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30 Best Michigan Beaches to Explore 2023: Beach Vacation Travel Guide UPDATED

Best Michigan beaches -- 30 best beaches in Michigan

30 Best Beaches in Michigan: Michigan Beaches Travel Guide 2023 UPDATED

Looking for the best beaches in Michigan?

You’re in the right place. Michigan’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the country.

The reason is simple: the wide, sandy beaches of Michigan’s Great Lakes are almost Caribbean-like; with a Cape Cod feel of summertime vacation fun. Think clear, aqua blue-striped water; towering sand dunes and fun, friendly beach towns waiting for you to explore…all the ingredients for a perfect beach day.

With a freshwater coastline almost 3,200 miles long, the stunning beaches of the Great Lakes State are a best-kept secret. But we’re sharing some of the best beaches to visit in Michigan with your very own beach bucket list.

From Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the lower peninsula, this is natural, pure Michigan beauty at its best.

Read on to discover more than 30 of Michigan’s best beaches (and beach towns, too). You can also scroll to the Bottom for the Map of 30 BEST Michigan Beaches!

Best Michigan beach
Sleeping Bear Bay in Glen Arbor

Find The Top Beaches in Michigan: Plan Your Michigan Beach Vacation

New to the Great Lakes? During the summer months, the shallow water along the many miles of shoreline warms quickly under the hot sun – just right for swimming and splashing, paddle boarding or kayaking.

When the weather starts to change in the fall and the water starts to cool, the famous Great Lakes waves begin rolling in. Whether you’re watching the waves fiercely pound the shoreline or you’re kitesurfing the swells, Michigan beaches are magnificent in the autumn, too.

There are thousands of lakes in Michigan. If you’re looking for more of the best Michigan beaches, use the Vacation Travel Guide to Lake Michigan or the Vacation Travel Guide to Lake Huron for more detailed information.

best family beaches in michigan

30 Best Beaches in Michigan

Need a perfect summer trip idea?

Many of Michigan’s best beaches are within an easy driving distance for those in the Midwest looking to plan a perfect beach getaway. These pure Michigan public beaches are the perfect spot for a family Michigan vacation or romantic getaway.

Sure, there are many tourist attractions worth checking out, however, you may never want to leave the beach. Sunbathing on pristine sugar-sand beaches and swimming in the crystal-clear freshwater of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior or Lake Erie is just around the corner…

Another awesome beach bonus?

There are no sharks and no salt in Michigan’s Great Lakes! Read on to discover some amazing Michigan beaches and beach towns for fun family vacations, quiet couple’s getaways, or a quick day trip.

In no specific order, here are some of the best beaches in Michigan:

Best Michigan beach in Grand haven Mi
Grand Haven Pier

30. Grand Haven, MI

West Michigan beaches are renown for their beauty and fun beach town vibe, and Grand Haven is no different.

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Grand Haven offers not one but two spectacular beaches in its downtown area. Both Grand Haven City Beach and Grand Haven State Park – with a wide range of amenities to keep you comfortable all day long – are within walking distance to the Grand Haven Pier and two red lighthouses. These are wide, white sand beaches with picnic tables, volleyball courts and play structures for kids.

The Grand Haven beaches are ADA accessible, too. The wide, paved pathways offer easy access to the Lake Michigan shoreline for users of mobility devices.

A Michigan beach town destination not far from bustling Grand Rapids, MI, the Grand Haven’s cute downtown area is chock-full of fun during the busy summer months. Grand Haven is a dog-friendly town: most stores in the downtown area offer water bowls for a refreshing treat for your pet. Stick around until the evening and catch the light show at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain.

WHERE TO STAY: There are a few hotels we always love to stay at when we visit Grand Haven, and you might enjoy them, too. The Harbor House Inn is a charming bed and breakfast directly across from the boardwalk, it’s a perfect location for enjoying both the beach and the downtown area. We also like the Holiday Inn in Spring Lake, just a short drive over the bridge. This is a clean and comfortable spot with alot of amenities, like the beautuful indoor-outdor pool.

sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore best beach

29. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Beaches

Named one of the most beautiful places in the United States, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore is located along 35 miles of stunning Lake Michigan shoreline. You’ll find many public beaches nestled in among the dunes; use our Guide to the Best Beaches in Sleeping Bear Dunes for our favorite beaches in the park.

Think clear, azure blue water and soft sugar sand beaches for relaxing, endless hiking and biking trails perfect for exploring, and sand dunes towering 450 feet. Everyone can enjoy the dunes: accessibility to the Lake Michigan shoreline is available through the use of the park’s free Track Wheelchairs.

