The average temperature is slowly climbing the charts in Hillsdale. Soon enough, we’ll be in the middle of summer with 90 degree days and burn-inducing sunshine. What better way to spend a sweltering summer’s day than exploring one or all of the lakes surrounding Hillsdale? Grab a swimsuit, a few friends, and a cooler, because summer is right around the corner.
About eleven miles southwest of Hillsdale- just off Bankers Road- lies Long Lake. Though the lake is fairly developed with private communities, there is public access with a boat launch and pit toilet on the west side. The selling point for Long Lake is Marv’s Hemlock Party and Bait on the north end. Stocked full of all the fishing equipment and lake paraphernalia you could ever need, the store also makes some of the best pizza and subs around.
If you’re looking for clear waters and a fairly undeveloped body of water, Bear Lake is just what you need. The boat launch is similar to that of Long Lake, with a pit toilet, few parking spots, and no beach. The water is crystal clear and the houses cute and quaint. It’s an easy 8‑mile drive to the southwest, making it perfect for a quick trip.
Just a five-minute drive from Hillsdale College, Baw Beese is the whole package. The east side of the lake is for public use with multiple play structures, a basketball court, and a beach. It’s long been a favorite hangout spot for Hillsdale students in the warmer months.
Louis Emery County Park
Louis Emery County Park is less of a lake and more of a network of ponds, and it isn’t a great spot for jumping in and taking a leisurely swim. That being said, there are multiple platforms that stand over the water that you can use to fish, suntan, or capture that perfect squad pic. The park also has a network of trails that run along the streams that feed some of the ponds. A two-minute drive from campus, it’s perfect for when you need a little bit of fresh air.