Note: This article was written before the significant shoreline erosion of 2019/2020. Shore conditions have likely changed – follow all posted signage for safety.
A Shipwreck Family Adventure Not far From Grand Rapids
Over 100 years ago the cargo ship City of Boston went down off the shores of Lake Michigan. A terrible November snowstorm ran the ship into a sandbar in 1873 and the ship was lost… and left for people, generations later, to explore.
When the ship wrecked it broke into pieces. Today, it lies in about 200 feet offshore in eight-foot deep water.
Shifting sands make exploring the wreck a hit or miss proposition; some days and some YEARS it is covered by sands and invisible, other days you can snorkel out and even stand on part of the ship’s remnants.
Before You Swim, You Hike
From the parking lot at Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve you will hike a little over a mile – over hilly, wooded dunes (watch out for the poison ivy!) to Lake Michigan.
My husband carried our 4 year old on his shoulders the WHOLE WAY. What a great dad. Our 7 and 10-year-olds walked the trail with no problem.
Along the way you’ll find a lookout with information about the shipwreck and its history.
Right before you reach the sandy Lake Michigan Beach the hike descends steeply, following a set of stairs.
Pay attention to the platform near the bottom of these stairs- that platform points in the direction of the shipwreck. There are no other markers on the beach to indicate where in the water the shipwreck is at, so this is important information.
Before You Hike, You Pack
There are no toilets, water fountains, concessions or any other amenities out here. You’re on your own. Before you set off, make sure you have the following:
- cell phone
- PFD (life jacket, etc)
As I mentioned before, the ship is visible some days, but not on others. It completely depends on the shifting sands. Be prepared for either circumstance and plan to have a great beach day even if you can’t see the ship.
If you do get lucky and find the ship, be sure to treat it kindly. It is an archeological time capsule and is protected by state law. You’re not allowed to “disrupt” this shipwreck.
- Plan on a 2.5 hour drive from downtown Grand Rapids. It’s located just off of M-22 south of Frankfort, MI.
- Address: Green Point Rd, Frankfort, MI 49635
- Website for more info.
Enjoy, and let me know if you’re lucky enough to spot the ship!