61 Astounding Sugar Sand Lake Michigan Beaches & Inland Lakes

Lake michigan beaches: Oval-Beach-Saugatuck-summer-VandenToorn

Michigan is the Ultimate Beach State

Michiganders are spoiled. Our backyard has mile after mile of the most pristine shoreline and beaches that help us remember what playtime is all about.

There is nothing more “Pure Michigan” or pure family than a day digging your toes into the sand! Especially if those beaches brag sweeping Michigan sand dunes.

Waves lapping, toes in the sand, sun kissing your skin, kids giggling as they topple their latest sandcastle – there is nothing quite like an afternoon at the beach.

Lake Michigan Beach at Pere Marquette Beach Muskegon MI
Lake Michigan Beach – Pere Marquette Park, Muskegon

Michigan beaches are everywhere. Many of the best beaches on Lake Michigan are right here in West Michigan.

Slather on the sunscreen and prepare to get sand in your toes this summer with our updated guide to the best beaches in Michigan – we’re sure you’ll find some close to you and those worth the drive.

Favorite Lake Michigan Beaches

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.


Water currents in the lake can pull even good swimmers away from the shore. People of all ages drown in Lake Michigan every year. Use life jackets when swimming and learn how rip currents work.


Grand Haven has several 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.

1 – Grand Haven city beach

S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Why It’s One of the Best Grand Haven Beaches:

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.

2 – Grand Haven state park

1001 Harbor Avenue, Grand Haven MI, 49417

Why It’s One of the Best Grand Haven Beaches:

Grand Haven State Park is a favorite for many Lake Michigan beachgoers. The state park’s facilities include bathrooms, a beach house, a playground, picnic areas, food concessions, and 48 acres of fun!

The huge sandy beach, the pier and lighthouse, fun along the boardwalk, and a cute downtown all go into the mix.

best lake michigan beaches - grand haven MI
Grand Haven State Park is a family favorite Lake Michigan beach in Grand Haven, MI

3 – north beach park

18775 N Shore Dr, Ferrysburg, MI 49409

Why It’s One of the Best Grand Haven Beaches:

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.

North Beach Park in Spring Lake, MI, is a quiet, hidden Lake Michigan beach alternative to the state park

4 – rosy mound natural area

13925 Lakeshore Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Why It’s One of the Best Grand Haven Beaches:

Rosy Mound is a great adventure for anyone that likes 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.

5 – Kirk Park

9791 Lakeshore Drive N,  West Olive, MI 49460

Why It’s One of the Best Grand Haven Beaches:

Kirk Park has a dog beach!

With 68 acres of sandy beach, this park has bathrooms, a playground, picnic area (including grills), and plenty of dunes to run down.

Holland Michigan Beaches

5 – holland state park

2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424

Why It’s One of the Best Holland Michigan Beaches:

With ramps from the parking lot to the shoreline, it’s perfect for strollers and wagons.

Holland State Park is a popular beach with facilities that include restrooms, beach house, food concessions, picnic areas, playground, sand volleyball courts, and boat launch.

6 – tunnel park

66 N. Lakeshore Ave, Holland, MI 49424

Why It’s One of the Best Holland Michigan Beaches:

Tunnel Park is a family favorite. It 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: tunnel park - family at end of tunnel
A not-so-secret tunnel is just one of the delights of the Lake Michigan beach at Tunnel Park in Holland, MI

South Haven Beaches

7 – North Beach South Haven

45 Lakeshore Dr, South Haven, MI 49090

Why It’s One of the Best South Haven Beaches:

Plenty of parking, concessions, play equipment, and restrooms make it an easy choice for anyone looking for Lake Michigan beach fun in South Haven, MI.

North Beach is also where you can enjoy sand volleyball. Walk out along the pier to the lighthouse on South Beach for breathtaking views.

8 – South Beach South Haven

60 Water St, South Haven, MI 49090

Why It’s One of the Best South Haven Beaches:

Located just south of the Black River, South Beach has the infamous pier and big red lighthouse that you see in everyone’s beach pics.

It also has plenty of parking, concessions, play equipment, and restrooms.

9 – van buren state park

23960 Ruggles Rd, South Haven, MI 49090

Why It’s One of the Best South Haven Beaches:

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.

10 – deerlick creek beach

76773 13th Ave, South Haven, MI 49090

Why It’s One of the Best South Haven Beaches:

Deerlick Creek is a free beach and quieter. A good place to bring leashed dogs, you can also launch your kayak from the mouth of the small creek.

