Meet the Best Beaches in Michigan
Not all Great Lakes are alike.
Sure, they’re all magnificent, but Lake Michigan has the endless sandy shoreline. Lake Michigan is the ultimate umbrella-pitching, laying out in the sun, swimming for hours beach mecca.
Lake Michigan Beaches: GRAND HAVEN
Grand Haven has two of the best beaches in Michigan and is a very popular destination.
Not only does it have loads of perfectly wonderful sandy shoreline, but you can also walk the 1.5-mile boardwalk starting at cute shops downtown all the way to the Grand Haven pier and its iconic red lighthouse. Along the walk, you’ll pass restaurants, food vendors (hello Pronto Pups!), marinas, charter fishing boats, and parks.
Grand Haven City Beach
S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Parents love the location of Grand Haven City Beach and its proximity to restaurants and the other perks of Grand Haven. There is limited free parking at this beach. Because of its popularity, it’s often quite busy on the weekends.
Grand Haven State Park
1001 Harbor Avenue, Grand Haven MI, 49417
This beach is a favorite for many families. The state parks facilities include bathrooms, beach house, playground, picnic areas, food concessions, and 48 acres of fun! Why is this one of the best beaches in Michigan? The huge sandy beach, the pier and lighthouse, fun along the boardwalk, and a cute downtown all go into the mix. Wondering what to expect? Check their real-time weather conditions before you head out.
North Beach Park
18775 N Shore Dr, Ferrysburg, MI 49409
One of the best beaches for kids and a favorite of locals since it’s less crowded than the state park, North Beach Park features a dune deck with scenic lake views. The beach is a just-right size. Position yourself correctly and you can walk to get to the lake and have the playground visible from where you’re sitting on the beach.
Rosy Mound Natural Area
13925 Lakeshore Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
This is a great adventure for families with older kids who can handle a hike! Prepare for a 0.7 mile hiking trail from the parking area to the Lake Michigan shoreline that includes 1,000 feet of stairs up and down the dunes. This beach does offer restrooms, picnic areas, and grills near the parking area.
Lake Michigan Beaches: HOLLAND
Holland State Park
2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424
With ramps from the parking lot to the shoreline, it’s perfect for strollers and wagons. This is a popular beach with facilities that include restrooms, beach house, food concessions, picnic areas, playground, sand volleyball courts, and boat launch.
66 N. Lakeshore Ave, Holland, MI 49424
Another one of the best beaches in Michigan for kids, this family favorite has a unique tunnel through a dune, a playground complete with a dune climb, and dune stairway with scenic views of Lake Michigan. Expect to find bathrooms, picnic shelters, grills, playground, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and vending machines at this beach.
Lake Michigan Beaches: MUSKEGON
Duck Lake State Park
3560 Memorial Dr, Muskegon, MI 49445
Perfect for families with kids of all ages, this day-use park includes picnic area, beach house, and boat launch. 2020 Update- The high water this year has claimed much, if not all, of the sandy beach area.
3205 W Sherman Blvd, Muskegon, MI 49441
This beach includes four picnic shelters and an accessible ramp to the beach and into the dunes. It also has a specific area for the family dog to enjoy the beach so even the fur-babies can get in on the fun!
Muskegon State Park
3560 Memorial Dr, North Muskegon, MI 49445
This beach has two miles of shoreline to explore. Expect to find restrooms, beach house, picnic area, playground, and boat launch. This Lake Michigan beach is breathtakingly beautiful and well worth the drive.
Pioneer County Park
1563 N Scenic Dr, Muskegon, MI 49445
Also a popular camping location, Pioneer Park has over 2,000 feet of shoreline and deck overlooks. There is also a lodge available to rent for group gatherings.
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park
6585 Lake Harbor Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49441
With three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, several hiking trails, and Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center, this beach is a nature lover’s dream. You will also find bathrooms/bathhouse, plenty of parking, and an observation deck at this beach. It is also connected to a family-friendly campground so you can make a long weekend of exploring.
