I live about 20 miles away and very close to Lake Michigan, but I choose to drive out to Fireman's park in Elkhart Lake. I love being able to lay out on the grass area or the sand area. I love how clean the lake is and that it has a nice sandy bottom. It gradually gets deeper, and has a nice shallow area that is sectioned off- for young children. It is a big park, so even when it is busy, you can find places to put your towels and lay down. The water gets nice and warm earlier in the year than Lake Michigan so you can swim all summer. The park is very clean and has flushing toilets that are kept clean as well. Well worth the entrance fee.