Muskegon Beaches

11 – duck lake state park

3560 Memorial Dr, Muskegon, MI 49445

Why It’s One of the Best Muskegon Beaches:

Perfect for families with kids of all ages, Duck Lake is a day-use park with picnic area, beach house, and boat launch.

The huge channel that empties into the lake is a favorite for younger kids who don’t enjoy calmer waters.

best lake michigan beaches - duck lake channel
Families love to spend the day at Duck Lake State Park in Muskegon, MI

12 – PJ Hoffmaster State Park

6585 Lake Harbor Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

With three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, lots of dunes, several hiking trails, and Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park 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.

Lake Michigan beaches: hoffmaster state park
Nature lovers flock to the Lake Michigan beach at PJ Hoffmaster State Park in Norton Shores, MI

13 – Pere marquette beach

3510 Channel Dr, Muskegon, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

Boasting 2.3 miles of some of Lake Michigan’s cleanest shoreline along with modern restrooms, playground, and on-site concessions, Pere Marquette has it all. 

Perhaps the biggest draw is just how uncrowded this beach is – especially considering all the amenities available.

Don’t miss out on dining at The Deck, which sits right up on the beach!

The Deck Restaurant Pere Marquette Beach Lake Michigan Muskegon
Restaurant and beach-goers at The Deck in Muskegon, MI

14 – Kruse Park

3205 W Sherman Blvd, Muskegon, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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!

15 – Muskegon State Park

3560 Memorial Dr, North Muskegon, MI 49445

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

Muskegon State Park 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.

16 – Pioneer County Park

1563 N Scenic Dr, Muskegon, MI 49445

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

17 – Lake Harbor Beach

4635 Lake Harbor Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49441

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

Lake Harbor 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.

Best Saugatuck Beaches

18 – saugatuck dunes state park

6575 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423

Why It’s One of the Best Saugatuck Beaches:

Saugatuck Dunes is 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.

lake michigan beach saugatuck dunes state park
Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Holland, MI, is one of the more secluded Lake Michigan beaches

19 – Oval Beach

690 Perryman St, Saugatuck, MI 49453

Why It’s One of the Best Saugatuck Beaches:

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.

20 – Pier Cove Beach

2290 Lakeshore Dr, Fennville, MI 49408

Why It’s One of the Best Saugatuck Beaches:

Known for being only one of few locations where Lightning Rocks can be found, Pier Cove is a rock hunter’s dream.

While this is not a sandy beach, it is a cozy spot to do some rock hunting for types of rocks that can only be found in Michigan.

Note there are no amenities and only ten parking spots for this beach, although additional parking can be found a little ways up the road.

Best Lake Michigan Beaches in Northern MI

21 – charles mears state park

400 W Lowell St, Pentwater, MI 49449

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

Worth every minute of the drive, this beach is located near the quaint town of Pentwater and includes a beach house, bathrooms, playground, picnic area, a wide pier, lighthouse, and a dune that is fondly referred to as “Old Baldy” by the locals.

pentwater charles mears Michigan best beaches for kids
Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater, MI, is a Lake Michigan beach that is worth the drive

22 – Ludington State Park

8800 M-116, Ludington, MI 49431

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

23 – Stearns Park Beach

420 N Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI 49431

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

With 2,500 feet of sandy beach, Stearns Park Beach is Ludington’s largest shoreline. With so much beach real estate, visitors love that this beach doesn’t feel too crowded.

Accessible walkways, modern restrooms, a lighthouse with summer tours, and even a playground and skate park make this a great stop for individuals and families alike.

24 – Empire Beach Village Park

10484 Niagara St, Empire, MI 49630

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

Empire Beach, with its big playground right on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, makes this a great place to stop and play, swim, and picnic. There is a small fee for parking.

25 – Platte Point Beach

Lake Michigan Rd, Honor, MI 49640

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

This beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is where the Platte River meets Lake Michigan.

This beach is a favorite of the picturesque beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes – 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.

26 – Petoskey State Park

2475 M-119, Petoskey, MI 49770

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

lake campgrounds in michigan
You might find Petoskey Stones on the beach at Petoskey State Park

27 – Traverse City State Park

1132 US-31, Traverse City, MI 49686

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

28 – Clinch Park, Traverse City

111 E Grandview Pkwy, Traverse City, MI, 49684

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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 shady 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.

