Then and now: How dropping water level reshaped Lake Michigan beaches

Ottawa County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s more sand available at several beaches this year as Lake Michigan water levels have dropped 18 inches from May 2020.

The 2021 WOOD TV8 Lake Michigan Beach Guide is now live on woodtv.com. We visited 47 public beaches from St. Joseph to Pentwater to see how much beach is available.

Fifteen beaches are noticeably larger this year compared to 2020. But it’s not all good news. The record high water caused some bluffs to collapse. Four beaches are actually smaller this year, and three remain closed entirely: Casco Township Nature Preserve, Douglas Beach and Kouw Park.

Below, you can take a look at how some West Michigan beaches have changed over the past year. Each picture on the left is from 2020 and each photo on the right is from this year. Use the slider to see how the shoreline has changed.

COVERT TOWNSHIP PARK

SOUTH BEACH, SOUTH HAVEN

TUNNEL PARK, PARK TOWNSHIP

OLIVE SHORES, PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP

KIRK PARK, GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP

ROSY MOUND NATURAL AREA, GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP

NORTH BEACH PARK, FERRYSBURG

LAKE HARBOR PARK, NORTON SHORES

CLAYBANKS TOWNSHIP PARK


Our interactive map tells you everything you need to know about the Lake Michigan beach you’re thinking about visiting:

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