I heard someone say this over the long, hot Father's Day weekend: "I would go to the beach, but it will be too crowded."

Why suffer? There are beaches that aren't as well known, you just have to find them.

So this summer, I will share with you a few of the lesser known gems along the Lakeshore. You just have to promise to not tell anyone else.

We'll start this series with Olive Shores, an Ottawa County Park tucked along Lakeshore Drive just north of Holland, and not too far from Pigeon Lake and Port Sheldon.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Like many beachfronts in West Michigan, Olive Shores is accessible only by stairs from the parking area on the other side of the dunes, but this makes it harder to get to, and thus less frequented.

The wooded park features hiking trails and beautiful wooded acreage adjacent to the tight 738 foot long beach, which is sandy and great for swimming. There is this caveat: there are no lifeguards, so you're on your own in the water.

The park is not covered by your Michigan Recreation Passport, so it's a $7 fee for day use at the self-service station in the parking lot. Season passes for Ottawa County Parks are available just up the road at Kirk Park, which is another good beach to visit, albeit a little more popular.

Olive Shores Park is located at 8555 Olive Shores Drive in West Olive.

Take US-31 to Stanton Street and travel west to Lakeshore Avenue. Travel south on Lakeshore to Olive Shore Avenue. Travel south on Olive Shore to the entrance.

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