From most point along the shoreline, you can gaze out the Manitou Islands in the distance. There’s access via passenger ferry to North Manitou Island and South Manitou Island in the nearby town of Leland.

In addition to Lake Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has some of the most beautiful and clear inland lakes in the entire country: Crystal Lake, Glen Lake, Platte Lake, and Lake Leelanau are all located nearby. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore is a perfect spot for families of all ages; you’ll love the pristine shoreline and lush landscapes as well as the surrounding beach towns of Frankfort, Empire, Glen Arbor, and Leland.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT: Don’t miss Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor, home of the best burger in northern Michigan. you’ll also want to check out the Sylvan Inn, a beautiful bed and breakfast. It’s located indowntown Glen Arbor and is just two blocks to Sleeping Bear Bay. The M22 Inn is exceptionally clean and comfortable, and a perfect location for exploring the dunes and downtown Glen Arbor.

28. Lexington, MI

Set on the sandy shores of Lake Huron on the Blue Thumb Coast, the quietly quaint town of Lexington is a great spot to relax and unwind all summer long.

Within walking distance of downtown Lake Huron, the beach at Lexington State Harbor offers a walkable pier that reaches out into the sparkling blue waters as well as a playground and restroom facilities. Downtown Lexington has a comfortable and low-key resort-town feel.

Filled with affordable restaurants, ice cream shops, and cute boutiques, Lexington is an easy drive from the metro Detroit area.

Drive north along Lake Huron’s coast on M-25 and you’ll find roadside parks with quiet, secluded lakeside beaches and sweeping vistas of Lake Huron. Head farther north to the Lake Huron harbor towns of Port Sanilac and Harbor Beach and take time to explore these uniquely peaceful and picturesque pure Michigan towns.

WHERE TO STAY: You’ll want to stay on the beach if possible, so check out this clean and updated two bedroom cottage. It’s very comfortably decorated; light, airy and updated. The wide, furnished deck overlooking the Lake Huron beaches is pretty amazing, too.

port crescent sate park
Port Crescent State Park

27. Port Crescent State Park

Just north of Caseville at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb, you’ll find some of the only sand dunes on Lake Huron at beautiful Port Crescent State Park. Set on the shores of Saginaw Bay, it is home to three miles of sandy shoreline with trails, including wooden boardwalk for users of wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

On sunny summer days, you’ll find families, couples, and other beach goers quietly enjoying the clear, shallow water of Lake Huron. The rolling landscape of Port Crescent State Park is also home to campgrounds and a dark sky preserve: Lake Huron is the perfect backdrop for watching the wide, starry sky on the beach and listening to the waves gently lapping onto the shore.

With the nearby towns of Caseville and Port Austin providing options for lodging, dining, shopping, and a variety of other activities, Port Crescent State Park is one of Michigan’s best beach destinations.

warren dunes state park
Warren Dunes State Park

26. Warren Dunes State Park

Naturally beautiful Warren Dunes State Park beach, just north of New Buffalo, is one of Michigan’s most popular state parks. Set in southwest Michigan on the shores of sparkling blue Lake Michigan, the Warren Dunes beach offers almost 2,000 acres of recreational opportunity for all ages and abilities.

The park offers the use of two beach wheelchairs to access the shoreline, too.

Tower Hill, one of the largest sand dunes, is perfect for climbing to enjoy the scenic views of Lake Michigan, and the pet-friendly shoreline is a great spot to bring dogs. Warren Dunes State Park is a full-service state park with many amenities: both campsites and cabins rentals are available.

The nearby towns of St. Joseph and New Buffalo, are both some of Michigan’s most popular beach towns, and located along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, too.

WHERE TO STAY: You can choose from standard rooms, a studio or a private cottage at the New Buffalo Inn and Spa. This comfortable and clean inn is located in downtown New Buffalo and just a short drive to the beach. The Fairfield Inn and Suites is a solid choice, too: clean and comfortable with a nice breakfast served each morning. It’s just a 15 minute drive to the Warren Dunes State Park.

pj hoffmaster state park- michigan beaches
Dunes at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park

25. Hoffmaster State Park Beach

With three miles of sandy coastline along Lake Michigan and miles of wonderful hiking trails, P. J. Hoffmaster State Park is a beach-goers delight. Towering dunes slope down into the clear blue water of Lake Michigan, and the Gillette Nature Center provides information on the surrounding flora and fauna.

