Muskegon State Park sign

Muskegon State Park: A hidden gem on Michigan’s west coast

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Nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in the heart of Muskegon County, Muskegon State Park is a 1,233-acre haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking and camping to swimming and fishing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this scenic destination.

It has two miles of sandy beaches, rolling dunes, and diverse ecosystems of forests, wetlands, and meadows. Muskegon State Park offers something for everyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the great outdoors.

Signage at the beginning of Muskegon State Park

About Muskegon State Park

Muskegon State Park is approximately four miles west of North Muskegon on the shore of Lake Michigan. There are over two miles of shoreline on Lake Michigan and over a mile on Muskegon Lake. 

Muskegon State Park was established in 1923. The City of Muskegon gave the Conservation Department a gift of land to help begin the park. The Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas, state boat launches, state forest campgrounds, and state trail parking lots.

One of the park’s popular features is the blockhouse, built in the 1930s to allow visitors to see in all directions. It sits on the highest point in Muskegon County.

Sign talking about the history of Muskegon State Park

Campgrounds in Muskegon State Park

Muskegon State Park has three campgrounds, 2 with RV and tent sites and the remaining with tent sites only. There is also a Yurt and cabins available to rent as well. 

Muskegon Channel and Muskegon Lake Michigan Campground have electric hookups, but neither have water or sewer hookups. They do have toilets, a store, and dump areas. Both are dog friendly as well.

Muskegon Channel Campground – The campground has two loops near the navigation channel walkway. The first loop is adjacent to the navigation channel, and the second loop is located near the large dune and Muskegon Lake. The second loop features larger sites.

Muskegon Lake Michigan Campground – The modern campground has two loops, and is open year-round for camping. It’s on the other side of a large dune from Lake Michigan, and there is a stairway to access Lake Michigan. Most of the sites are wooded.

Muskegon Group Use Campground – This rustic group campground is open to civic organizations and is located halfway between the park’s two modern campgrounds on Scenic Drive. These sites can accommodate groups of up to 130 people. They have a picnic table, fire pit, and easy access to potable water. 

If you’re tent camping and planning on cooking your food, you’ll love this charcoal grilling guide and this post on cheap cuts of meat for grilling so you can splurge elsewhere. 

You’ll love these delicious griddle recipes if you’re camping in your RV and have a flat-top griddle. 

If you love camping by the water, you might enjoy Guist Creek Marina & Campground, Camping Near Antelope Canyon, Camping Sites Near Acadia National Park and Anchor Down RV Resort

Things to do at Muskegon State Park

There’s a little bit of everything to do at Muskegon State Park, year-round too. Whether you want to hike, swim, boat, fish in the warm weather or ski and ice fish in the winter; you’ll love what the park offers.

Muskegon State Park Trail Entrance

Trails

Muskegon State Park boasts a network of hiking trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging treks. In the winter, there are cross-country ski trails as well.

  • Muskegon-Devil’s Kitchen — 1 mile
  • Muskegon-Lost Lake — 0.75 mile
  • Muskegon-Loop to Loop — 5 mile
  • Muskegon-Scenic Ridge — 1.5 mile
  • Muskegon-Hearty Hiker — 1.75 mile
  • Muskegon – Dune Ridge — 1.75 mile

“We spent a couple of weeks in Muskegon in June 2022 and fell in love with the area! Muskegon Lakeshore Trail is a beautiful 12-mile lakeside bike trail that ends at Pere Marquette Park which is home to The Deck a fun, quirky restaurant and bar that sits right on the beach and has live music and great food. We also enjoyed a sunset boat tour on the Aquastar, toured the USS Silversides, a WWII submarine credited with the most prolific combat record of any still-extant American submarine, and spent several gorgeous days hiking and picnicking in Muskegon State Park and Ludington State Park. Other don’t-miss places include Dunneback and Girls Farm Market and an evening in Grand Haven having dinner and watching the sunset over the water.”

– Rebecca Blackwell, A Little and a Lot 

Boating & Fishing

At Snug Harbor you’ll find a boat launch where trailered boats of all sizes can be launched. You’ll find an additional boat ramp at the channel where small boats can be launched.

Fancy fishing without a boat? There is a fishing pier along the Channel Walkway and at Snug Harbor.

Beach & Swimming

Want to take a relaxing stroll along Lake Michigan at sunset? You’ll find two parking lots along the beach and restrooms where you can park and take a short walk to the lake.

One beach is designated for swimming while the other is not. You may bring your furry four-legged friends to the non-swimming beach; just clean up after them.

beach at Muskegon State Park

Things to do near Muskegon State Park

There are several attractions near Muskegon State Park that visitors can explore during their stay.

  1. Muskegon Luge & Sports Complex — Located just a few miles from the park, this complex offers year-round outdoor activities, including luge, ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
  2. Michigan’s Adventure — This amusement park is just 15 minutes south of the park and offers over 60 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water rides and a petting zoo.
  3. White River Light Station Museum — This historic lighthouse and museum is located just 10 miles north of the park and offers tours, exhibits, and a gift shop.
  4. USS LST 393 Veterans Museum — This World War II-era ship is docked in downtown Muskegon and offers tours and exhibits about the ship’s history and the role of LSTs in the war.
  5. Hackley and Hume Historic Site — This restored Victorian mansion and museum is in downtown Muskegon. It offers tours and exhibits about the history of the Hackley and Hume families and their impact on the community.
  6. Muskegon Farmer’s Market — The farmer’s market is located in downtown Muskegon and offers fresh produce, crafts, food trucks, plants and live music every Saturday during summer.
  7. Ruth Ann’s Ice Cream — located just steps from one of the campgrounds at Muskegon State Park, you’ll find delicious homemade ice cream. In addition to ice cream, they have food, flurries, iced coffee and pup cups.
  8. Michigan Wineries — there are so many wineries and vineyards along the coast of Mighican, many less than an hour away!
beach at Lake Michigan at the state park

“I live in Manistee, MI which is 75 minutes north of Muskegon. Our family has season passes to Michigan’s Adventure which is north of Muskegon. We will spend a whole day at Michigan’s Adventure water park and take a stroll through the amusement park. In Manistee, we enjoy kayaking through the many rivers in our area. Other popular past times are beach glass hunting, long beach days, and watching the sun set along Lake Michigan. If you are a teenager, the popular thing to do is beach hammocking.”

— Chef Sherry Ronning, From Michigan to the Table

Make the most of your time in Muskegon State Park, by coming in early to mid-May. The weather is lovely, in the mid-70s. You can even take a day trip down to Holland for the Tulip Festival or visit some of the fantastic Michigan wineries only a short distance away. 

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life

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