Warren Dunes State Park | Michigan Trip Report

For fourth of July weekend, we took a mini vacation 4.5 hours north to a small town called St. Joseph. We have bookmarked this place for a few years and finally found our opportunity to explore during the long holiday weekend. My parents and brother came with us for the mini getaway. We only stayed 2 nights in St. Joseph and because we booked so last minute, we decided to just go with a hotel since all the vrbo’s for fourth of July were booked about a year in advance. Our first day we spent exploring St. Joseph and I’ll have a trip recap of St. Joseph later. First though, I wanted to start by recaping our day trip to Warren Dunes State Park, only a 15 minute drive south from St. Joseph.

For a day pass into the park, it is $9 and it is cash only (and that price is by car load so load up!). When you pull into the main parking lot for the beach, you are greeted with a large sand dune that over looks the beach. We started by climbing the dune to the top. It’s a 260 ft climb above the lake but it wasn’t too bad. Payten did so well climbing it, just took her longer than her brother (she’s 3).

Tip: arrive in the morning if you want to climb the dunes, after noon, the sand gets pretty hot on your feet.

The views at the top though. And there is shade at the top. We explored, rested and took it all in. It was just absolutely gorgeous.

After the dune climb, we went over to the beach for a little. Below is a picture of a little girl already so worn out. The beach at Warren Dunes stretches 3 miles but the beach right in front of the parking lots was the most crowded, probably because travelers didn’t want to walk with all their stuff too far. Even though it was crowded, we still found a good spot in the sand and enjoyed the water.

One thing I was a little curious about was the temperature of the water. Prior to leaving, I looked up the forecast and it was going to be 78 F all weekend which sounded amazing. The water both days was chilly but once you got in, it felt so good and refreshing. You weren’t shivering or anything once you were in. Payten was very tired after the hike up the sand dunes so this beach time was spent by her playing in the sand. Liam did brave it and go out with dad as far as dad could touch.

We were only at Warren Dunes State Park for about 3 hours but it wore the kids out completely. Andy and I both agreed that our next time here will be to camp and to check out some of the 6 miles of hiking the park has to offer.

Any one else been to Warren Dunes State Park? Any recommendations or tips for next time?


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