Take in the panoramic views of this naturally beautiful stretch of west Michigan coastline from the observation deck, and explore the numerous hiking trails. You might even be lucky enough to catch sight of migrating songbirds including sparrows, warblers, and thrushes: P. J. Hoffmaster State Park is truly a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Located just five miles north of Grand Haven, this ADA accessible state park offers everything needed for a great day at the beach, including a wide, sandy beach, restrooms, camping, grills, picnic tables, picnic shelter, volleyball, and more.

PRO-TIP: After you’ve explored P. J. Hoffmaster State Park beach, travel a few miles farther north to find Pere Marquette beach in Muskegon.

Oscoda beach park
Oscoda Beach Park

24. Oscoda Beach Park

This simply lovely park in the city of Oscoda is truly a gem on the shores of Lake Huron. The wide, sandy beach is set just a block away from cute downtown Oscoda – making it an easy walk for an ice cream cone or other treat.

In addition to being completely wheelchair accessible down to the shoreline, you can also stroll along the short boardwalk to the pier along the lakefront to the paved pier- a favorite spot for fishermen of all ages and abilities.

What we like best, though, is the shallow water along the shoreline that is perfect for swimming and splashing.

Oscoda Beach Park is a best-kept secret among Michigan’s Great Lakes beaches, offering many fun and family-friendly activities such as a Splash Pad, a playground, picnic area, skateboard park, basketball court, pavilion, grills, benches, and a bathhouse. There is also a band shell under the tall trees for summer concerts and events.

WHERE TO STAY: Gold Coast Family Cottages are located directly on Lake Huron beach. You’ll find cozy two bedroom cottages with a comfy living room and a terrace. Oscoda Lakeside Hotel is also beachfront, with clean, standard hotel rooms and an indoor pool. You’ll find a continental breakfast here daily, too.

Empire Mi beach
Beach in Empire MI

23. Empire Beach in Empire, MI

You’ll find Empire Beach near downtown Empire, MI, right in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The stunning natural beauty of the area attracts large crowds of both tourists and locals, and there’s always plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the sand.

One of the prettiest beaches along the Lake Michigan coastline, Empire Beach is dog-friendly, too.

It is also very family-friendly: there is plenty of parking just steps from the beach and a children’s play structure for climbing – making it a perfect spot to enjoy a day relaxing on the sand with your children and pets.

The Michigan beach town of Empire is a great starting point to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and you can visit a variety of beaches in the area – both active and secluded. Some of the nearby popular beach spots include Esch Road Beach, Peterson Beach, Platte River Point, and Good Harbor Bay Beach.

PRO-TIP: Need MORE beaches? Head to Traverse City, about 30 miles east of Empire. This popular beach town on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay is home to many beautiful public beaches. Use our Guide to the Best Beaches in Traverse City for more detailed information.

WHERE TO STAY: The Empire Lakeshore Inn is a favorte of mine: it’s exceptionally clean and cozy. Located in downtown, it’s just an eight-minute walk to beautiful Empire Beach.

Splash Park at Mich-E-Kw-Wis Beachfront Park in Alpena
Splash Park at Mich-E-Kw-Wis Beachfront Park in Alpena

22. Mich-E-Ke-Wis Park

Set on the shores of Lake Huron in Alpena, this pretty park is a must-stop if you’re in the area. The water along the shoreline is shallow here. This allows the clear waters to warm quickly under the hot sun, making it a perfect spot to splash and play in the gentle surf.

Swimming and sunbathing are only some of the fun activities in store at Mich-E-Ke-Wis Park: you’ll find a splash pad, youth/women’s ball fields, playground equipment, a BMX bike park, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, picnic area, beach, off-street parking, and an enclosed park shelter building which is used for social events.

The paved pathway along the shoreline allows for accessibility for those using wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Mich-E-K-Wis is dog-friendly: leashed dogs are allowed, and there are many cottage and cabin rentals close by if you’re seeking accommodations.

PRO-TIP: This is only one of many beautiful beaches along this scenic stretch of Lake Huron coastline. Use our Guide to Alpena Beaches for more beaches worth visiting.

WHERE TO STAY: The Days Inn here is really nice. It’s updated, clean and there’s an indoor, too. The Holiday Inn Express is a solid choice, too, with an indoor pool and sun terrace. Both are located are just about 10 minutes from the beach.

st. Joseph Best beaches

21. Tiscornia Beach in St. Joseph

It’s the lighthouse and the pier that are the stars of this beautiful beach in popular St. Joe’s. This 16-acre park in St. Joseph is the perfect spot for a beach day with family and friends. Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, family-friendly Tiscornia Beach is one of the most popular beaches in southwest Michigan.

