We took a little road trip 2 weekends ago up to Grand Mere State Park, located near Stevensville in Michigan. This is an awesome dog-friendly stretch of beach with lots of room to spread out. There are permanent pit toilets at the parking lot and a covered picnic area nearby.
The Michigan DNR website says the trail to the beach is just .5 miles (1/2 mile), but it felt longer than that. I would guess the paved part is .5 mile and the sandy dune portion is another .5 mile and then however far you want to walk on the beach, so you could easily have a 2 mile walk in just getting to your spot. The sandy dune portion includes 2 rather steep hills, so pack lightly. And, you are required to post a Recreation Pass on your windshield, which is not available for purchase at Grand Mere.
A quick stop at Warren Dunes State Park 15 miles away is the closest place to purchase the Recreation Pass ($9 on the day we were there). Warren Dunes State Park is bigger with more amenities, including camping. But, it is also WAY more crowded.
This is BIG water – you can’t see any land on the horizon, which looks like it should be Chicago on the map. It was overcast on the day we went, but warm. So, it was very bearable and we didn’t get totally sunburned, which was great. As you walk toward the dunes and trees, the noise of the wind dies down and it gets very still among the tall grasses. This was a pretty clean beach too – I only noticed like 2-3 pieces of litter the whole afternoon.
Wading in the water was a great way to cool the dogs (and us) off – it was warm enough, but I think it you got too far out, it would be a bit chilly.
After spending the afternoon on the beach, we drove to our motel in South Bend, IN, about 33 miles away. And dinner was a most excellent pizza from Bruno’s – this thing was loaded with toppings and absolutely delicious. Plus, South Bend was hosting the International Softball Congress 2015 World Tournament that weekend and there was a men’s fastpitch softball team staying at the same hotel. It turns out they were the reigning champions from Ontario, the Hill United Chiefs. And, I just looked it up – they won the tournament again!
I’m sidetracking here for a minute to explain something about these pictures. I took them with my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S5), just like the other pictures on this site (the San Juan Mountains near Ouray, CO). The Colorado pictures uploaded just fine to WordPress and when inserted into different pages, they appeared right-side-up and continued to be the correct orientation when viewed on my laptop. BUT, these pictures from Lake Michigan are different. I did not change any settings on my phone, uploaded the pictures from Lake Michigan to WordPress. They looked fine in the Media Library and had the correct orientation. When I added them to this page, they looked fine. BUT, when I previewed or saved this page and viewed it in the browser, the pictures were scewed, flipped upside down or sideways! I did some research and it seems like maybe the EXIF setting is set incorrectly for them. I found a great explanation of EXIF settings at this website which helped some. I also found that WordPress has some plugins that ‘may’ help with photo rotation, but I tried a couple and did not have success.
So, my fix is unorthodox. I uploaded the photos to my site and then went into Edit mode, where I purposely rotated them 90* or 180* in one direction or the other to adjust for whatever WordPress is doing to them. Now, as I type this and look at the images in draft mode, they appear to be flipped on their sides or upside down. But, when I save and publish this, they appear correct and right-side-up in the browser. I wish I knew a better fix. And, I still wonder why my Colorado photos seem to be oriented correctly, but these don’t. I’ll have to keep looking and researching on this.