State parks, city parks and Lake Michigan beaches provide active options for group tour itineraries in Southwest Michigan.

Plumes of sand kick up behind a schooner as it cruises the slopes of the lakeshore dunes, giving riders a new and entertaining way to explore one of Southwest Michigan’s outdoor treasures.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park, located along a secluded strip of Lake Michigan just 15 minutes south of Holland, is best seen from the seat of a dune schooner. The rolling hills and steep slopes make for the perfect dune riding terrain, while the 300-acre natural area contains plenty of wildlife and beautiful scenery to keep riders entertained.

You can sign up for a 35-minute schooner ride with Saugatuck Dune Rides, where a skilled driver and guide will take you on a thrilling adventure you won’t soon forget. Schooners can seat up to 18 people, and the ride includes two informative stops along the route and one stop where riders can hop off and take pictures. (Group rates apply to parties of 18 or more; reservations accepted for groups of 10 or more.)

If your crew prefers a different form of getting around, why not spend a day hiking the trails of Ottawa County.  Kirk Park, located in West Olive, boasts 68 acres of sandy beach and wooded dunes, while Sanctuary Woods Preserve features hiking trails and a dune stairway offering stunning views of Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan.

Holland State Park is a must-see if you’re visiting the area. Spanning roughly 142 acres, the park is known for its swimming but also features the Ottawa County bike trail, connecting riders to more than 25 miles of paved routes. The expansive beach offers ideal views of the famous “Big Red” lighthouse and is the perfect spot to catch the sunset.

A short distance north brings you to Grand Haven State Park, a 48-acre park consisting entirely of beach sand. Make the most of it with a hike along the trails in the morning, followed by an afternoon of fishing or swimming. Further north is Duck Lake State Park in Muskegon, a 728-acre park located along the shores of Lake Michigan. Here you can enjoy swimming, hiking and fishing in the warmer seasons, or snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Millennium Park. Credit

Millennium Park. Credit

Even when you’re in the city, you can still embrace the outdoors. Grand Rapids has a number of parks downtown and nearby. The 1,500-acre Millennium Park consists of a swimming beach and picnic facilities, perfect for a relaxing alfresco lunch. You can also venture around the park on the many paved trails for cycling, walking and running.