The Escanaba Municipal Beach is located at Ludington Park on Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc. The beach’s proximity to attractions like the Sand Point Lighthouse and the Delta County Historical Museum makes it a great choice for visitors to Escanaba.
Escanaba Municipal Beach is located on a small island connected to the mainland by a road and a bike path. The beach features a bath house with changing rooms, showers and bathrooms. There is playground and a picnic area, and just down the road is a boat launch and handicapped accessible fishing pier.
Escanaba Municipal Beach is open from June to mid-August, with Red Cross Certified Lifeguards watching over the water from noon to evening each day.
Loren W Jenkins Memorial Dr
Escanaba, MI 49829
Another Escanaba beach option is the sand beach at Portage Point Marsh. The beach is located on Portage Point, a narrow strip of land that extends two miles into Lake Michigan. Although there are no facilities, the beach is roomy, has a parking area, a launch area for canoes and other small boats and allows leashed pets.
A raised dike serves as a footpath and visitors can walk through the marshy area and try to catch a glimpse of the wildlife found in the area, such as terns, wading birds, small mammals, frogs and turtles.
The beach is located at the west end of Portage Point Drive.
For 70 years the lantern of the Sand Point Lighthouse guided ships in and out of the Escanaba Port, and for another 40 years it served as a residence for the Coast Guard. Today visitors can tour the lighthouse, which has been restored to its original appearance.
During the 19th century the railroad carried lumber and iron ore unearthed in the Upper Peninsula’s mines to the Lake Michigan port at Escanaba, from where it was shipped to destinations throughout the Great Lakes Region. The railroad was completed in 1864, and in 1868 the Sand Point Lighthouse opened to alert the ships traveling in and out of the busy port to a dangerous spit of land jutting out into the bay.
The first lighthouse keeper was a woman, Mary Terry, who kept the job until her mysterious death in a fire in 1886. In total, nine light keepers lived in the lighthouse until it was deactivated in 1939.
Today visitors can tour the restored rooms where the light keepers and their families once lived then climb up to the lantern to enjoy beautiful views of the bay.
The Sand Point Lighthouse is located in Ludington Park, near the Municipal Beach and the Delta County Historical Museum, and is open to visitors between Memorial Day and October 1st.
Sand Point Lighthouse
16 Beaumier Way
Escanaba, MI 49829
Come down to Heritage Landing to rock out at Muskegon’s RockStock Festival. The festival runs Friday and Saturday nights on the weekend before the 4th of July, and the gates open at 5:00 PM each day. The festival closes out on Saturday night with a spectacular fireworks show. The lineup includes local and regional bands performing rock and pop music – check out the website for lineup details.
Together with the Lakeshore Art Festival, the Muskegon RockStock Festival is part of Muskegon’s 4th of July Celebration. Spend the day browsing through the artwork and crafts of the Art Festival, then head over to RockStock in the evening. The festival was launched in 2008 to promote local musical talent, but also strives to provide locally sourced food and drinks at reasonable prices. Festival organizers aim to create an affordable, family-friendly event.
Tickets are just $10 per day and can be purchased in advance at startickets.com or the Frauenthal Theater, or can be purchased at the gate on the day of the event. Members of the military and veterans are free. Kids aged 12 and under are free and must be accompanied by an adult.
For two days national and local artists will head to Michigan City to croon the blues to the audience gathered at the lakefront Guy Foreman Amphitheater for the Ship and Shore Blues Festival. The first singer takes the stage at noon and the last act of the day goes on at 10:00 PM.
Not only is there great blues, but festival-goers can express their creativity with Wine & Canvas, or Cookies & Canvas for the kids. Local artists provide step-by-step instructions to help participants create a painting while sipping wine or cocktails.
Even those who have never ridden a motorcycle can experience a Harley Davidson – on a stationary stand under the supervision of a pro. Fire up the engine and switch through the gears for a taste of the Harley experience.
Kids can hang out in the Kids Quest area for arts and crafts, face painting and other activities, or play video games in the climate controlled Game Truck.
Tickets are available online at the festival website or at the gate the day of the festival.
In early July the streets of Muskegon are taken over by the sculptures and lithographs of the Lakeshore Art Festival. The festival takes place in downtown Muskegon, with fine arts displayed in Hackley Park and crafts and food vendors selling their wares on the streets surrounding Muskegon’s historic Frauenthal Theater. Street performers are on hand to juggle, play music, and otherwise entertain the festival-goers winding through the different works of art on display.
There’s a ton of activities for the kiddos at the Children’s Lane, including circus arts lessons, a petting zoo, puppet shows, an interactive photo booth, crafts, building projects and more.
Everyone can get in on the artsy action through the Community Canvas Project. Large canvases are available to anyone who wants to paint on them, free of charge. At the end of the day they’ll be cut into smaller sections, stretched on frames and sold.
Each August Ludington plays host to the Western Michigan Fair at the Mason County Fairgrounds. For five days area residents and visitors enjoy the charms of a small town fair complete with ferris wheel, cows and a hay bale toss contest.
The fair features a midway with carnival rides for all ages, games and snacks. Events throughout the week include a garden tractor pull, hay bale toss contest, rodeo and demolition derby, and the last day of the fair dawns with a 5K run.
The 4-H animal displays are family favorites each year, showing off the chickens, goats, rabbits, cows and sheep raised by area children who proudly brought them to the fair with the hope of winning a ribbon. Please see the event website for the schedule for these events, bands and more.
Western Michigan Fair
Mason County Fairgrounds
5302 W. US-10
Ludington, MI 49431
The day I visited West Beach was overcast, but the moody atmosphere didn’t detract from the park’s appeal. The short road I took from the parking lot to the beach wound through picturesque sand dunes before arriving at the bathhouse, and visitors can explore them on one of the park’s hiking trails. There are more than three miles of trails and hikers can opt for majestic views of Lake Michigan from the top of a forested dune, a less strenuous stroll through an oak savanna or bird watching along Long Lake.
West Beach stretches along the Lake Michigan shore, and was named one of the ten top beaches for families by Parents’ Magazine. There’s a wheelchair accessible ramp down to the sand and during the busy summer months there’s a lifeguard on duty. My kids and I like to skip stones – my son holds the family record with 8 skips -so I gleefully collected an abundance of flat, smooth, perfect skipping stones from the beach and flung them into the water.
Beachgoers can take advantage of the showers and lockers in the bathhouse, which opens for the season during Memorial Day Weekend, as well as a concession stand during the season. The restrooms by the parking lot are open year round.