We never would have found Tunnel Park Beach if it hadn’t been for the AirBnB we rented. The rental was close to Holland (12 min. north) and Saugatuck where Ariel and I love to wander the streets and shop – plus the price was perfectly in our range. We left for our road trip just after Ariel finished work Sunday afternoon. We planned to arrive, go into Holland for dinner, then back to find the beach in time for sunset. Well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad for a first day on the road.
We arrived in Holland around 6pm under cloudy skies and drove straight into town to get dinner and a beer at New Holland Brewing Company – Our favorite for the best Reuben sandwich I ever ate – made with locally sourced corned beef. It’s amazing – a must try if you’re in the area. The beer isn’t bad either.
When we finally got to the AirBnB, we parked the car and I texted the hosts to let them know we’d arrived, but were taking a detour before checking in. In the dimming light of dusk we left the Prius in a stranger’s driveway and walked to the beach with just enough daylight to see where we were going. The cloud cover already blocked whatever sunset there might be, but we were committed to putting our feet in the sand anyway.
We found Tunnel Park using the GPS on our phones. On foot we took the most obvious route toward the beach which was up a long flight of steps over the dune and then back down. The stairs seemed to go up forever. Our stomachs were so full of fabulous bar food, it was like hauling lead over the hill and we both complained. Nevertheless we endured until we were walking in the lapping water of Lake Michigan. We stayed on the shoreline about an hour and then trekked over the dune again. By the time we made it back to the AirBnB, it was fully dark.
When we arrived, the hosts were waiting up for us and asked if we wanted to upgrade us to the larger room. It was in the basement and they assured us we would be more comfortable. No extra charge they said, adding something about being in need of a little privacy (wink, wink). We were completely okay with the change since it meant we had a lot more room to hang out and relax, which we planned to do a lot of. The next morning, before Ariel was awake, I walked back to Tunnel park to find the actual tunnel and take some early morning photos. This was my morning walk.
The beach at Tunnel Park is really small, and has a steep slope to the water. However it is used quite a lot by the locals because it is attached to the park where they have playgrounds and ball courts and picnic areas. We weren’t looking for huge crowds anyway so it was perfect for us as a place to relax and get in the water a little to cool off.
Tunnel Park Beach isn’t well-known because of its small size and neighborhood setting, but if you’re in Holland and looking for something really low key, this may be a treasure worth driving the extra 12 minutes north of Holland to find.