Oval Beach





Sudden Fame

It’s almost as if the whole world discovered Oval Beach all at once. In the last few years alone, Saugatuck has been recognized as a top Midwestern vacation spot by an impressive list of publications, such as Chicago Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today and Budget Travel, to name a few. Part of its appeal is that, despite its nascent popularity, it still retains a pure, unspoiled feel, devoid of rowdy vibes often found at other summer vacation destinations.

A Midwest Gem

Oval Beach sits just beyond a large patch of grassy sand dunes and hilly forests. Daring souls can reach the beach by way of a somewhat strenuous park trail, though there’s plenty of paid parking if you’re coming by car instead. Once you reach the beach, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. The water on the shore is clear and the lake stretches out for as far as you can see. Who says the best beaches are near the ocean?

For a day of recreation, rent paddle boards, jet skis or pontoon boats, or just go for a swim in the refreshingly cool lake water. Set up a picnic on the soft sand, or head to the concession stand for a bite to eat. Consider making a trip just a ways north to Saugatuck Dunes State Park, which boasts 14 miles of hiking trails, dunes and its own quiet, secluded beachfront and picnic area.

Across the Kalamazoo River

When dinnertime rolls around, head to the village-like downtown area, filled with historic homes, local restaurants, bakeries, cafes and bohemian art galleries. Make the trek to town more adventurous and catch the chain ferry across the Kalamazoo River, where you’ll disembark near scenic Water Street.

Oval Beach at a Glance


Country or State:Michigan

Access:By car, by ferry, on foot

Best time to visit:Summer - best weather

High Season:June to August

Low Season:September to August


  • Many shops, eateries, and restaurants in downtown Saugatuck
  • Bikes, water sports equipment for rental
  • Public restrooms

Beach Type:

  • Light brown sand
  • Freshwater

Special Events:

  • Saugatuck Venetian Festival