Van Buren State Park
Address: 23960 Ruggles Road, South Haven MI 49090
Time from Chicago: 2 hours, 10 minutes (119 miles)
Camping at Van Buren State Park
Indiana Dunes State Park isn’t the only Lake Michigan-area campground with natural sand dunes. Check out the 400-acre Van Buren State Park in South Haven, Michigan. The park features a mile of sandy beaches and dunes in addition to 220 camping sites, which run in the $21-23 price range. Sites have electrical hookups, and there are two modern restroom buildings in the campground.
The sites are located 400 yards from Lake Michigan, so you’ll have to hike over to hit the beach. You can run down the sandy dunes on your way. The beach is a popular swimming spot for locals and visitors. And nearby is the 14-mile-long Van Buren Trail for hikers.
The campground features two modern restroom and shower buildings and play area for kids. If you’re really gung ho about securing a spot, you can make reservations up to six months in advance.
Pets are permitted, so bring Fido along, but keep him off the beach. Pets are not allowed on the beach within the borders of the park – that’s a Michigan state law.
Van Buren State Park (not to be confused with a similarly-titled park in Ohio) became a state park in 1965.