There are so many fun things to do near Silver Lake, Michigan. Silver Lake is a very popular vacation spot in the summer for its beautiful views of Lake Michigan and incredible sand dunes.
I’m sharing more about the outdoor adventures and popular attractions to check out near Silver Lake during your visit to the area.
Thanks again to Visit Las Vegas for hosting our visit. This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something we have recommended.
Where is Silver Lake, Michigan?
Explore Silver Lake State Park
9679 W. State Park Road, Mears, MI
Silver Lake State Park is located along 3 miles of the Lake Michigan Shoreline and also has access to a day-use area on Silver Lake which is inland.
There is also a playground and campground next to Silver Lake in the state park, with views of the sand dunes in the distance.
If you decide to swim at Silver Lake coming down to the beach from the sand dunes side, be aware that you have to climb back up the dune afterward when you leave.
Unfortunately, the public doesn’t have access to the road by the beach because it’s surrounded by private property displaying several “No Trespassing.”
You’ll just want to mentally prepare for the hike back up the dunes after you are done swimming.
Rentals available from Wave Club Water Sports:
If you want to play on the water there are several fun rentals you can use at Silver Lake from Wave Club Water Sports including:
- Stand up paddleboards
- Pontoon boats
- Wave Runners
- Ski Boats
Play on Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Of course, the big attraction at Silver Lake State Park is the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
With 2,000 acres of sand dunes, Silver Lake State Park offers an ever-changing landscape and a unique experience with every visit.
Climb the Sand Dunes at Silver Lake
The sand dunes provide a great challenge and workout.
Just remember…what goes down…must go back up…and going down is WAY more fun!
The sand can also get really HOT in the summer. I would recommend wearing shoes with a strap or water-type shoes vs. flip-flops, sunglasses, loading up on sunscreen, bringing lots of water, and wearing a sun hat or ball cap.
Try Sandboarding at Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Did you know that Silver Lake Sand Dunes is one of the top 5 places to go sandboarding in the US?
We’ve previously visited Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head, North Carolina which is another very popular spot for sandboarding and hang gliding.
Where Can You Rent Sandboards Near Silver Lake, Michigan?
The Sand Box in Mears, Michigan rents Venomous sandboards as well as adult and youth sleds. The sandboard rental shop is conveniently located 1.3 miles away from Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
You Can Purchase a Sandboard Online
If you don’t want to rent a sandboard, you can purchase a sandboard online and bring it with you to the park.
Drive on the Silver Lake ORV Area (Off-Road Vehicle)
You can rent a vehicle or bring your own off-road vehicle to drive on the dunes at the Silver Lake ORV Area.
Silver Lake ORV Area is the only sand dune riding opportunity east of the Mississippi.
The 450-acre sand dunes have been available to the public to ride on for almost 40 years.
Weekends are very popular so you will want to plan ahead and look into the parking lot voucher system before you go. The system was designed to help reduce long lines on the weekends and holidays.
If you don’t have an off-road vehicle, don’t even think about it! It’s seriously not worth getting stuck in the sand.
Off-Road Vehicle Rentals Near Silver Lake Sand Dunes
There are a few options for off-road rentals near Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Just keep in mind that the security deposits are pretty high and plan accordingly.
Drag racing is prohibited at the ORV area but you can watch drag races nearby at West Michigan Motorsports Park.
When is the ORV Area Open at Silver Lake Sand Dunes?
The ORV area at Silver Lake Sand Dunes is open from April 1 – Oct. 31. each year.
- April 1 – 30, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- May 1 – Sept. 15, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Sept. 16 – Oct. 31, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Access to the ORV area and dunes is stopped ½ hour ahead of closing time each evening.
Watch the Drivers on the Sand Dunes at Silver Lake
Even if you don’t have an off-road vehicle, it’s still fun to climb the dunes to watch the vehicles driving around.
You’ll see an assortment of sand buggies and off-road vehicles riding around in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
Motor Vehicle Requirements for Silver Lake State Park
All motor vehicles entering the Silver Lake State Park must display:
- Recreation Passport
- Michigan ORV license and trail permit
- Parking lot vouchers: Required on summer weekends and holidays.
Go on a Dune Tour With Mac Wood’s Dune Rides
629 N 18th Ave, Mears, MI 49436
If you don’t want to stress over a rental vehicle, you can leave the dune driving to the pros with a 40-minute dune tour. Mac Wood’s dune rides travel 7 miles over the dunes from mid-May through October.
During the tour, you’ll see incredible views of Lake Michigan and learn about the ecology of sand dunes as you experience the thrill of riding up and down the sand dunes.
This is a great multi-gen adventure for all ages, from babies to senior citizens. If you are traveling with a guest who has special needs, they provide a ramp to assist with loading into the vehicle for people with disabilities.
