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Recreation has long been one of Allegan County strong suits, with the Lake Michigan shoreline area and the Allegan State Game Area being two of the County's major drawing cards. Other forms of recreation abound, however, with several inland lakes suitable for boating and fishing, downhill ski areas, miles of hiking, bicycling, cross-country ski, equestrian, and snowmobile trails, campgrounds, nature preserves, and historic sites to explore.

Lake Michigan Sand Dune, photo by Valdis KalninsLake Michigan

By far, one of the two most popular recreation areas in the County is the Lake Michigan shoreline area. Excellent and, in some cases, world-known sandy beaches exist within and just outside of Allegan County. In the County itself are the famous Oval Beach of Saugatuck and the miles of unspoiled sandy beaches and dunes at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Other beaches at West Side County Park, Pier Cove Park, Laketown Township park and others are also major draws. Just outside of the County's boundaries are the popular beaches at Holland State Park and Tunnel Park near Holland and those in South Haven and at Van Buren State Park just south of South Haven. Within an hours drive are countless other beautiful sandy beaches, ranging from popular to secluded.

Many tourists visiting Michigan for the first time are astonished at not only how expansive the Great Lakes really are (you cannot see across them!), but also how wonderful the sandy beaches are, even compared with their more famous counterparts along the ocean coasts elsewhere in the country! Indeed, from the freshwater to the smooth, white sand, Lake Michigan's beaches will spoil you and keep you wanting to come back for more!

Beyond the swimming, boating, sunbathing and other beach-type activities, the "beach towns" in the Allegan County area feature additional recreational activities. Saguatuck, Douglas and South Haven welcome tourists from all over and many people have found living there to be an excellent choice as well.

Allegan State Game Area (ASGA)

The Allegan State Game Area is 50,000 acres of family fun! Pitch your tent beside a cold-running stream or deep-woods pond and relish in the tranquility that surrounds you or camp in the two campgrounds connecting with over 20 miles of hiking trails. Bird watchers can enjoy the spring and fall migrations of waterfowl, warblers and many other species. Perhaps the most dramatic wildlife viewing opportunity at Allegan is the mass concentration of Canada geese that assembles here in the fall. More than 100,000 geese will pass through the area and as many as 40,000 may be seen at one time.

Allegan County Equestrian Trail SystemThe Allegan County Equestrian Trail System (ETS), a 60-mile network of designated trails that allows equestrians to ride horses through the State Game Area on designated trails, is a popular feature. The ETS consists of two separate trail networks. The largest trail network, consisting of almost 30 miles of trails, is connected to the popular Silver Creek Equestrian Park and Campground. Silver Creek County Park has both day riding and overnight camping opportunities. The other trail network connects Ely Lake and Pine Point campgrounds and is approximately 29 miles in length.

Other recreational activities in the Allegan State Game Area include hiking, cross-country skiing, boating, fishing, hunting, and mountain biking.


The Allegan County area is home to so much more in terms of recreation activities, from the two downhill ski areas to the boating, fishing and camping mecca of Gun Lake and a wide assortment of other outdoor and recreational pursuits. A system of seven County Parks located throughout the County and most of the cities, villages and townships maintain local parks and recreation areas as well. The Allegan County Tourist Council in conjunction with local chambers of commerce and other organizations do an excellent job of directing visitors and local residents alike to the endless options for fun in the area.