins and cottages for rent, and campgrounds.
We chose to stay at the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort due to the many pre-planned and scheduled activities that are included in the stay. The pool and kiddie pool were also a nice bonus. Our boys were never bored between all of the crafts, games, wagon rides, and movies that were available everyday.
The boys also loved the fact that it was conveniently located right next to Craig’s Cruisers.
One of our first stops was a trip to the dunes. There are many different ways to view the dunes. You can choose to test out your own off-road driving skills in the dunes either with your own 4-wheel drive vehicle or you can rent a Jeep or dune buggy.
If you don’t want to drive you can also choose to take a Mac Wood’s Dune Ride like we did. Mac offers a 40 minute, seven mile trip through the dunes that makes frequent stops for pictures and even gives you a chance to get out and explore the beach along Lake Michigan.
While it may sound like a slow pace, the ride is quite an adventure. My husband and I enjoyed ourselves, while our 4- and 2-year-olds were a little frightened as we went flying over some of the steep hills. Our six-month-old slept through most of the ride!
Despite their apprehensions, the oldest two both said that they enjoyed it. If you do have an infant I would strongly recommend that you come prepared with a baby carrier and a hat or blanket to keep the wind out of their face. We fortunately planned ahead and were very grateful that we did.
There is also pedestrian access to the dunes through the State Park. You begin your trek into the dunes by climbing several flights of stairs and then you have a fairly steep climb in the sand before reaching the “top” of the dunes.
You could literally walk for hours through the dunes while watching the off-road vehicles and enjoying the spectacular views of Silver Lake. Our boys absolutely loved watching all of the vehicles racing through the sand!
The pictures hardly do justice to the vastness of the dunes: it is truly something you need to see for yourself!
Not too far from the dunes you will find Little Sable Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse opened to the public back in 2006 and now allows you to climb to the top. Standing at 115 feet up, the views are quite spectacular!
Last time we made the climb I was six months pregnant with our first and this time I was really hoping to take our entire family all the way up, but unfortunately we were unable to do so.
You must be at least three feet tall to go up and for safety reasons you are not allowed to carry anyone. For us meant that our youngest two couldn’t go. I stayed back while my husband went up with our 4-year-old. They made it all the way up the steps to through the port holes, capture some pictures, and then made their way back down.
We also enjoyed some of the local shops. They have wonderful and unique specialty stores, restaurants and bakeries as well as candy, fudge and ice cream shops. We picked up some cinnamon rolls from Golden Baker & Pizza that were absolutely amazing!
Another highlight of our trip was a stop that we made on our way home at the Lewis Farm Market & Petting Zoo in New Era, which is a few miles south of Shelby on US-31. They have everything from pedal carts to delicious homemade baked goods in addition to plenty of furry friends to pet.
My boys particularly enjoyed the jumping pillows, duck races, pedal carts, barrel train, and of course, some Hudsonville Ice Cream! In the petting zoo there are donkeys, goats, deer, alpacas, miniature horses, a camel, and a peacock just to name a few. We plan to return in the fall when they have their corn mazes, pumpkin patch, and apple picking open.
Our four-year-old is already asking how long he has to wait until he can go back!
In addition to what we did during our stay there are also opportunities for boating (you can rent pontoons, canoes and kayaks), fishing, biking the trails, enjoying a round of golf on one of their scenic courses, and much more.
To say that Silver Lake has a lot to offer is an understatement! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and intend to return; the only question now is, “when”?