8 Michigan Rock Hunting Places You Want to Know About Right Now

rock hunting beaches in Michigan

The Best Michigan Rock Hunting Beaches

Rock hunting beaches in Michigan? You bet!

While the state is known for its sandy dunes and sugar sand beaches along the west coast, the Mitten State is also home to some of the best beaches for rock hunting.

rock hunting beaches in Michigan

Whether you’re on a quest for the famed Petoskey stone or just scouting for cool rocks and fossils, Michigan’s beaches can be a great hunting ground.

And although some seasoned rockhounds might not want to reveal their secret rock hunting spots, most are the friendly type – so we’re hoping newcomers are welcomed.

So get your gear ready, we’re sharing the nitty-gritty details, from the types of rocks you can find to the parking facilities.

And as we explore more, we’ll keep updating this rock hunting beaches treasure map, so stay tuned!

PS- Please follow all rock collecting rules on your adventures!

Rockport State Recreation Area

Alpena, MI 49707

Located on Lake Huron, this former rock quarry was once booming with mining and shipping activity. Today, you can dig up remnants of old fish and coral that are trapped here, fossilized in the limestone in the quarry.

You are allowed to take home up to 25 pounds of fossils/rocks per person per year.

Rockport State Park Michigan

Rock Hunting Finds: Petoskey stones, other Devonian Period fossils

Restrooms: Vault toilets

Parking: Plenty of paved parking spots. State of Michigan recreation pass required.

Fisherman’s Island State Park

Bell’s Bay Rd, Charlevoix, MI 49720

Fisherman Island State Park in Charlevoix is a fantastic place to find Charlevoix Stones. With six uninterrupted miles of rocky Lake Michigan shoreline to peruse, you’re likely to come away with at least a couple of the treasured stones.

charlevoix stone
Charlevoix Stone

Rock Hunting Finds: Charlevoix stones, Petoskey stones

Restrooms: Vault toilets

Parking: Usually not crowded. Park on pull outs along the main road through the campground or near the park entrance. State of Michigan recreation pass required.

Magoon Creek Natural Area

2925 Red Apple Rd, Manistee, MI 49660

Magoon Creek is a blast, although you do need to get yourself down the bluff.

From the rock hunting on the beach to the clay cliffs along the back of the beach, there’s a lot to keep you entertained. (Kids love playing with clay just about as much as they like hunting for treasure rocks.)

Magoon Creek Rock Hunting Beach in Michigan

Once you’re down on the beach, head north to the creek outlet. You might have to wade around fallen trees. The creek is shallow, clear, sparkling and a whole lot of fun for kids to splash in.

Rock Hunting Finds: Petoskey stones, beach glass, jasper, agate, and other beautiful stones

Pro Tips: Some visitors report that the beach is a little easier to access via adjacent Sundling Park at 2925 Red Apple Rd, Manistee, MI 49660, just north of Magoon Creek.

Rock Hunting Magoon Creek Natural Area
Beach at Magoon Creek Natural Area

Parking: Lots of space. Magoon Creek Park has two parking areas, both accessed by the same drive.

The parking area in the north is improved and features the vault toilets and picnic tables. The south parking area is packed earth and serves as an entrance to the hiking trails. Both trails are about equidistant from the beach entrance.

Restroom: Vault toilet

Petoskey State Park

2475 M-119 Hwy, Petoskey, MI 49770

Petoskey State Park is located between Harbor Springs and Petoskey. It is nestled into the north end of the Little Traverse Bay and offers access to over 300 scenic acres and the sandy beach along Lake Michigan.

Petoskey State Park is a great place to go if you’re hunting for Petoskey or Charlevoix Stones.

Petoskey State Parks searching for Petoskey Stones

Petoskey State Park offers 1 mile of beach along the lake and there is even a designated metal detecting area!

Rock Hunting Finds: Charlevoix stones, Petoskey stones

Kid-Friendly: Got little ones? The beach here is family-friendly. Your kiddos can wade into the water or play in the sand along the shoreline.

Pro Tips: Bring goggles or a dive mask to look for stones in the water. Please note: pets are not allowed along the lakeshore due to piping plover habitat.

Parking: There is ample parking available and a State Park recreation pass is required.

Restroom: Modern restrooms and vaulted toilets.

Pier Cove Park

2290 Lakeshore Dr, Fennville, MI 49408

Pier Cove Park near Saugatuck MI is a rock hunting destination.

While small, the beach can be packed with “lightning stones” or Septarians.

The veins in these rocks sparkle in the sunlight, making them seem almost magical.

Lightning Stone at Pier Cove Beach

You have good chance of discovering one these unique stones here and you might find other types of rocks, like Petoskey stones here, too.

The park features a small creek running into Lake Michigan, making it an excellent playground for kids. Another fun pastime? Stroll a bit past the tunnel and you’re in an ideal frog-catching spot.

Rock Hunting Finds: Lightning stones, Petoskey stones

Kid-Friendly: Got little ones? The park has a small creek that runs into Lake Michigan – a nice kiddie pool.

Pro Tips: Don’t forget your water shoes – the water here is rocky. Sorry, dog parents, no pups allowed here.