They do require all babies, young children, and pregnant mothers to ride up toward the front of the vehicle. Mac Wood’s Dune Rides also provides front-pack carriers for babies if you need one.
Take a Float Trip from Stony Lake to Lake Michigan
This is a fun and relaxing adventure. You start your float trip at Stony Lake and connect to Stony River by passing under the Stony Lake bridge and continuing until you reach Lake Michigan.
*The starting point area for the float trip at Stony Lake is located toward the west end of the lake. There is a parking lot at the intersection of Scenic Drive and W Stony Lake Lane.
It took us about an hour to complete the float trip. We had a few paddles that were very helpful because we were moving super slow on the water that day.
The float trip on the river ends at Benoa Township Park on Lake Michigan. (9202 W Garfield Rd, Shelby, MI)
It has a parking lot and you will want to transfer a vehicle there for when you are finished on the water.
Where can you rent tubes near Silver Lake?
If the water is really cold, a tube with a bottom can be a lifesaver. Lake Michigan temperatures can be pretty cold.
You can rent tubes for float trips at:
Stony Haven Campground -8079 W Stony Lake Rd, New Era, MI
Stony Lake Market – 4724 Scenic Dr, Shelby, MI
Eat at Silver Lake Chicken Shack
8301 W. Hazel Road, Silver Lake, MI
If you are looking for fantastic wings or chicken, Silver Lake Chicken Shack is THE place to be. They use their Original Rub on their chicken from Billy Bones brand BBQ, which is rotisserie seasoned and cooked to perfection.
There are a variety of dipping sauces that you can try with your wings:
- Honey BBQ
- Billy Bones BBQ Mild and Hot
- Caribbean Jerk
- Sweet Habanero
- Blue Cheese
You can choose the number of wings or a 1/2 chicken dinner. There are other options if you aren’t in the mood for chicken including pulled pork, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs.
Play for Hours at the Craig’s Cruisers Silver Lake Location
8343 W. Hazel Road, Silver Lake, MI
Craig’s Cruisers is a great place for full-throttle fun for all ages. Silver Lake Chicken Shack and Craig’s Cruisers are right next to each other so you can easily eat before or after you play.
How to Save Money at Craig’s Cruisers
If you want to try multiple attractions during your visit, the best value is the High Five Special.
The High Five Special includes your choice of 5 Attractions for $30:
Your choice of 5 Attractions for $30 Includes:
- Outdoor Go-Karts
- Double Go-Karts
- Pearly Whirly Coaster
- Bumper Boats
- Double Bumper Boats
- Swan Boat (2 Seats)
Sweet Treat at the Silver Lake Whippy Dip
591 N 18th Ave, Mears, MI
After a fun day at Silver Lake, treat yourself to Silver Lake Whippy Dip.
You’ll find a variety of ice cream options including soft serve, hard serve, flurries, sundaes, and more.
Adventures North of Silver Lake
Visit Ludington State Park
8800 M-116, Ludington, MI
Ludington State Park is only about 45 minutes north of Silver Lake. If you have the time, I would HIGHLY recommend planning a visit while you are in the area. Ludington is made up of 5,300 acres of sand dunes, forests, wetlands, marshes, beaches, and even a lighthouse.
Ludington State Park is located between 5.5 miles of shoreline at Lake Michigan and 5,000 acres on Hamlin Lake. The park also includes a 1-mile section of the Big Sable River. This is another fun spot to take a tubing trip to Lake Michigan.
Looking for more things to do in Ludington?
- The Best Things to Do in Ludington, MI on a Kid-Free Getaway
- The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Ludington, Michigan
Adventures South of Silver Lake, Michigan
Muskegon is about 45 minutes south of Silver Lake.
Try the Luge at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
462 N Scenic Dr, Muskegon, MI
If you are looking for a unique experience, try the luge in the summer on the wheel track at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park.
In addition to the summer luge track, there is archery, a dual zipline, outdoor games, hiking trails, and more.
Plan a Day at Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park
4750 Whitehall Rd, Muskegon, MI
Experience two parks in one!
Admission to Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park includes both the rides on the amusement park side and the waterpark at Wildwater Adventure Park.
This is a fun place to spend the day for families of all ages who enjoy a variety of thrill levels.
Watch the Sunset on Lake Michigan
No sunset on Lake Michigan is the same. Make sure that you take time to appreciate the unique beauty of the sky over the water.
The more Lake Michigan sunsets you can watch during your visit, the better!
Where to Stay Near Silver Lake Michigan
If you want to stay at a cottage or a campground on Lake Michigan, it’s really important that you plan ahead for your desired date in advance.
Compare Hotels and Vacation Rentals Near Silver Lake Sand Dunes
You can click the map above and compare prices and check availability for both hotels and vacation rentals with Stay22.
Silver Lake State Park Campground is another option but make sure that you make a reservation way in advance.