Right on the side of U.S. 2 is a little beach that’s often overlooked, but well worth a stop if you’re in the area. Park on the shoulder of the highway and enjoy a little respite and piece of paradise that’s far from your normal beach excursion experience. All you have to do is grab your beach gear and walk a few steps down from the road to find, over the grassy shoulder, thick sands and the rolling waves of Lake Michigan.
The area does provide a few wooden steps and trails down to the sand, parting the tall grasses and giving you a little bit of help descending the steep slope, but otherwise, the amenities are sparse. There is no formal parking lot and no restroom or shower facilities.
Despite this, there’s still plenty to enjoy at Sand Dunes Beach, including swimming, birdwatching, and picnicking. There’s also carry-in boat access, so you can put in your kayak, canoe or paddle board with ease. Though narrow, the dunes go on for about five miles, so you have plenty of space to spread out, even if another traveler happens across your secret spot.
Dogs are welcomed at this public beach, both in the sand and the water. No leash is required, but do make sure that you bring one just in case it’s needed. If another visitor arrives at the beach, keep your dog in sight and nearby so that they are not a nuisance to others. Do not allow your dog to approach other visitors, dogs, or wildlife unless invited.
As always, when taking your dog on a beach excursion, bring along the necessary supplies for their comfort, including disposable bags to clean up after them, a portable water bowl, extra water and, if they end up in the water, a towel or two.