Pere Marquette Beach
3510 Channel Dr, Muskegon, MI 49441
A popular beach that is worth the drive. The beach includes a 200-foot handicap-accessible walkway on the beach making traveling through the sand easier on all. The beach facilities also include a snack bar, beach house, restrooms, playground, picnic area, and sand volleyball courts. We consider this one of the best beaches in Michigan for its beauty and because it is often less busy than some of the neighboring big beaches in Holland or Grand Haven.
Lake Harbor Beach
4635 Lake Harbor Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49441
This beach offers variety with access to Lake Michigan, Mona Lake Channel, and Mona Lake. Families can access this park by foot, bike, car or boat.
Lake Michigan Beaches: Northern MI
Charles Mears State Park
400 W Lowell St, Pentwater, MI 49449
Worth every minute of the drive, this beach is located near the quaint town of Pentwater and includes beach house, bathrooms, playground, picnic area, a wide pier, lighthouse, and a dune that is fondly referred to as “Old Baldy” by the locals.
Ludington State Park
8800 M-116, Ludington, MI 49431
Among the best beaches in Michigan, Ludington State Park offers scenic vistas of sand dunes and mile upon mile of shoreline. With calm waters, playground, picnic shelter, restrooms, and concessions, it’s also one of the best beaches for kids.
Stearns Park Beach
420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431
Also known as Ludington City Beach, the city’s largest beach offers free parking and Wi-fi. The lighthouse is a popular spot, with a surrounding area ripe for exploration, also offers tours.
Empire Beach Village Park
10484 Niagara St, Empire, MI 49630
Empire Beach, with its big playground right on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, make this a great place to stop and play, swim, and picnic. There is a small fee for parking.
Platte Point Beach
Lake Michigan Rd, Honor, MI 49640
This beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is where the Platte River meets Lake Michigan. This beach is a favorite – you can swim in the river if Lake Michigan is too cold or windy. The beach is sandy in many places, rocky in others. Multiple parking lots here confuse visitors – if you’re in a National Park lot, you will need your vehicle pass. If you’re in the Lake Township Park parking lot (where the canoes get picked up) then you need to pay the daily parking fee.
Petoskey State Park
2475 M-119, Petoskey, MI 49770
Petoskey State Park is where many people go to look for Petoskey stones. Finding a treasure here is hard for that reason – but it’s not impossible. Get up early, look at the wet stones, and especially go after a storm has tossed the beach. If you’re just looking for a great place to spend your beach day, this is also a good choice. An expansive sandy beach for laying out is what you’ll find here. Restrooms are modern but older.
Traverse City State Park
1132 US-31, Traverse City, MI 49686
The beach at Traverse City State Park is long and sandy and is located on the East arm of Grand Traverse Bay. There’s a small playground right on the beach, as well as older modern restrooms. If you’re camping at the state park you access the beach by a pedestrian overpass. There’s not a lot of shade here. If you’re interested in food, pack a picnic or visit one of the many nearby restaurants – this park is located in a busy tourist section of town.
Clinch Park, Traverse City
111 E Grandview Pkwy, Traverse City, MI, 49684
Clinch Park is located just across the street from Downtown Traverse City. SUP rentals, concessions, and a splash pad make this a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. The sandy beach is buffered by green grass and a line of shade trees. The water is calmer here than at other Lake Michigan beaches because this beach is on West Grand Traverse Bay, buffered to the north by Old Mission Peninsula and to the south by Leelanau Peninsula.
Elk Rapids Memorial Park
920 S Bay Shore Dr, Elk Rapids, MI 49629
Memorial Park in Elk Rapids is special because it’s where the Elk River meets Lake Michigan. Swim down the river to meet the lake. Choose a spot on the sandy beach or along the river, where kids play for hours. The park has a nice beachside playground and modern restrooms. Walk down the mainstreet to get ice cream, a slice of pizza, or a pop your head into the cute local shops. Elk Rapids is a special place.
Michigan Beach Park – Charlevoix
95 N Grant St, Charlevoix, MI 49720
Michigan Beach Park in Charlevoix is a splendid Lake Michigan beach. It’s sandy and large and is home to a lovely lighthouse. Just steps away is the downtown neighborhood sporting the Mushroom Houses that so many come to look at. Walk the channel to get to downtown, where you’ll find ice cream and restaurants. Across the street, the harbor park and splash pad make a fun stop.
