Beach/Lakeshore Parks Update

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May 20, 2020

Beach/Lakeshore Parks Update

2020 has been a year like none other. Between COVID and record-high water levels, your visit to the beach will be different than in years past. In the following email we have included information about:

  • Vehicle permits
  • Parking
  • Restrooms
  • Dogs
  • Beach etiquette

If you're planning a visit to an Ottawa County Parks & Recreation beach this summer, please review this email in full. 

still image from video

Lake Michigan Beach Park - Video Update

If you haven't visited Lake Michigan in a while, our latest video update will give you an idea of the size of the beaches and how we are managing the continuously rising water levels. 

Watch on Youtube

Watch on Facebook (with captions)

Vehicle Permits

A motor vehicle permit (daily or annual) is required Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day at:

  • North Beach Park
  • Olive Shores
  • Kirk Park
  • Rosy Mound Natural Area
  • Tunnel Park
  • Riverside Park boat launch

Without one, you will be ticketed. Learn more about pricing and where you can purchase your pass hereMichigan State Parks Recreation Passport is not valid at Ottawa County Parks properties. 


Parking will be deliberately limited at all lakeshore parks due to smaller-than-usual beaches. You will be ticketed/cited for parking in an area that is not a designated parking spot or in any area marked No Parking. This includes roadside and parallel parking.  You may see "open" spots that have been blocked off, this was done intentionally to not overcrowd the beaches. Limited parking is temporary.


Barring any issues with water testing via the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, restrooms will be open for Memorial Day weekend. 


At this time, dogs are not allowed at lakeshore parks. The Kirk Park Dog Beach is currently closed. We will send an announcement when we are able to re-open it. When it re-opens, please note there will be limited dog beach hours to accommodate all park visitors, due to the small beach. 

Beach Etiquette

Beaches are smaller this year than they have been in the last two decades. Prepare yourself for less room on the beach to spread out. With COVID being a concern in our community, smaller beaches have the potential to become more problematic. In addition to normal beach etiquette (e.g. no smoking, no loud music, no kicking or throwing sand at other beach goers), we have put together a list of things to keep in mind while visiting the beach:

  • Please keep six feet from other park users
  • Park staff cannot enforce social distancing - for serious complaints, you may contact:
  • Stay on park property (you can walk along the lakeshore, but be sure to set up your towel on park property, not the neighbor's property - there are signs marking the end of park property on the beach)
  • Keep off the dune, do not make new trails or spots to lay your towel in the dune grass
  • Do not dig in to the sand cliff, falling sand can be extremely dangerous

Peak beach times are 11 am-1 pm every day, but especially on the weekends. To avoid the park during busier times, consider an early morning visit or an evening visit. 

We know that this has been a time of heightened anxiety and frustration. Please be kind to each other and to parks staff during your visit.