Clinch Park Traverse City - Michigan best beaches for kids
The Lake Michigan beach at Clinch Park in Traverse City, MI is nice and calm

29 – Elk Rapids Memorial Park

920 S Bay Shore Dr, Elk Rapids, MI 49629

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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 main street to get ice cream, a slice of pizza, or a pop your head into the cute local shops. Elk Rapids is a special place.

elk rapids memorial park Michigan best beaches for kids
Elk Rapids Memorial Park in Elk Rapids, MI, is one of the best beaches for kids

30 – Michigan Beach Park – Charlevoix

95 N Grant St, Charlevoix, MI 49720

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

Michigan Beach Park Charlevoix - Michigan best beaches for kids
Michigan Beach Park in Charlevoix, MI, is a favorite Lake Michigan beach

Lake Michigan Beaches: Southwest MI

31 – rocky gap county park

1100 Rocky Gap Rd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

32 – Hagar Park Beach

5440 M-63, Coloma, MI 49038

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

33 – Silver Beach

101 Broad Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

Silver Beach in St. Joseph 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!

best beaches for kids: silver beach st joseph - best lake michigan beaches
Stop by the splash pad near Silver Beach in St. Joseph, MI – this one of the best beaches for kids.

34 – Grand Mere State Park

7337 Thornton Dr, Stevensville, MI 49127

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Michigan Beaches:

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.

Inland Beaches in Michigan

Can’t make it out to the lakeshore? Then try some of these family favorite inland beaches!

Michigan Beaches: Allegan County 

35 – Gun Lake Park

2397 Patterson Rd, Wayland, MI 49348

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Gun Lake County Park is located on the west shore of beautiful Gun Lake.

A sandy beach, a grassy picnic area, easy to access modern restrooms, basketball courts, and a playground are amenities at this county park.

Michigan Beaches: Calhoun County

36 – Willard Beach Park

50 George B Pl, Battle Creek, MI 49015

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Willard Beach is Battle Creek’s only property with public lake access.

Families can swim in scenic Goguac Lake, or build sandcastles on the groomed beach.

After swimming, enjoy a picnic under the pavilion, explore the playground, or take in a game of volleyball. Restrooms are easy to access, and concessions are available during beach operating season.

Michigan Beaches: Ionia County 

37 – Ionia State Recreation Area

2880 West David Hwy, Ionia, MI, 48846

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Visit the beaches of Sessions Lake in the heart of the Ionia State Recreation Area and be sure to explore all the park has to offer.

Michigan Beaches: Kent County

38 – Millennium Park

1415 Maynard Ave SW, Walker, MI 49534

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Well worth the fee, your family can enjoy the beach, splash pad, and even boating rentals like paddle boats or SUP at Millennium Park .

The Van Andel Beach House includes a concession stand, locker and changing rooms, restrooms, and there are picnic tables throughout the plaza.

This is one of the best beaches for kids in the Grand Rapids area.

millennium park grand rapids Michigan best beaches for kids
Millennium Park in Grand Rapids, MI, is a great place to spend the day

39 – Myers Lake Park

7350 Hessler Dr NE, Rockford, MI 49341

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

With shady picnic areas, a nice beach, fishing spots, and a fantastic playground, Myers Lake has it all.

It even has bathrooms (with changing areas) that are close to the beach, which is super helpful with little ones!

Definitely one of the best beaches for kids on an inland lake.

myers lake park Rockford best beaches for kids
With so many things to do, Myers Lake Park in Rockford, MI, is one of the best beaches for kids

40 – Versluis Park

3650 Versluis Park NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Versluis Park features playground areas, picnic facilities, horseshoes & volleyball, beach and swimming areas with lifeguard stations, bathhouse, fishing pier, boating, and one mile of paved walking trail.

Admission is required to visit this beach area.

Another one of the best beaches for kids.

versluis park beach
With calm waters and lifeguard stations, Versluis Park in Grand Rapids, MI, is one of the best beaches for kids

41 – Wabasis Lake

11220 Springhill Dr, Greenville, MI 48838

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Nestled among rolling hills and woods, you’ll find a public beach, a four-lane boat ramp, various sports facilities, shelters and picnic areas available for rent, and trails with many lake views.

Michigan Beaches: Kalamazoo County

42 – Ramona Park

8600 S Sprinkle Rd, Portage, MI 49002

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

A local favorite and one of the best beaches for kids.