Parking: Limited to around 10 spots. If full, park at West Side County Park and walk (0.9 mile). The beach is just about 15 steps down from the parking area.

Restroom: There’s a porta-potty in the parking lot.

Deerlick Creek Park

76773 13th Ave, South Haven, MI 49090

At Deerlick Creek Beach, it seems like everyone’s here for the rocks!

Kids will have a blast scouring the creek and Lake Michigan’s shoreline for rocks. A creek flowing into Lake Michigan adds to the charm, though you’ll have to cross it to reach the lake, using the small rock bridges built by visitors.

Rock Hunting Finds: Beach glass, coral fossils, Petoskey stones, lightning stones

Pro Tips: Wear water shoes or something sturdy for your feet – it’s all rocks and no sand. Bonus: the beach is dog-friendly.

Parking: Limited beachside parking (about 12 spots). There’s more space about a 0.5 mile down the road. You’re only a small sand dune away from the beach! Bonus: there’s no parking fee.

Restroom: There’s a porta-potty in the parking lot.

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

18th Ave, South Haven, MI 49090

Head to Pilgrim Haven Natural Area if you’re after larger rocks and geodes. With dunes to jump off, and giant rocks to climb, this 27-acre public preserve is a favorite!

If you want to take a break from rockhounding, several easy trails wind through the woods and grassy area leading to Lake Michigan.

Rocky Beach at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area
Rocky Beach at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

Rock Hunting Finds: Geodes, Beach glass, coral fossils, Petoskey stones, lightning stones

PSA: The Land Conservancy overseeing this area asks visitors to Help keep the beach rocky at Pilgrim Haven! They state, “Please remember that visitors are allowed to collect a small number of rocks for study or as souvenirs, but may not remove large quantities of rocks (such as 5-gallon buckets).”

Pro Tips: Swimming here can be tricky. Our kids played in the waves, but got cut up when they were pushed into the rocks.

Parking: Plenty of spots available, and a short, paved path stroll gets you to the beach. Pilgrim Haven Natural area is open from dawn to dusk with no admission fee.

Restroom: Pit toilet available.

Peterson Park

10001 E Peterson Park Rd, Northport, MI 49670

Peterson Park on the Leelanau Peninsula is a fabulous destination if you like looking for Petoskey stones or Leland Blue.

Peterson Park Leelanau Peninsula Rock Hunting Beach
Rocky Beach at Peterson Park

Rock Hunting Finds: Leland Blue, Petoskey stones

Pro Tips: For best results, go after a storm has tossed the beach. Bring a bucket so you can scoop water to wet the dry stones.

Parking: Gravel lot, can get crowded

Restroom: Portable toilet in the parking lot.

Best Rocks to hunt for in Michigan

Petoskey Stones: The state stone of Michigan since 1965, Petoskey stones are fossilized coral that lived 350 million years ago. They have a unique honeycomb pattern that becomes highly visible when wet or polished.

Charlevoix Stones: Similar to Petoskey stones, Charlevoix stones are another type of fossilized coral, but they display a different pattern. Found near Charlevoix, MI, they are less common than Petoskey stones, which makes them a real find for rock hunters.

Charlevoix stones

Puddingstones: A Puddingstone, also called a conglomerate, is a type of rock that is made up of a bunch of different smaller rocks, pebbles, or even boulders that have been cemented together. You can think of it kind of like a hard, rocky version of a chocolate chip cookie: Replace the chips with a mixture of rocks/minerals. Replace the cookie dough with a rocky “cement” and you have a conglomerate.

Agates: Have you found a Lake Superior Agate? Lucky you! Primarily found in the Upper Peninsula, agates are beautiful semi-precious gemstones known for their bright colors and internal banding patterns.

Copper Specimens: Veins of copper run through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In fact the Keweenaw Peninsula is also known as Copper Country. Copper was originally mined by Native Americans thousands of years ago, followed by modern operations that would extract massive chunks of copper. Today, you can still find copper nuggets in this area, especially at old mine dump locations or a pay-to-dig place like Caledonia Copper Mine (202 Ontonagon St, Ontonagon, MI 49953)

Leland Blue Stones: The glassy-looking blue-tinted stones, are typically found near Leland, Michigan. They were formed in the 1800s when lake water was used to cool molten rock (think lava!) in the steel-making process and are officially a type of slag. Originally considered trash, Leland Blue is now sought after, as are some other local slags – you might find colored slag rocks in Elk Rapids, Frankfort, Marquette, and anywhere else an iron ore furnace operated.

Septarians: Septarians are a special type of concretion containing yellow-white calcite and aragonite, among other things. What started as balls of clay at the bottom of an ocean millions of years ago, over time, formed cracks that were eventually filled with calcite.

Septarians at Pier Cove Park

Yooperlites: These glow-in-the dark rocks are found with a UV flashlight and are most often acquired in the Upper Peninsula.

Greenstones (Chlorastrolite): The official state gem of Michigan, greenstones, are highly prized by rock collectors. This special rock is ONLY found in a small region of the state: Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Your Rock Hunting Stories

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