The resort town of St. Joseph is one of Michigan’s most popular vacation destinations, and with good reason. Known as the “Riviera of the Midwest,” St. Joseph is one of the best family-friendly beaches in the country.

Be sure and visit the North Pier Lighthouse and walkway: it’s a perfect spot for fishing and watching sunsets.

ultimate guide to silver beach in st joseph mi

20. Silver Beach in St. Joseph

Silver Beach is the most popular beach in St. Joseph, a town with many great beaches, and that’s saying something. From swimming and splashing in the water to kayaking and paddleboarding; from playing in the spray at the giant splash pad to sand volleyball, there’s something for everyone here.

Although Silver Beach is a popular vacation spot, it doesn’t get as crowded as you’d think. With 2,450 feet of beach there is plenty of space for you and your family to spread out and enjoy yourselves without worrying about any crowds.

WHERE TO STAY: St. Joseph Michigan is a perfect spot for family vacation, romantic getaway or even just a quick road trip. The Inn at Harbor Shores is a full-service hotel: you’ll find a spa, salon, fitness center and golf course at this waterfront hotel. There’s also a restauraunt on site, and two pools. It’s a very clean and comfortable spot in a perfect location. The Hilton Inn Benton Harbor is just five minutes away from both Silver Beach and Tiscornia Park, too. It’s clean, and offers an indoor pool and breakfast.

best beaches in rogers city

19. Rogers City

Also known as the “Nautical City,” the quaint little town of Rogers City is set along the shores of Lake Huron. Lakeside Park in downtown Rogers City features 10 acres bordering Lake Huron featuring the Rogers City Marina; a swimming beach with volleyball courts; playgrounds; basketball courts; and a large pavilion. The water here is the prettiest, aqua blue color.

Rogers City is also an outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana: fishermen flock to the area (also called the “Salmon Capital of Michigan”), and bikers can explore the Huron Sunrise Trail. This bike trail travels through Rogers City and up the Lake Huron coastline, offering ten miles of spectacular views.

Nearby 40 Mile Point Lighthouse and P. H. Hoeft State Park are must-see’s if you’re in the area.

PRO-TIP: You’re not far from Cheboygan (and Cheboygan State Park Beach) or Mackinac Island; both spots are worth a side-trip. The Mackinaw City Beach offers great views of the Mackinac Bridge from the shores, too.

WHERE TO STAY: The Purple Martin Inn is located just a one-minute walk from the beautiful Lake Huron beach. It’s a cozy and clean bed and breakfast has a beautiful sun porch and delicous breakfast, too.

oval beach in Saugatuck
Oval Beach in Saugatuck MI

18. Oval Beach

With a wide, sandy beach backing up to low, coastal dunes, and an expansive, sparkling blue Lake Michigan, you’ll fall in love with nature’s beauty at this gorgeous beach.

Ranked by Conde Nast’s Traveler magazine as one of the “top 25 beaches in the world,” this stunning west Michigan beach is truly something special. It’s definitely one of the best freshwater beaches in the world, too: just ask anyone who has ever been there.

Oval Beach is special, and you’ll fall in love with this cozy west Michigan beach…we promise.

17. Saugatuck Dunes State Park

This gorgeous, secluded strip of beach along Lake Michigan features three miles of stunning shoreline. Located in the busy little beach town of Saugatuck, this beach includes dunes that rise 200 feet before sloping down to the clear freshwater of Lake Michigan.

Spend the day sunbathing and splashing in the surf or explore the 13 miles of hiking trails over the sandy hills; the family-friendly park also attracts nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike.

WHERE TO STAY: This is one spot that you are going to want to stay overnight. Use our guide to the best places to Stay in Saugatuck, MI or check out a couple of our favorites, like the Blue Star Motel. Don’t be fooled by the minimalist approach at this boutique motel in Sauagtuck, the Blue Star offers clean and comfortable accomodations in a convenient location.

silver lake beaches

16. Silver Lake State Park

Set between the beach towns of Ludington and Muskegon, Silver Lake State Park is right in the middle of the amazing Silver Lake Sand Dunes. The dunes features 3,000 acres along more than four miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline and are the only sand dunes open to riding Off-Road Vehicles (ORV ‘s) east of the Mississippi.

