Rosy Mound Natural Area is on Lake Michigan a few miles south of Grand Haven. (It's a little over an hour's drive from Kalamazoo.) It would make a nice stop on the Lakeshore Connector bike trail.
Rosy Mound has more of a back-to-nature feel than nearby Kirk Park since it doesn't offer a playground or large picnic areas. It does offer a well-constructed trail through a mature forest on a backdune, a steep climb up a sturdy sets of stairs, spectacular views from the top of the dune, and a boardwalk through the open dunes to a sandy beach.
The trails are constructed to preserve the dune environment from erosion and blowouts caused by casual trails. This helps protect the endangered Pitchers Thistle.
In mid-December, there were only a few other visitors to the park but the walk was very enjoyable. The forest was a mix of oak, maples, beech, and conifers, with ferns still contributing a splash of green. Nothing was in bloom, of course, but I saw some nice patches of Hepatica suggesting this might be a good spot for Spring wildflowers.
At first, I thought this might be a good cross-country ski destination since the trail starts with a wide, level loop through the woods. The 300+ steps over the hill convinced me to reconsider.
Rosy Mound Natural Area 13819 Lakeshore Drive North Grand Haven, MI Parking fee in the summer. No dogs. No bikes on trail.
I teach economics at Kalamazoo College. My wife is also an economist. We were on sabbatical in Europe for the 2014-15 academic year. (Salamanca, Spain, followed by Oxford, UK.) We were in Uruguay for the 2006-7 academic year.