Oceana County’s Outstanding Trails and Parks
Imagine the beauty of lush green parks, tranquil trails, the thrill of biking, and the awe-inspiring spectacle of sand dunes – all within a short distance of each other. That’s the alluring charm of Oceana County, Michigan. While the Silver Lake Sand Dunes often steal the spotlight, there’s an entire world of outdoor adventure awaiting you here, from hiking to picnicking, and fishing to mountain biking.
Parks and Trails Galore: Biking and Hiking
Gales Pond County Park & Doolittle County Park
A visit to Oceana County isn’t complete without exploring some of our fantastic local parks. Gales Pond County Park & Doolittle County Park are two such gems. Gales Pond County Park, surrounded by a mix of woods and open space, is a perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely walk. However, the park’s true highlight is its scenic hiking trail. As you wander the path, you’ll be treated to the enchanting view of Gales Pond and even a small waterfall. Adjacent to Gales Pond, Doolittle County Park features a lovely wooded hiking trail, perfect for those seeking a tranquil escape from the city’s bustle. The outdoor pavilion at Doolittle is an excellent spot for gatherings or simply enjoying a quiet moment in the great outdoors.
Otto Nature Preserve
Among Oceana County’s hidden gems is the Otto Nature Preserve. Managed by the Oceana Conservation District, this tranquil 80-acre haven in Benona Township is perfect for those seeking a serene nature experience. A 1.7-mile loop trail winds its way through the preserve, offering an easy yet rewarding hike. With an average completion time of 37 minutes, it’s perfect for birding, hiking, and walking. The trail is seldom crowded, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.
John Gurney Park
For fishing enthusiasts and families alike, the delightful John Gurney Park, nestled near downtown Hart, is a must-visit. This vibrant park, equipped with a boat access to Hart Lake, which offers the perfect opportunity to reel in bass, bluegill, and pike. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The park also boasts an impressive playground for the little ones to enjoy, as well as spacious picnic areas perfect for a family lunch. And when you’re ready for a break from the park, the charming downtown Hart area is just a short walk away, brimming with local shops and eateries for you to explore.
William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail State Park
For those looking for a longer hike or biking trek, the William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail State Park is a 22-mile linear park featuring a paved trail that meanders through rural, forested lands. Ideal for a day of cycling, walking, or rollerblading. And the best part? If you’re a dog owner, this trail is pet-friendly!
The Pentwater Pathways Trail can be enjoyed year-round. It is great for hiking and mountain biking in spring, summer, and fall and cross-country skiing in the winter. The trail is located in the Pere Marquette State Forest just south of Pentwater Lake. The Pathways trail system includes four loops totaling 15 miles, with beginner to advanced trails. The marked trails cover mostly soft rolling hills, are heavily wooded, and offer abundant wildlife.
The Famous Silver Lake Sand Dunes
We can’t forget about one of the area’s largest attractions: the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. These majestic dunes, stretching along the lakeshore, present an unrivaled setting for those who love to hike and walk. As you traverse these towering dunes, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Silver Lake and Lake Michigan. Whether it’s a challenging uphill climb or a peaceful walk amidst the shifting sands, the dunes offer an experience that is truly unique. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring a hat and plenty of water, as the sun can be intense.
After a day of outdoor fun, make sure to indulge in some of our local businesses. For a hearty meal, head over to Golden Sands Bucket Bar, where you can savor delicious food whilst enjoying the view of the golf course. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, a visit to Woodland Farm Market and Bakery is a must. Known for their award winning pies and other fresh baked goods, it’s the perfect way to conclude your day.
Visit Oceana County Parks
Oceana County truly offers something for everyone. We invite you to explore all it has to offer. Come for the dunes, but stay for the delightful parks, trails, and local charm. We’re confident you’ll fall in love with our corner of Michigan just as we have.