There’s a huge playground if the weather takes a turn. You can rent out kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards.

Ramona Park also sports a fully-staffed and lifeguarded beach, concessions, and the park has plenty of room for picnicking.

Note: Flotation and other water toys are not permitted during beach operating season. Free admission to Portage residents.

best beaches Ramona beach portage
Kalamazoo locals love Ramona Beach in Portage, MI, making it one of the best beaches for kids

42 – Markin Glen County Park

5300 N Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49004

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Markin Glen has a small and beautiful sandy beach with shallow water, perfect for younger ones.

No concessions available, but there are picnic shelters perfect for a family picnic that overlook the lake.

43 – Prairie View County Park

899 E U Ave, Vicksburg, MI 49097

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Prairie View is less crowded than the other beaches. Its shallow water makes this one of the best beaches for kids.

Kids run down a hill to the lake at the bottom, and there’s plenty of shade to hide from the sun.

The restrooms are at the top of the hill from the lake, as well as a slide and a few swings.

Prairie View County Park in Vicksburg, MI, has calm, shallow waters, perfect for young kids

44 – Cold Brook County Park

14467 E MN Ave, Climax, MI 49034

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Cold Brook offers a small beach, which is perfect for younger kids. The entire park has a rustic feel, including the beach and restrooms.

45 – Ross Township Park

Gull Lake Dr E, Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

If you’re looking for a nice lake to swim, but don’t mind a smaller beachfront, Ross Township Park is for you. There’s no lifeguard or concessions. Kids have tons of space to run around post-swimming.

46 – Fort Custer Recreation Area

5163 Fort Custer Dr, Augusta, MI 49012

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Visit Eagle Lake for the beautiful sandy beach and the swimming. This beach has a beach house with changing rooms and canoe rentals.

Michigan Beaches: Newaygo County

47 – Fremont Lake Park

955 Cottage Grove Ave, Fremont, MI 49412

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

With a beach area, playground, bathroom facilities, shuffleboard and volleyball courts, and boat launch, Fremont Lake Park makes for a fun day of swimming and water play.

Michigan Beaches: Ottawa County

48 – Grose Park

22200 24th Ave, Casnovia, MI 49318

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

This small beachfront on Crockery Lake near Casnovia, offers a nearby shaded playground as well as bathroom facilities, a fishing dock, plenty of picnic tables and grills, and nature trails to hike.

Michigan Beaches: Ingham County

49 – Hawk Island

1601 E Cavanaugh Rd, Lansing, MI 48910

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Hawk Island can easily be called a family haven because of the splash pad and lake/beach, plus boat rentals and biking and hiking trails through the grounds.

Parking fee

50 – Lake Lansing South

1621 Pike St, Haslett, MI 48840

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

This park on Lake Lansing includes a public beach, trails, huge wooden playground, lots of room to run around, and a three-wheeler track with bikes included. 

Parking fee

Hawk Island Beach Kids water playground
Hawk Island Park in Lansing, MI

51 – Valhalla Park

2287 Pine Tree Rd, Holt, MI 48842

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

This is a nice local spot to swim and play at the park.

52 – Park Lake

6064-6274 Park Lake Rd, Bath Twp, MI 48808

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

This small local beach is located across the street from Wiswasser Playground and next door to a chocolate and ice cream shop where you can rent boats, making it an all-around family fun experience.

53 – Burchfield Park

881 Grovenburg Rd, Holt, MI 48842

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

This beach is nestled in the middle of a huge lovely park and is FREE to swim.

54 – Sleepy Hollow State Park

7835 E Price Rd, Laingsburg, MI 48848

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Sleepy Hollow State Park is open year-round. Buoys up from Memorial Day Weekend – Mid September and is free to swim.

55 – Motz Park

4630 N DeWitt Road, St. Johns, MI 48879

Why It’s One of the Best Michigan Beaches:

Motz Park is a local family favorite and free to play and swim.

Lake Huron Beaches

If we had to describe Lake Huron in one phrase it would be a breezy, beautiful retreat! Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are so beautifully diverse that you can’t compare them. They are two stand-alone wonders.

Bay City State Park, Saginaw Bay near Saginaw, MI

Lake Huron lends to unique leisure where the windy roar of the water is the perfect background music to the searching of rocks and shells, kite flying, and swimming into the deep blue.

