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Your guide to Silver Lake
All About Silver Lake
The waterfront town of Silver Lake is set on the east side of Lake Michigan, about 90 minutes northwest of Grand Rapids. The 3,000-acre Silver Lake State Park covers most of the Silver Lake community, with steep dunes naturally formed nearly two million years ago. One of the town’s oldest monuments, the Little Point Sable Lighthouse, also sits on the state park’s shores and has served as a safety landmark for ships since the late 1800s. You can take the 130 stairs up the red-brick lighthouse for sweeping views of Silver Lake’s dunes and the deep blue waters of Lake Michigan.
Away from the coast, green spaces like the Otto Nature Preserve offer miles of trails set amid pine forests and untamed green ferns. The preserve’s main loop trail is home to local plant species including purple coneflowers and wild ginger. Much of local life in Silver Lake is based around farming, which you can see firsthand on the town’s walking trails or a guided farm tour. Sprawling orchards passed down through generations of families produce apples, plums, and berries, helping make Michigan one of the leading fruit producers in the United States.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Silver Lake
Silver Lake has mild, warm summers and cold winters. The summer season is the height of county fairs in the area, and Silver Lake’s Oceana County Fair is held every summer in July or August. The five-day event features live music, food stalls, and amusement park rides. Fall weather starts to get chilly, with colorful foliage taking on red and orange shades, best seen on the red pine and aspen trees at the 540,000-acre Huron-Manistee National Forest.
Spring is typically cool and pleasant, and rows of scented, purple lavender at the Lavender Labyrinth start to bloom this time of year. The three-acre grounds’ unique landscape design displays lavender plants in long, vertical rows that create purple circles around the central garden. Although winters can be very cold, the Big and Little Sable Point Lighthouses take on a magical feel this time of year. You can see icicles dangling from these historic lighthouses surrounded by fluffy sand on a sunny day or covered in a light blanket of snow during the late winter months.
Top things to do in Silver Lake
The Golden Township Park at Lake Michigan
The Silver Creek Stream and Lake Michigan come together at the Golden Township Park Beach, a small area covered with fluffy sand and home to beautiful fauna, such as the majestic monarch butterfly, and swim-friendly waters. This beach is less-visited than the Silver Lake State Park, making it a tranquil place to set up an evening picnic on the sand while watching a colorful sunset fade over Lake Michigan.
West Michigan Pike
The West Michigan Pike is a scenic drive following the coast of Lake Michigan. You can start the 184-mile drive from Silver Lake and head south along the I-94 highway, passing by lakeside towns, historic windmills, and lighthouses along the way. One of the most unique stops on the West Michigan Pike route is the town of Holland, home to the only working Dutch windmill in the United States, named De Zwaan, surrounded by a sprawling tulip garden.
Hart-Montague Bike Trail
To the east of Silver Lake, the former Oceana County railroad built in the 1860s has been converted into the 22-mile, multi-use Hart-Montague Bike Trail. You can start the path in Hart, just 10 minutes east of Silver Lake, and head south toward the town of Montague. Lush, green trees surrounding the trail create a natural tunnel as you ride by orchid fields and spacious farmlands.