Michigan is the Ultimate Beach State
We are spoiled in West Michigan. Our backyard has mile after mile of the most pristine shoreline and beaches that help us remember what play time is all about.
Okay, I admit it– Tim Allen’s voice has seeped into my brain. But there is nothing more “Pure Michigan” or pure family than a day digging your toes into the sand! Be lazy, be playful, and just be at the beach.
5 Tips for Beach Fun With Kids
1. Hauling too much stuff gives mom and dad beach burn out! Dig out your winter sled… really! Load all of your beach supplies into a sled for an easy pull across the hot sand.
2. Freeze grapes and watermelon ahead of time for a healthy frozen snack that will keep your kids and your lunch cool.
3. 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. Before you head out to the beach, be sure to check out lake conditions, weather, and marine forecasts here!
5. Get the first coat of sunscreen on at home and suit up under your clothes before you leave.
FAVORITE LAKE MICHIGAN BEACHES
Grand Haven City Beach | Parents love the location of this beach and its proximity to restaurants and 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 | 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! Wondering what to expect? Check their real-time weather conditions before you head out.
North Beach Park | Featuring a dune deck with scenic lake views. A reader says, “Not as far to walk to get to the lake and the playground is visible from where we’re sitting on the beach.”
Rosy Mound Natural Area | 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.
Holland State Park | I personally love this beach because of its ramps that make traveling from parking lot to shoreline less of a hassle. This is a popular beach with facilities that include restrooms, beach house, food concessions, picnic areas, playground, sand volleyball courts, and boat launch.
Tunnel Park | This beach is a family favorite due to its unique tunnel through a dune, 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.
Duck Lake State Park | This day-use park that includes picnic area, beach house, and boat launch. This park was recommended by a GRKids.com family member as “perfect for the whole family” and another says, “not just a hangout for teens, either.”
Kruse Park | 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 | This beach has two miles of shoreline to dig into! Expect to find restrooms beach house, picnic area, playground, and boat launch. I find this park to be breathtakingly beautiful and well worth the drive every time.
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park | 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 | 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.
Lake Harbor Beach | 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.
Charles Mears State Park | 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 | Offering scenic vistas of sand dunes and mile upon mile of shoreline, “Families especially appreciate the park’s Hamlin Lake Beach for its calm waters, sandy shore, playground, picnic shelter, restrooms, and concessions,” says VisitLudington.com.
Stearns Park Beach | Also known as Ludington City Beach, the city’s largest beach offers free parking and now, wi-fi. The lighthouse is a popular spot, with a surrounding area ripe for exploration, also offers tours.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park | A perfect destination for families looking for a more rustic and secluded beach. The beach has two-and-a-half miles of shore line including dunes over 200 feet tall. The facilities are limited to a picnic shelter and tables.
Oval Beach | 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. This beach also comes with several recommendations from the Grand Rapids Kids family, as well as National Geographic!
Pier Cove Beach | Expect limited parking at this 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 in. Be wary on the stairs though as poison ivy has been spotted frequently along here.
Kirk Park | With 68 acres of sandy beach, this park has bathrooms, a playground, picnic area (including grills), and plenty of dunes to run down.
Can’t make it out to the lake shore? Then try some of these family favorite inland beaches!
Ionia State Recreation Area | 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.
Millennium Park | With a huge stamp of approval from the Grand Rapids Kids family, this amazing park has a six acre beach and a large enclosed splash pad. Well worth the fee, your family can enjoy the beach, splash pad, and even boating rentals like paddle boats or SUP. The Van Andel Beach House houses a concession stand, locker and changing rooms, restrooms, and there are picnic tables throughout the plaza.
Myers Lake Park | 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!
Versluis Park | Another beach recommended by several GRKids.com families. The 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.
Wabasis Lake | 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.
Fremont Lake Park | With a beach area, playground, bathroom facilities, shuffleboard and volleyball courts, and a boat launch make for a fun day of swimming and water play.
Grose Park | This small beach front on Crockery Lake near Casnovia, offers a nearby shaded playground as well as bathroom facilities, a fishing dock, plenty of picnictables and grills, and nature trails to hike.