New Buffalo: Beaches and Parks
New Buffalo City Beach & Lakefront Park
New Buffalo's Lakefront Park and Beach are located on the North end of Whittaker Street, just across the Galien River Bridge.
Lifeguards are on duty Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Additionally, there are 'Warning' flags to indicate lake conditions.
Helpful information for a day at the beach:
- Southern Lake Michigan surface temperatures
- New Buffalo Beach water quality
- New Buffalo Weather Forecast
The National Weather Service Meteorologists now make warnings available for New Buffalo area beaches based on heights of waves and how they hit the shoreline. These warnings are an extension of those that have been in place on the country's east and west coasts for several years.
Although the New Buffalo Public Beach is staffed by life guards during peak swim times, all swimmers should be aware of how to react if caught in a rip current. If the caught in one of these currents (you will know it if it happens) you must react properly. Do not fight the current – swim parallel to the beach until out of the current, then swimming back to shore.
Those most vulnerable to rip currents are swimmers who like to body surf in high waves on Lake Michigan.
Check for Rip Current Warnings for New Buffalo area beaches.
More than a Beach...
In addition to swimming, there are dunes, wooden walkways and kayak/Paddleboard rentals/instruction. The Lakefront complex is often used as a scenic backdrop for professional photographers and a location for weddings and reunions.
Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals(lessons available)
Paddle the river and the BIG Lake (on calm days) for an unguided tour the Nature Preserve that is the Galien River basin. Third Coast Surf Shop operates the Beach Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals as a City-approved concession. The rental stand behind the swing sets.
- Beach Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals are available from 11:00 - 5:00 (Eastern Time,) 7-days a week, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, all summer long! All equipment is available on site and reservations are not necessary or accepted – show up any time they are open.
- Dress for the weather; come prepared to get a little wet from the drip of your paddle and be out in the sun. Lightweight, synthetic clothing is best. Sunglasses, sunblock and a hat. You can bring camera's, but they do have the possibility of getting wet, so bring a water proof bag. No alcohol allowed!
- Pricing: (1) $20 per hour for a single kayak or paddleboard with paddle and life vest or $25 per hour for a double (tandem) kayak with paddles and life vests.
First timer? No problem, Third Coast has people on site to teach you how to safely kayak or paddleboard.
The City Beach parking lot now has a flat fee of $10 for each day of the week. This fee is an entrance fee – it is not good for all day. If you leave the parking lot and and re-enter you will be assessed the fee again.
Sunrises & Sunsets are Free. No parking fees are charged to visitors using the City Beach parking lot before 9am or after 8pm. Visitors using the parking lot after 9am and before 8pm will still be responsible for fees incurred.
A few seasonal passes are available to non-residents – contact the Parks & Recreation Department at (269) 469-3574 for availability.
Beach & Park amenities include:
- 800' beach frontage on Lake Michigan with Lifeguards
- 18-acre recreation area
- Boardwalk nature trail along dune line
- Restrooms and foot showers
- Full service snack bar
- Handicap access – a sand wheelchair
(available at the snack bar) in addition to a flexible boardwalk in place which allows handicap access to beach area.
- Play structures and benches.
- Bicycle parking
- Paved auto parking (hourly/daily fees charged until 8pm)
- Fishing access to Galien River Nature Preserve and boating channel
- Eight boat launch ramps and trailer parking
- Dune can be used for sledding in Winter
- Swimming is only permitted the designated, signed areas.
- No pets, fires or glass containers.
- No alcoholic beverages
- Park closes at 11pm
- No overnight parking
Lions Pavilion Park
This pavilion is the home of the New Buffalo Lions Club. It is located just across the street from the Beach and is considered part of the Beach Park complex. There is a pavilion, several picnic tables, grills, playground and benches. The pavilion is often used as an entertainment venue (see our events calendar).
How to get there...
If traveling on I-94 use exit #1 or Exit # 4. Traffic flows into New Buffalo from US-12 or M-239. From the town's center – the intersection of US-12 and Whittaker St. – go west, down Whittaker St, across the bridge (the Public Marina will be on the left, the Stray Dog on the right)– proceed to where Whittaker St. ends. Turn left for the Beach Park. Turn right if you are towing a boat( public boat launch).
For additional information on the Beach Park, please call New Buffalo City Hall
at (269) 469-1522. For an interactive Map of New Buffalo, click here.
The Sari Asher Memorial Park, located at 1420 East Washington St., is a designated area for dogs to run and play. Open daily, dusk to dawn to local residents and visitors. An Annual or Daily Permit (available inside park) is required for each dog present. Onsite parking is available.
- All dogs must be under owner's control at all times.
- Aggressive dogs or dogs in heat are not allowed in this park.
- Dogs must be licensed and have up-to-date rabies vaccinations.
- Clean up after your dogs required (seal the waste in a bag before disposing in dog waste container).
- Pets must be leashed prior to leaving the fenced area.
New Buffalo Township Memorial Park
Located on Red Arrow Highway just north of U.S. 12, the Township park has a pavilion with picnic benches, grills, playground and washrooms. The pavilion is available for rent. For more information call (269) 469-1011.
Located behind the New Buffalo High School football field at Bronson and Indiana Streets this athletic complex offers baseball and soccer fields, horseshoes and a children's playground. The H.S. running track at the football field is also available.
The Sima Preserve is located along the Galien River in New Buffalo, adjacent to a 86-acre Galien River County Park Preserve purchased by Berrien County in 2001. This is the only remaining Great Lakes marsh of its size in southern Michigan and a sanctuary for native and migratory birds and a diverse population of native plants and animals.
The best access is via low impact boating (canoe or kayak) which can be launched at the Galien River Access located on Red Arrow Hwy., just north of Kruger Road at the bridge in New Buffalo Township. This state-run access area can also be used to launch small fishing boats.
Lake Michigan Water Trail
This Nationally recognized trail for paddlers (kayaks and canoes) links communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks. Seventy-five miles long, the trail follows the route used by Native Americans and early explorers for trapping, fishing, and commerce, running along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Chicago's lakefront in Illinois to New Buffalo, Michigan.
The This is one of 41 trails in 17 different states, totally more that 13,000 miles, that is recognized by the designation of National Recreation Trail and one of only 30 trails that is water-based. Lake Michigan Water Trail is also the first leg of a proposed 1,600-mile trail around the entire shoreline of Lake Michigan.
The availability of public access launch areas every eight (8) miles or so along the route makes this trail readily accessible to paddlers of all ages and skill levels.
Located at 1011 E. Clay St. (across the street from New Buffalo High/ Middle School), the Park is a joint venture with New Buffalo Township and New Buffalo Area Schools and is designed for use by skate boarders and in-line skaters. The park is open 9am until dusk.
The Director of Berrien County Parks Brian Bailey recently announced plans to build the County's 5th Park in New Buffalo Township on the Galien River. Located near the intersection of Red Arrow Highway and U.S. 12, construction could break ground as early as 2012.
The Park will be phased in over several years, according to County planners. The first phase will consist of two miles of trails and elevated boardwalks, one of which will go to a 30-foot high observation deck overlooking the surrounding wetlands and the other to a fishing and viewing deck at the river's edge. There will also be a landing for water and boat access.
Future construction will provide a bridge over the Galien River, which will connect to an island, which will host an additional mile of trails, a lodge and a interpretive center. All trails at the park will be wheelchair and stroller accessible.
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