5 of the best places to hammock in Southwest Michigan
Ghandi once said that there is “more to life than increasing its speed.” We couldn’t agree more. Rather than trying to pack in all the views you can possibly see in a visit, we hope you find a peaceful place to enjoy some serenity while sitting still. And we hope you stay awhile. Recreation doesn’t have to mean movement. There will always be another chance to come back and visit us to experience our fun activities — but there are fewer moments in your busy life where you can hang your hammock for hours at a time to just relax. That’s why we’ve gathered our favorite locations for hammocking. Set up cozy shop, kick back and let your worries fade at some of the best places to hammock in Southwest Michigan. Read on to pick your peaceful oasis!
Tiscornia Park, St. Joseph
There are a few trees on the dunes leading up to this beach that are perfect spots to hang your hammock. Just make sure to use sturdy ones as some of the smaller trees won’t support a hammock. Enjoy views of the lighthouses, birds flying along the shoreline and, if you time it well, a gorgeous sunset over Lake Michigan.
Warren Dunes State Park, Sawyer
To be able to hangout atop a dune for a few hours, you’ll first have to climb it. While it may take a while and a lot of energy, the view is most definitely worth it. You’ll see blue for miles across Lake Michigan as it meets the sky. Hang on the trees on dune tops or within the state park woods for a spot that takes less effort to get to. Sometimes, you can see Chicago’s skyscrapers from the dune tops. Then bounce, run or roll down the dunes on your way out.
You can get a similar view atop dunes at Van Buren State Park in South Haven!
Galien River County Park, New Buffalo
Hang your hammock among the small trail loops here for a peaceful afternoon in the woods. There is plenty of wildlife nearby, creating the perfect natural white noise while you meditate, lay or read. Before you leave, make sure to check out the towering marsh overlook and boardwalk by the water.
Andrews Trails, Berrien Springs
If you’re looking to find a group of people hammocking to chat with, stop by this local university with plenty of greenspace to share! Many recreation fans spend hours on their mountain biking trails, but you can also hike them and hang your hammock on the trees.
Dr. T.K. Lawless County Park, Vandalia
Home to one of Michigan’s three International Dark Sky Parks, hammock among the beautiful, expansive trails during the day. Come nightfall, you can catch a view of the stars above with no light pollution. The park is open late on these dates in 2023 for peak dark sky viewing events.
There are no specific hammocking laws in Michigan, but you should always check the community you are visiting or with park management to verify any guidelines you need to follow on their trails. Here are some general rules to follow though:
- Respect private property. Avoid hanging your hammock there or get permission from the landowner first.
- Think of the trees. When selecting trees to anchor on, pick healthy ones with a diameter of at least 6 inches to minimize damage.
- Don’t wrap your straps too tightly. You could harm the tree bark or restrict its growth. Consider bringing tree-friendly straps or protective sleeves on your straps.
- Pick up any trash and leave the space as you found it.
- Be mindful of others in the public space. Avoid high-traffic areas and blocking paths.
- Keep the space peaceful by keeping noise levels down.
- Only use trees as anchors. Do not use structures, posts or poles.
Here’s what you can do to keep yourself safe when spending a day in your hammock:
- Use a sturdy and reliable hammock made of high-quality materials and a large enough weight capacity. Reinforced stitching is a good quality, too!
- Don’t hammock over unstable ground, bluffs or the water.
- Before hammocking, look for sharp objects, branches or rocks that could cause damage to the fabric or injure you.
- Follow the hammock instructions you have to ensure you are high enough from the ground.
- Make sure the hammock is balanced well and not too tight or loose.
- Test the hammock before laying in it by gently sitting inside and gradually adding more of your bodyweight.