During our Michigan trip, Tom and I were never far from one of the great lakes. When we stayed at Holland State Park, we could walk to Ottawa Beach, on Lake Michigan. The town butts up against Holland but is in a another socio-economic category. The houses, as most houses on lakefronts these days, are gorgeous and often large. We talked to several people who have had a family home in Ottawa Beach for generations.
Ottawa Beach has plenty of lakefront to choose from. The town is sandwiched between Holland State Park, Lake Michigan, and Lake Macatawa. The marina in Lake Macatawa is bigger than the town and the boats are just as expensive as the houses. There are some smaller homes and even a manufactured home park, but most of the houses match the big boats in the marina. Tom and I liked to spend time watching the boats go in and out of the inlet into Lake Michigan.
Ottawa Beach started as a resort community in 1885 on 80 acres of land with 150 cottages and a hotel. When the hotel burned down, the cottages remained and got bigger as time went on. Most of the families that come to Ottawa Beach still only come in the summer, but many people live in their lakefront homes year-round. Former President Gerald Ford spent many summers at the family cottage in the community. He said it was the finest sand beach in the world.
Tom and I walked through the community of Ottawa Beach and down to the beach every day while we were staying at Holland State Park. There were several parks and paths along the lakefronts and through the town. We enjoyed looking at the cottages and the boats, although we agreed we never wanted to own a boat. I heard a joke that the two best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. But there are obviously lots of people that love having a boat and use it a lot.
Michigan has lots of sand beaches and there were plenty of people on Ottawa Beach. There were even a few people in the water. The beach is wide with plenty of room to spread out. I imagine it is much more crowded in the summer than it is in September. Most of the time we were at the beach the parking lot was full, so we were glad we could just walk down.
Mount Pisgah is another way to view Ottawa Beach. It is the highest hill in the area and there are great views of Macatawa Lake, Ottawa Beach, and Lake Michigan from the top. Tom and I climbed up the lazy way, taking a gently rising trail from Holland State Park instead of the stairs from Ottawa Beach. We came down the stairs which just made it a longer way to get to the beach.
Spending time in and on Ottawa Beach was just one more thing that Tom and I loved about our stay in Holland, Michigan. There are so many delightful places to see and things to do in the world. What place has surprised and delighted you recently?