Communities near the Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Oceana County was organized in 1855, it was named after its long shoreline on lake Michigan. The first known white settlement was a saw mill site built in 1849 at the mouth of Whiskey Creek. The county grew during the lumber era, with the development of Pentwater, Shelby, and Hart, the county seat. When the lumber boom came to a halt, farmers found the area an excellent place for orchards.
Today, it prospers, holding the second largest fruit tree acreage in the state. It is also known as the asparagus capital of the world. Tourism plays a vital part along the county's coastline. Pentwater is a major summer resort, as is the Little Sable Point area, with Silver Lake and the sand dunes, one of the few places in the nation offering first class dune scooter rides to view the pristine sandy coastline along the Big Lake.
Inland, many recreational spots abound in the Manistee National Forest, which dots the county. There are also great canoeing and fishing along the White River beginning at Hesperia. For sightseeing, fruit picking, or just plain outdoor fun, Oceana County is where you want to be!
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,307 square miles (3,384 km²), of which, 540 square miles (1,400 km²) of it is land and 766 square miles (1,985 km²) of it (58.64%) is water. Oceana County is famous as the "Asparagus Capital of the World" for its high production of asparagus. The annual National Asparagus Festival includes a parade and crowning of the Asparagus Queen. This is a source of great pride for those who are so crowned.
By 2005 the percentage of non-Hispanic whites in Oceana county was down to 83.8. African Americans had nearly doubled to 0.6% of the population. Native Americans held steady at 1.0% of the population. Asians also were the same percentage of the population. Latinos continued to grow in numbers, now constituting 13.9% of the population.
In 2000 there were 9,778 households out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.50% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.70% were non-families. 21.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the county the population was spread out with 28.20% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 101.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $35,307, and the median income for a family was $40,602. Males had a median income of $31,834 versus $22,236 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,878. About 11.00% of families and 14.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.60% of those under age 18 and 9.00% of those age 65 or over.
The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions--police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc.--are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.
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For more activities & attractions, check out these additional links for Things to Do in West Michigan:
Ludington Activities & Things to Do -- Play on a beautiful beach, take a tour at Historic White Pine Village, or explore the barn quilt trail, murals or sculptures in the county--Ludington offers many fun things to do for the entire family!
Have Fun in Manistee, Michigan -- Explore Manistee's historic downtown district and riverwalk, hike the Manistee National Forest, canoe on the Manistee River, and more.
Hamlin Lake -- Just 4 miles north of Ludington, Hamlin Lake is a great destination for boating, fishing and climbing dunes! The Hamlin Lake shoreline is also part of the Ludington State Park.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes -- Visiting the Silver Lake Sand Dunes makes for a terrific vacation because you can take your off-road vehicle for a spin on the scenic sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan and Silver Lake.
Things to Do in Pentwater, Michigan -- Nothing is quite like the quaint, artsy, harbortown village of Pentwater. Don't miss the popular Charles Mears State Park beach on Pentwater's Lake Michigan shoreline.
Lots of Activities in Scottville, Michigan -- Explore the Riverside Park along the National Scenic Pere Marquette River.
Canoeing or Fishing on the Pere Marquette River -- Many boat liveries offer canoe rentals.
Also, check out West Michigan Guides and our locally produced WestMichigan.MichBiz.com for our largest lists of Things to Do in West Michigan.