Lake Michigan Beaches: Duck Lake State Park

Skim Boarding at Duck Lake State Park

Located about thirty minutes north of downtown Muskegon, Michigan is Duck Lake State Park. Considered a day use park (as in, hiking, skiing, fishing, picnicking, but no camping), Duck Lake State Park is spread out over 728-acres and encompasses the northern shores of Duck Lake, over a sand dune, and down to meet the shores of Lake Michigan.

Duck Lake 2w

Somewhat of a hidden gem-tourist destination, Duck Lake State Park is a favorite spot among West Michigan families. Popular in large part due to the shallow, sandy tributary connecting Duck Lake to Lake Michigan, the park is ideal for families of all ages and generations.

Duck Lake 3w

Where to Stay

Find family-friendly accommodations in Muskegon, Michigan from traditional hotels to private vacation rentals through

Visitors to the park during peak summer months may experience parking challenges, but with a little bit of patience (or a bit of a walk), beach bums will find ample space for picnicking, wake boarding, body surfing, and sand castling. Patrons looking to spread their blankets closer to Lake Michigan can wade down the tributary (kids love this) or take the boardwalk/paved path that leads under North Scenic Drive.

Duck Lake 5w

Recommending minnow nets, sand buckets, and kites on windy days, families should note the colored flag system when venturing out into Lake Michigan (green flag=okay to swim, yellow flag=swim with caution, red flag=swimming not allowed). Swimmers should also note the immediate and steep drop-off into Duck Lake on the opposite end.

Duck Lake 1w

For families looking to extend their stay, consider making advanced campground reservations at Muskegon State Park, just nine miles (or 20 minutes) to the south (take North Scenic Drive and stop for ice cream along the way). And, for the ultimate area beach experience, make sure to walk the pier in Grand Haven at sunset, staying for a nightly performance of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain before you call it a perfect day.

P.S. We also love Tunnel Park in Holland. Read about that beach here:

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at