Best Lake Huron Beaches for Families

56 – Bay City State Park

3582 State Park Dr, Bay City, MI 48706

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Huron Beaches:

Bay City State Park has it all. There is a mega wooden playground, splash pad, hiking trails, bathrooms, with a boardwalk leading you to the beachfront.

Bay City State Park, Saginaw Bay near Saginaw, MI

57 – Lakeport State Park

7605 Lakeshore Rd, Fort Gratiot Twp, MI 48059

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Huron Beaches:

This family-friendly beach is just as it sounds. It’s stripped down to the basics perfect for a day of peaceful simplicity.

58 – Patrick Tierney Park

7353 Simons St, Lexington, MI 48450

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Huron Beaches:

Patrick Tierney Park is lovely and a great place to venture on a day trip because it’s so close to Port Huron amenities. The walking pier and boat harbor rest directly next to the public beach. Plan ahead for music in the park.

Lake Huron

59 – Port Sanilac Area

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Huron Beaches:

Home to three public beaches! You’ll find a park, kayak launches, great views, and all types of family adventure.

60 – Tawas Point Beach State Park

686 Tawas Beach Rd, East Tawas MI, 48730

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Huron Beaches:

If you’re looking to be awed by your state, Tawas Point Beach State Park is the place to go! The gorgeous blues are breathtaking.

61 – Port Crescent State Park

1775 Port Austin Rd, Port Austin MI, 48467

Why It’s One of the Best Lake Huron Beaches:

The sunset here is incredible and what we call beach extraordinaire! Port Crescent State Park is both an awesome place for kids (and adults) and right down the road from Caseville.

5 Tips for a Fun Family Day at the Beach

Ready for the best beach day ever? We’ve got a list of awesome beach hacks. Five more bonus hacks are below!

1 – Use Your Sled to Haul Items to the Beach

Hauling too much stuff gives everyone beach burn out! Dig out your winter sled… really!

Load all your beach supplies into a sled for an easy pull across the hot sand.

2 – Freeze Fruit

Freeze grapes and watermelon ahead of time for a healthy frozen snack that will keep your kids and your lunch cool.

3 – Bring the Baby Powder

Pack baby powder even if you’re out of the diaper stage. Sprinkle baby powder on any wet sand stuck on your kids. The powder helps dry the sand, making it easy and painless to brush off. Leave the sand at the beach and keep it out of the minivan!

4 – Check Conditions First

Before you head out to the beach, be sure to check out lake conditions, weather, and marine forecasts here.

5 – Sunscreen Before You Leave

Get the first coat of sunscreen on at home and suit up under your clothes before you leave.

Things to Do at the Beach

1 – Find Treasure

Grab a metal detector and see what metal treasures you can find beneath the sand on the best beaches in Michigan. You might find some coins, but it’s even more fun to discover other objects and dream about what they are and who lost them. 

Create a list ahead of time, grab some empty pails and send the kids on a beach treasure hunt. They can search for items like sticks, shells, and feathers that will fit inside their sand pail.


2 – Play a Game

Try a game of Frisbee golf. Use your Frisbee for a game of Beach Frisbee Golf. Find some objects like one of your beach towels and take turns seeing who can get the Frisbee to land closest to it. Remember to let little ones stand closer to the target.

Have a relay race with your sand shovels and pails. Kids (and adults) grab a shovel and run to get some water in it. Then race it back and dump the water in the pail.

Play a game of beach volleyball. Older kids and adults will enjoy using a real net and volleyball and playing a traditional game. Younger kids can use a beach ball and a towel and count how many times they can volley the ball back and forth without hitting the towel.

Grab a stick and draw a hopscotch board in the sand. Use rocks or shells for markers.

3 – Sand Sculptures Here We Come

Engage in beach activity: build a sand castle. Gather up shovels, pails and tools in different shapes and sizes and see who can build the best (or biggest or tallest or coolest) sand castle. Find some shells, stones and sticks to decorate your creations. Don’t forget to add a moat! 

For a fun twist, try creating a drip castle. Build a base for your castle and then get fistfuls of really, really wet sand. Turn your sand-filled hand down towards your base and then let some of the mixture in your hand drip down through your fingers. This will make some awesome stalagmite creations.

best lake michigan beaches - grand haven state park

4 – Fly a Kite

Lake Michigan beaches have a great breeze. Take advantage of the wind and bring along your kites. Take turns to see who can get the kite the highest or keep it in the air the longest – but watch out for fellow beach-goers.

