Van Buren State Park RV & Campground Guide

Michigan

Van Buren State Park

is a 400-acre park that stretches for a mile along Lake Michigan, boasting sandy white beachfront, high dune formations, and billowy beachgrass, as well as acres of dense woodlands. Established in 1965, the park takes its name from the county where it is located, Van Buren County, which was founded in 1829 and named after Martin Van Buren, who was secretary of state at the time and later became the 8th U.S. president. 

Since opening, the park has nearly doubled in size, attracting thousands of visitors each year from across the country who want to visit beautiful Lake Michigan. Visitors can soak up the sun, play on the beach, or go for a refreshing swim in the lake. There’s even a doggy swim beach where your furry friend can cool off! Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the high sand dunes and miles of forested trails that wind through the park. 

With scenic waterfront views, soft sandy beaches, and temperate waters ideal for swimming and boating, Van Buren State Park makes for the perfect getaway. Read further for what to do in and around Van Buren State Park as you plan your trip.

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Weather
Spring 38-55 F
Summer 61-78 F
Fall 45-61 F
Winter 22-34 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Van Buren State Park

Visitors come year-round to Van Buren State Park to explore the beauty of Lake Michigan. When planning where to stay on your trip, where do you imagine yourself sleeping? In a tent, log cabin, or hotel room? What about an RV? 

RVing is a popular way to enjoy state parks — let alone points of interest along the way — without forgoing amenities like A/C and full-size beds, plus you can travel at your own pace. RVshare makes it easy to rent an RV near your home or travel destination like in South Haven or Kalamazoo. As well, there are several RV campgrounds near Van Buren State Park including:

Van Buren State Park Campground

A short walk from the shores of Lake Michigan, the park’s campground has 220 sites with electrical hookups and modern shower facilities. Stroll along the soft sandy shores, go for a dip in the lake, or hike on forested trails — all within minutes of your campsite. Rates are $20-32 per night depending on the season.

  • Water hookup: No
  • Electrical hookup: Yes
  • Sewer hookup: No
  • Wifi: No
  • Pet friendly: Yes 
  • Other amenities: Shower facilities, playground, picnic area, swimming, hiking, biking, nature programs, dumping station

Coloma / St. Joseph KOA

Down the road from the park, this campground is more of a resort than a campsite. With full hook-ups available and pull-through sites, you’ll enjoy spacious accommodations and amenities galore, from movie nights and pancake breakfasts to swimming pools and mini-golf. Rates start at $45 per night.

  • Water hookup: Yes
  • Electrical hookup: Yes
  • Sewer hookup: Yes
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Pet friendly: Yes 
  • Other amenities: Clubhouse, cable TV, sauna, swimming pool, sports courts, shuffleboard, dog park, bike rentals, mini-golf, movie nights, picnic tables, fire rings, general store, dumping station

RV Rentals Near Van Buren State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Van Buren State Park

Inside Van Buren State Park

Lake Michigan is the star attraction of Van Buren State Park and visitors flock to its shores year-round to play on its white sandy beaches. No matter the season, there’s plenty of activities to do at the park. Visitors can go hiking and biking through woodland trails, swim and play in Lake Michigan, climb up the high sand dunes, attend nature programs to learn about the park’s flora and fauna, or use a metal detector to search for buried treasure. 

Here are more details on the park’s most popular activities:

Hiking and Biking - Go for a hike or leisurely bike ride on the Van Buren Trail, a 14-mile pathway that passes through the park and links the cities of Hartford and South Haven. As you pass through farmlands and thickets of hardwoods and pines, you might even spot various wildlife that live in the area including deer, rabbits, and eagles! Several other foot trails wind along the beach, high sand dunes, and woodlands and feature steep inclines and sandy surfaces that might prove difficult for some visitors.

Swimming - The shores of Lake Michigan are perfect for lounging and sunbathing, while the waters of Lake Michigan are ideal for swimming — although only in the buoyed swim beach. There’s also a separate dog beach for your four-legged friend to enjoy the water!

Outside Van Buren State Park

Just north of Van Buren State Park, South Haven is a wonderful place to visit when you’re ready to explore outside the park. Numerous festivals are held throughout the year, including the National Blueberry Festival and South Haven Jazz Fest. South Haven’s prime location on Lake Michigan offers many boating and fishing opportunities. As well, its location in Michigan’s “Fruit Belt” means there are many farms where you can pick your own fruit — blueberries, raspberries, apples, and more. And if fruit picking isn’t your thing, then check out the various farmer's markets and antique shops found throughout the countryside.

Restaurants

Clementines

This former bank now houses a restaurant and old-timey saloon with easy-going vibes and a casual atmosphere. Order fresh seafood like shrimp and perch or try favorites like cheeseburgers, steak, and onion rings to learn why this place is a South Haven legend.

Type: South Haven, MI

Location: South Haven, MI

Taste

Specializing in small plates and cocktails, you won’t go wrong ordering anything on the menu at this laid-back eatery, although the lobster roll, beef wellington, and tuna tartare come highly recommended, as do the martinis.

Type: Small plates

Location: South Haven, MI

Maria’s Taste of Italy

This restaurant serves top-notch Italian cuisine in a cheerful atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. The pasta, pizza, and sandwiches are made to perfection, as are any dishes with homemade Italian sausage and meatballs.

Type: Italian

Location: South Haven, MI

The Livery

If you love craft beers and live music, then this brewpub is the place for you! Enjoy live musical acts — from classic rock to bluegrass — while munching on tasty pizza and appetizers and sipping on a cold microbrew in a cozy outdoor space.

Type: Brewpub

Location: Benton Harbor, MI

Sightseeing

Michigan Maritime Museum

This museum shares the rich maritime heritage of Michigan and the Great Lakes. Check out the different exhibits on Michigan’s maritime history, watch boat making in action, or set sail on the Friends Good Will merchant ship. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children.

Location: South Haven, MI

Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier

Built in 1839, these twin lighthouses are the hallmark of the south pier. Known as two of the Midwest’s most photographed lighthouses, snap a picture of their cherry-red exterior. You can also stroll along the Grand Haven Boardwalk, go fishing off the pier, and watch the sunset.

Location: Grand Haven, MI

The Kal-Haven Trail

This former railroad is now a 33-mile trail that links South Haven and Kalamazoo, featuring unique views of Michigan’s countryside and small towns. Throughout the year, the trail is popular with hikers and cyclists, as well as snowmobilers.

Location: Bloomingdale, MI

Bumbleberry Acres

Open June to October, this farm has activities for the whole family. Pick blueberries, raspberries, and pumpkins, visit the petting zoo, or have fun in the outdoor playground. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children.

Location: South Haven, MI

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How to Get to
Van Buren State Park

Van Buren State Park is located three miles south of South Haven r. 

From I-96, follow signs to merge onto I-195. Take exit 18 and turn left onto I-196 / Highway M-140 North. Take a left onto 14th Ave and another left onto Blue Star Highway before veering right onto Ruggles Rd. Continue straight into park. 

Address: 23960 Ruggles Rd, South Haven, MI 49090

Entering Van Buren State Park

Admission is $11 per vehicle for residents, $11 for non-residents. The park is open every day from 8am until 10pm. 

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