Sand and Sandwiches Day Trip to Warren Dunes Michigan

Every summer my family makes a trip to the Warren Dunes State Park in southwestern Michigan.  Only an hour and a half drive from the western suburbs of Chicago, it is well worth the trip and change of scenery.  I call it paradise for a day.  Coming from a large family our group changes up every year, but there are always two things that stay constant:  The “big dune climb,” and dinner at Redamak’s on the way home.

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Warren Dunes falls into the category termed open dunes.  Made up mostly of sandy hills, grasses, trees and shrubs, open dunes are located along a body of water in this case the shores of Lake Michigan.


Day Trip Warren Dunes Part 1 – The Sand

Big dunePeople travel from all around and often annually to soak up the sun, sand and surf that Warren Dunes State Park has to offer.  Many visitors partake in making the pilgrimage to the top of what is known as Tower Hill.  Although not nearly the tallest dune in the world, it is approximately 260 feet up.  Don’t quote me on exact footage, but it can take anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes to climb on average.  Once the top is reached some people hang out and take in the view for a while.


the big hill-warren dunes mighiganSome like to run right back down.


Sand Trails-Warren Dunes-MI-StowandTellU Some veer off to explore various other dune trails.

Warren dunes -grass and trees

Some people even surf down the hill like this crazy-fun couple from YouTube.  They have put together an artsy, but very well done video.  It offers vivid, gorgeous coverage of the scenery.  Check it out if you really want to experience the feel of being at the Warren Dunes, although fair warning, you might see the moon.

Warren Dunes Campground-StowandTellU At Warren Dunes, there is a campground within walking distance to the beach.


Trails through the trees-Warren Dunes-StowandTelluSandy trails lead just about everywhere.


trails lead to the beach-Warren Dunes - StowandTelluAnd almost all trails find their way back to the beach.


Warren dunes-old tree


weathered wood-Warren Dunes-Michigan-StowandTellUNearer to the beach you will find plenty of weathered wood,

gulls on the roofSeagulls,

Warren Dunes-the beach-StowandTellU

beachview-Warren Dunes - StowndTellUAnd a colorful display of beach umbrellas.

Collected rocks- Warren Dunes Michigan-StowandTellUThe majority of the beach is layered with soft sand but shells, rocks and other shore side finds are fairly easy to come by.  This is part of our collection for the day, which I just so happened to use in the bottom of my herbs in a jar project.


riptide-Warren Dunes-StowandTellUOn last year’s trip we were all “beached”, you might say, as the rip tide warnings were in high effect.  Swimmers are aloud to enter the water, but only at they’re own risk.


kayak rentals-Warren Dunes- StowandTellU

gaming fun-Warren Dunes-StowandTellu

The beach offers a one stop snack shop, kayak rental, arcade machines for the little ones, a changing area and restrooms; making it all that much easier to show up at 9am and stay till the sun starts to set.


Grass and dunes - Warren Dunes Michigan - StowandTellU


From dunes to beach-StowandTellu

Warren Dunes Michigan-StowandTellU

Our group is usually one of the last to leave the beach and then it’s off down Rt.12 we go headed toward our dinner destination.   Read Part 2: The Sandwiches…

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12 Responses to Sand and Sandwiches Day Trip to Warren Dunes Michigan

  1. Bliss August 19, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I’m all about the food. Back in the day we had to eat at the beach, so I had more than my fair share of sandy sandwiches.

  2. Danni@SiloHillFarm August 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Amy what a wonderful post and your pictures are just gorgeous. Brings back many fond memories of my visits to the Indiana Dunes. How fun!

    • Amy August 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Indiana Dunes in on my list, as well, one can never go to the beach too often…in the summer while the ground is still thawed:)

  3. Mel August 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    That looks like a super fun place to be! As a kid I used to climb the sand dunes and slide sown them on a piece of cardboard, it was so much fun! Looking forward to part two!

    • Amy August 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

      Sliding down on cardboard, I might have to try that! Thanks, Mel

  4. Shanna Gilbert August 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    I’m so jealous, I would love a day at the beach! Great pics Amy!

    • Amy August 19, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      In these parts, we like to think of it as the trade off for the many months of freezing cold weather. Thanks, Shanna

  5. Amy of while wearing heels August 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    I loved this post. The Warren dunes are one of my favorite places. After my senior prom, we all camped there. Great memories all relived when looking through your pictures and hearing about your adventures.

    • Amy August 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      It’s one of my favorites, too. The day after prom outings are always fun, but having it at the Warren dunes: priceless!! Sounds like great memories. Thank you, Amy


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