Serenity and Seclusion by the Shore

Published 9:55 am Thursday, June 26, 2014

Although it’s small, Hagar Park Beach offers the same white sands as more popular local beaches — minus the crowds. (Leader photo/JILL McCAUGHAN)

Although it’s small, Hagar Park Beach offers the same white sands as more popular local beaches — minus the crowds. (Leader photo/JILL McCAUGHAN)

HAGAR TOWNSHIP—Living so close to some of the most beautiful beaches in America, every area resident seems to have a favorite, go-to lakeside spot.

Whether it’s St. Joseph’s Silver Beach, Bridgman’s Weko Beach, or New Buffalo Beach, residents are never far from a popular place where they can enjoy the white sands and blue waters of Lake Michigan.

However, there are plenty of other, lesser-known beaches tucked in along the shoreline from Northern Berrien County down to the state line, and each one of them has its own personality and amenities.

Hagar Beach is one such hidden gem.

Located in the “Lake Michigan Beach” area of Hagar Township on M-63, Hagar Beach is a small, secluded beach surrounded by dense woodlands.

While the beachfront area at Hagar Park is not very long, it is clean, and relatively few people know about it, making it a quiet place to enjoy the lake.

Furthermore, while signs delineate the boundaries of the public beach, they also note that visitors are welcome to continue walking down the shoreline.

“We really like this beach. We didn’t know about this one for a long time until somebody told us about it. It’s a little bit easier to get to,” said John Contreras, a resident of Alsop, Illinois, who was enjoying Hagar Park with his wife and three small daughters last week.

Dedicated fans of the Hagar Shores area and the KOA campground, the Contreras family has been spending their vacation time in northern Berrien County for the last four years.

“We used to go to the beach at Van Buren,” John explained. “It’s a little further out of the way, and it seemed like it was harder to get to. There, you’ve got to walk a long way from the parking lot.”

In contrast, the beach at Hagar Park is just a short distance from the parking lot, and it is accessible by a wooden stairway.

“The stairs are easier for the kids to get down and back up,” said Maggie Contreras, John’s wife. “Here, you just go down the stairs, and you’re right there on the water.”

Another draw for the Contreras family is the playground at Hagar Park.

“The kids love playing in the park,” Maggie said.

Located next to a paved parking lot, the fenced-in playground includes a newer jungle gym with slides and a swing set. Port-a-potties are available in that area of Hagar Park as well.

There is also a shady picnic area with grills where visitors can cook up some of their summer favorites. Open fires, however, are prohibited.

Another unusual aspect of Hagar Park is that leashed dogs are permitted at that beach. Pet waste bags are provided as well so that pet owners can clean up after their dogs, helping to keep the beach clean.

That arrangement seems to be working out well since, as John noted, “It’s very clean.”

If you are looking for a secluded beach where you can spend the day, whether it’s with your kids or your pet, Hagar Beach might be the place for you. However, it is important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty at that beach.

The park is open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily, and more information about Hagar Park can be found at the Hagar Township website,

“I think it’s nice, very nice,” John said. “We love it.”