How to Survive a Winter Beach

Brianna Krueger's picture

Most people, outside the west coast, seem to think beaches are only for summer. If it’s not sunny and 80 what’s the point of the beach? No one wants to go to the beach in anticipation of freezing their butt off.

How to survive a winter beach

Unless you’re like me and my friend Tyanna.

I wouldn’t say we prefer beaches in the winter (we’re not that crazy), but we spend more time together on a winter beach than a summer beach. But that’s also because her family owns a pool.

And because our nearest good, public beach is a 45 minute drive and sure to be packed tighter than a hot dog package. That beach for us is South Haven, Michigan, where we will run into at least half our graduating class in the summer, because even though in Michigan you’re always at least 80 miles from a Great lake, it’s the best one from our small town village of Mattawan (a neighbor of Yes! There Really Is A Kalamazoo!).

How to survive a winter beach

Anyhoo, Tyanna and I love the beach. The drive is a mini road trip for the day as we talk about everything and anything.

How to survive a winter beach!

The trip usually serves two purposes (outside of our catching up and not missing a beat from where we left off last time we saw each other with our busy schedules).

1.    Hot Chocolate.

I don’t kid when I say we drive (well technically she does because she’s awesome and I probably owe her a dozen hot chocolates to make up for it) 45 minutes for hot chocolate. Sometimes, during the summer we go just for the hot chocolate. It’s that good.

In fact, it’s so good you’ll question every other hot chocolate your lips have ever touched. Made with real melted chocolate before your eyes, the Chocolate Café is a little candy/ice cream parlor/café tucked away down a little alley off the main street. (And somewhat thankfully so because otherwise everyone might know our little secret.)

Often enough, we’ve stocked up and grabbed a second cup for the road. Calories don’t count for something so delicious. Plus with how much we’re talking and laughing, our mouths probably burned off the calories.

Hot chocolate from the Chocolate Cafe, South Haven, Michigan

2.    Photography

Tyanna and I both love photography and could probably be considered amateur photographers, and as amateur photographers, South Haven is one of our favorite spots. It may be a ghost-town in the winter, but the beach is a gold mine for us and our cameras (and our hot chocolate to keep us warm).

For starters, there’s the pier which is borderline a make-shift ice rink from waves crashing and freezing. You can almost slide all the way down to the lighthouse, which is sometimes covered in ice so thick you can’t see the red color beneath it.

South Haven lighthouse in winter

Back at the beach, sand heavily shifts from the winds. Little fences stand in the ground to try and stop the sand from blowing away, and in turn creates mini mountains. Depending on the bitterness of the winter, the beach can be frozen sand or snow-covered frosting.

Frozen sand at the South Haven Beach

Finally, there’s the playground which is fun to play onAs long as you don’t lick anything.

Playground capers, South Haven, Michigan - in winter!

The aura of the place is so peaceful, it’s like our own little world. Not many people venture out of their cars and homes to walk the snowy beach or face the harsh winds. We don’t blame them as we sprint back to Tyanna’s car and the safety of heat - and maybe that second hot chocolate. (Okay, third.)

How to survive a Michigan beach in winter


As the sun sets and our fingers regain feeling, we venture back home from a successful day at the beach. Maybe no sun tan to show for it, although possible frost bite.

Want more Michigan winter goodness? Read on: 

7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters

Visiting Lake Michigan lighthouses in the winter

Along the Frozen Shores of Lake Michigan: Photo Friday



Brianna Krueger is the Chief Editor for Wandering Educators


All photos courtesy and copyright Brianna Krueger







Comments (1)

  • Terry at Overni...

    10 years 2 months ago

    Great tips And if it snows, as it seems to be doing every day where I live this winter, I'd add Yak Trax -- metal soles that strap onto your sneakers and make it possible to walk on icy and snowy surfaces -- even when there's sand beneath.

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