Lake Michigan Beaches: SAUGATUCK
Saugatuck Dunes State Park
6575 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423
A perfect destination for families looking for a more rustic and secluded beach. You will need to hike at least 0.6 miles over a sandy trail to reach the beach. The beach has two-and-a-half miles of shoreline including dunes over 200 feet tall. The facilities are limited to a picnic shelter, tables, and portable toilets.
690 Perryman St, Saugatuck, MI 49453
One of the best beaches on Lake Michigan, Oval Beach is perfect for families with kids of all ages. This very toddler-friendly beach has bathrooms nearby and stairs that make it easy to lug all your beach equipment to and from the parking lot. Oval Beach offers concessions, modern bathroom facilities with showers, lifeguards, a swing set area and picnic tables. Parking is right next to the beach so it’s easy in and out.
Pier Cove Beach
2290 Lakeshore Dr, Fennville, MI 49408
Expect limited parking at this free beach and there are no bathrooms. On the plus side, limited parking means limited crowds. Parents also love the shallow waters created by a small cove at this beach, perfect for little ones to play safely. This little beach has a shallow creek for wading and smooth stones for skipping. Be wary on the stairs, though, as poison ivy has been spotted frequently along here.
Lake Michigan Beaches: WEST OLIVE
9791 Lakeshore Drive N West Olive, MI 49460
With 68 acres of sandy beach, this park has bathrooms, a playground, picnic area (including grills), and plenty of dunes to run down. 2020 Update: high water has taken its toll on this beach – a stairway to the beach has been destroyed by wave action.
Lake Michigan Beaches: SOUTHWEST MI
Rocky Gap County Park, Benton Township
1100 Rocky Gap Rd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Overlooking Lake Michigan from a bluff in Benton Township, Rocky Gap County Park provides a wonderful place to enjoy the expansive shoreline. The lower park has a sandy beach with plenty of lake frontage, and the upper park has an overlook platform with spectacular views of the lake. Note: No lifeguards on duty at this park. Free beach.
Hagar Park Beach, Hagar Township
5440 M-63, Coloma, Michigan 49038
Follow the wooden walkway and descend the stairs to the beach. Kids can play on the playground, and there’s plenty of shade in the picnic area. Note: Port-a-johns only at this beach. Free beach.
Roadside Park Beach, Hagar Township
6930 Bluestar Highway, Coloma, Michigan 49038
Located on Blue Star Highway just south of Van Buren County line. This beach park is a natural dune park that offers a roadside gravel parking lot. Note: Port-a-johns only at this beach. Free beach.
North and South Beach, South Haven
North Beach: 45 Lakeshore Dr, South Haven, MI 49090
South Beach: 60 Water St, South Haven, MI 49090
Plenty of parking, concessions, play equipment, and restrooms make it an easy choice for families at two of the best beaches for kids in South Haven. Walk out along the pier to the lighthouse on South Beach for breathtaking views.
Van Buren State Beach & Dunes, South Haven
23960 Ruggles Rd, South Haven, MI 49090
The focal point of Van Buren State Park is its high dune formations and one mile of sandy beach. The beach has modern restroom buildings and a picnic shelter area. Note: the beach is a bit of a walk from the parking lot.
Silver Beach, St. Joseph
101 Broad Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
Silver Beach features a clean, wide beach on Lake Michigan and public access to the South Pier. Lifeguards, playground structures, concessions, and big restrooms are all a plus. Walk to the nearby Silver Beach Carousel and splash pad. This is hands-down one of the best beaches for kids in Michigan. Don’t forget to order pizza!
Grand Mere State Park, Stevensville
7337 Thornton Dr, Stevensville, MI 49127
Grand Mere has over one mile of coastline for sunbathing and swimming. Grand Mere has acres of wetlands, woods, sand dunes, and beach. The beach has very little in the way of amenities. Dogs on a leash are allowed within the beach and swimming area.
Deerlick Creek Beach, South Haven
76773 13th Ave, South Haven, MI 49090
Free parking and it is the perfect beach for our furry dog friends who like to take a swim. They have a portable bathroom. Free beach.