Search Bay

Area Status: Open

Search no more for your perfect, off-the-beaten-track campsite and swimming hole. At Search Bay you will be surrounded by:

  • Aspen groves
  • Cedar swamps
  • Meadows and ponds
  • Deer
  • Bald eagles
  • Loons

How to Get to Search Bay?

A single-track dirt road, (Forest Road 3436) starts from Michigan Highway 134 (M-134) and meanders through aspen groves, cedar swamps, meadows and ponds to an unimproved camping area along the edge of Search Bay.

Primitive Camping:

Camping is primitive, with no facilities such as tables, toilets or drinking water.


  • The diversity of habitats along the road attracts a variety of wildlife, so stop frequently to scan the surrounding area.
  • During the breeding season in spring, watch for nesting bald eagles and listen for loons calling from the water.
  • Walk along the edge of the bay in the spring and fall and scan the adjacent trees and shrubs for migrating songbirds.
  • In the summer, stop for a swim and watch for waterfowl feeding in the shallow bay.
  • This is also an important winter deer range as the browse line on the trees indicates.

Small Boats Allowed:

Trails traverse the area and provide a wonderful experience. Depending on water levels, the boat launch may be used to launch small boats. Kayak and canoe access is available.

At a Glance

Closest Towns: Hessel

General Information


From Hessel drive 4.6 miles west on M-134 to Search Bay Road (FR 3436).  Turn left (south) on FR 3436 and drive about 1.5 miles on M-134 to FR 3436 and drive about 1.5 miles to Search Bay.


Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Scenery

Boating - Non-Motorized

Carry in access available from lakeside primitive campsites and also from boat launch.


Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities



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