This family-friendly state park is ADA-accessible and features a wide swimming beach as well as hiking trails and fishing. If you visit, be aware that although it is a long walk to the Lake Michigan beach, off-road vehicles are available for rent and you can drive straight over the dunes and onto the beach.

south haven
South Haven

15. South Beach South Haven

The gorgeous little beach town of South Haven is a vacation paradise, and the lovely South Beach park just adds to the allure of the area. This family-friendly beach park on the shores of Lake Michigan in the southwest corner of the state is one of the area’s most-visited beaches: visitors flock to wide, soft sand beaches and clear blue waters year after year.

Walk along the South Beach Pier that juts out into the water or rent a paddleboard from the vendors on the beach. The wide, paved pathways allow access for users of wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the nearby skateboard park and splash pad.

If you visit, be sure and head toward the beach at dusk to watch a beautiful Lake Michigan sunset. Additionally, you can find other great beaches in our post on the best beaches in the South Haven area.

point betsie beach in frankfort mi
Point Betsie in Frankfort MI

14. Frankfort

Simply beautiful Frankfort is the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, surrounded by gentle sand bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. Pristine beaches and breathtaking sunsets are hallmarks of this area, as is the Caribbean-blue Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan Beach, just steps from downtown Frankfort is a highlight of the area. You’ll find loads of comfortable benches (and even swings) along the beach, perfect for catching a Lake Michigan sunset.

Frankfort is the quintessential Michigan beach town, complete with T-shirt shops, cafes and boutiques for meandering.Walk along the pier to the Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse and then take a drive about 10 minutes north to the iconic Point Betsie Light.

13. Charlevoix

They call it “Charlevoix the Beautiful” and it certainly lives up to its name: pretty baskets spilling over with flowers line the streets and the scent of freshly-made fudge and other sweet treats waft out of the shops.

At this Lake Michigan beach, you’ll find Charlevoix’s South Pier Lighthouse as well as a playground, snack shack, restrooms, trails, stand up paddleboard rentals, picnic pavilion, and everything else needed for a family-friendly day at the beach.

Spend time exploring the Lake Michigan shoreline and watch for Petoskey Stones, the fossilized coral pieces that are Michigan’s state stone and a coveted collector’s item.

You can find a guide to all of the beautiful beaches of Charlevoix, including Fisherman’s Island State Park and Mt. McSauba, in our Ultimate Guide to Charlevoix beaches.

best michigan beaches
Photo by Ryan McChesney

12. McCarty’s Cove

This much-loved beach spot is one a favorite of Marquette, MI locals and tourists alike.

It’s Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at its best: where else can you bask on the sandy shores of Lake Superior while gazing at a picturesque red lighthouse in the distance?

Located not far from downtown Marquette, you’ll find hiking and biking trails, a wide, sandy beach with a lifeguard, volleyball, picnic benches and more.

While you’re there, spend some time exploring downtown Marquette.

The largest city in the U.P., Marquette is an outdoor paradise with fun downtown featuring breweries, boutiques and more.

top things to do in copper harbor mi

11. Hunters Point Park

You’ll need sandals or beach shoes for this stretch of Lake Superior shoreline in Copper Harbor.

A mix of large boulders and smooth red rocks, this is a spot meant for a full day of beach exploration and hiking. As you walk the wooded path to Lake Superior, you’ll find thick patches of wild thimbleberries before the trail widens to this stunningly beautiful bay.

Hunters Point Park is at the tip of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula: it’s a place of wild natural flora and fauna.

It may not be a sandy beach, but it’s truly worth the trip. Gazing out into Lake Superior in this remote area, you’ll feel that you’re at the edge of the world.

The nearby historic town of Copper Harbor is fun, too. You’ll find an all season resort town and outdoor-lovers paradise.

10. Orchard Beach State Park

9. Great Sand Bay in Eagle River

8. Miners Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

7. Carl D. Bradley Lakeview Memorial Park – Manistique Beach in Manistique, MI

6. Cheboygan State Park Beach in Cheboygan

5. Wilderness State Park in Carp Lake

4. Stearns Park in Ludington

3. William Sterling State Park in Monroe

2. Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor

1. Tawas Point State Park in East Tawas

map of best michigan Beaches

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Julie Atherton

Sunday 17th of July 2022

Love all Michigan beaches we have most beautiful lakes and beaches around. Grand transverse bay just beautiful 😍

My Michigan Beach Team

Sunday 17th of July 2022

Hi Julie! Thanks so much for reaching out! We completely agree: all of our beaches are simply amazing! Grand Traverse Bay is gorgeous, too! Happy Michigan Beaching :)!