Giant kites at Grand Haven Kite Festival

5 – Bury Someone

Who wants to get really sandy? Dig a hole in the sand and have that person sit or lay down in it and cover them with sand. Make sure your volunteer has actually volunteered for the job and don’t bury their head or face. See what kinds of cool designs you can make in the sand on top of and around them.

best beaches lake michigan - pioneer park muskegon

6 – The Best Beach Days Involve Food

The best beaches in Michigan are also the best places for the yummiest, messiest foods. Load up the coolers and picnic baskets with watermelon, cheese puffs and PB&J sandwiches. Dig in and get messy!

7 – Cozy Up with a Good Book

Some of the best beaches in Michigan have nice shady spots. Bring along a camp chair and your favorite paperback and dive into a great book.

There’s nothing quite like reading a great book while the warm breeze gently blows around you and the sounds of kids playing and the waves in the water nearby become background noise.

If you decide to read in the sun, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen before you lose track of time.

8 – Make an Evening of It – Catch a Sunset

Arrive later in the day and spend the late afternoon and evening on the beach. Stay to watch a breathtaking sunset over the water.

lake michigan sunset

9 – Build a Collection

Grab an empty sand pail and go for a walk along the beach. Look for interesting shells and rocks to take home for memories of a great day. Look for different kinds on different days or just gather your favorites. If you visit one of the Northern Michigan beaches, be sure to search for Petoskey stones.

hunting on the rock beach lake michigan magoon creek manistee

The Ultimate Beach Packing List  

Ready to head out for a great day at one of the best beaches in Michigan, but aren’t sure what to bring? Check out this handy checklist of Beach Day Essentials. Specific needs will vary based on the ages of your family members.

  • Sunscreen
  • Picnic Blanket
  • Coolers with ice packs
  • Food and snacks
  • Water
  • Swimsuits, rash guards, cover-ups
  • Sunhats
  • Sunglasses
  • Swim diapers
  • Beach towels
  • Empty grocery bag to use for trash plus a second for wet items
  • Ziploc bags for phones to protect them from water and sand
  • Damp washcloth inside of a Ziploc bag
  • Baby powder to get sand off
  • Sand toys: pails of varying sizes and shapes, rakes, shovels, strainers, molds
  • Squirt guns
  • Rafts
  • Frisbees
  • Bubbles
  • Tablecloth and clips
  • Beach chairs
  • Puddle jumpers / Life Jackets
  • Sun tent / umbrella

20 thoughts on “61 Astounding Sugar Sand Lake Michigan Beaches & Inland Lakes”

  1. Grose park in casnovia has a nice lake grills and play ground and pavilion it’s in casnovia ,myers lake park in Rockford has a nice lake 2 different size jungle gyms ,grills , changing area , pavilion, love them both not to busy since there out in the country.

  2. What do you qualify as West Michigan? There are many small beaches open to public not listed. For example Kent County has Myers Lake, Wabasis Lake, and Pebble Beach not to mention ones farther north Bass Lake. Ionia has Sessions. I know the site is called grkids but the heading for this tab says West Michigan beach guide. Slightly misleading. Just confused since GH and Muskegon made the list.. Are you doing a radius from GR?

  3. I find Pere Marquette Beach to be considerably less busy than most of the beaches on the list. Parking is never an issue, plus you can walk both the pier and the channel (down to the U.S.S. Silversides). Pere Marquette is by far our favorite beach!

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  5. Grand Haven is nice beach, but twice this summer,we’ve been unable to get to beach, due to parking lot too full. Might as well just go somewhere else…

    Summer fun idea. Get a State Park pass and go ‘beach hopping’ We went to 5 beaches and walked 2 piers on one day. It was SO much FUN!!! No one got ‘tired’ of where we were!

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  7. We like the North Shore Beach in Grand Haven as well. Not as far to walk to get to the lake and the playground is visible from where we’re sitting on the beach.

  8. Amy Fett via Facebook

    Duck Lake is perfect for kids. The channel is shallow, my 2 and 6 year old kids love to swim there. We live 30 minutes away, but it is well worth the drive. We will be there tomorrow!

  9. Great tip about the sled!! I also want to put my $.02 in for Ludington State park. I know it is a haul but it’s one of my favorite of the beaches, and if you are going to go crazy – Wilderness State Park is great (almost to the bridge).

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