Discover 15 Best Harbors and Marinas in Michigan
With more than 3,000 miles of coastline and more than 80 harbors and marinas in Michigan, it’s safe to say boating is big in Michigan.
In fact, boating is standard practice for many people during the summers in Michigan.
Thousands of boaters flock to the thousands of lakes that make up this great state on warm weekdays and weekends.Several of the most popular travel destinations in Michigan are near or on some lakes, whether it’s one of the Great Lakes or one of our more than 11,000 inland lakes.
Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful harbors and marinas in the U.S., allowing boaters to park their boat while they go and enjoy the unique lake towns Michigan has to offer. Michigan marinas and harbors can also be overnight hotels for boaters with bigger boats to stay in.
Here is our list of 15 top boating harbors and marina in Michigan. Scroll to the bottom for a handy map for when you are planning either your next vacation or boat trip for the summer!
About Harbons and Marinas in Michigan
Before we get into the list, let’s fully understand what a harbor is. A harbor is a place on the coast of either larger lakes or the oceans where boats may find shelter. This could be to stay the night, avoid bad weather, or explore coastal towns. A marina is located in a harbor and offers dockage and other service for small or pleasure craft.
Top Lake Huron Marinas and Harbors
Straits State Harbor
Mackinaw City, MI
The Straits State Harbor is a gorgeous harbor in the middle of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan in Mackinaw City. This harbor is made for bigger boats to explore the Great Lakes but also can accommodate smaller boats.
The Straits is one of the best places to watch the sunset while getting a great view of the mighty Mackinac Bridge. The harbor also allows boaters to explore Mackinaw Cities shops and excellent restaurants. The Straits is a recommended stop by many boaters if you are on your way to Mackinac Island.
IF YOU GO: If you’re looking or a hotel for the evening to explore this busy area, you can use our guide to the best places to stay in Mackinaw City, for more in-depth descriptions. We like the Clarion Hotel Beachfront and the Crown Choice Inn and Suites Waterfront.
Presque Isle State Harbor
Presque Isle, MI
Presque Isle State Harbor offers the best of what Michigan offers its locals and tourists. This harbor provides some of the best views in the state, no matter the season.
Presque Isle State Harbor is another place that many flock to not only to state the night but also to watch the sunset. This harbor is made for all boat types but is most popular with sail boaters and fishers. There is a rich history to this harbor, and you can explore this history along with the two Presque Isle Lighthouses on tours of the area.
Located in charming Harrisville, between Oscoda and Alpena on Lake Huron’s “Sunrise Side,” the Harrisville Harbor is a quiet and well-appointed harbor. You’ll find 72 slips, a comfy lounge with a fireplace and warm coffee every morning at this super-clean spot in northern Michigan.
It’s an easy walk (or ride on one of the complementary bikes) into the cute downtown, and you’ll find weekly entertainment here, too. If you’ve got little ones, there’s a big, new play structure that will keep your kids entertained for hours.
Lexington State Harbor
When entering Lexington State Harbor, boaters are greeted by sandy white beaches and views that will have you questioning what state you are in. There are docking slips for all boats, and the harbor has its own marina.
Lexington State Harbor has the amenities to refuel and for overnight stays. The harbor also has a fish cleaning station for fishing boats. Lexington is a beautiful town and makes for the perfect overnight stay for boaters and their families. Lots of lovely shops and restaurants line the streets of Lexington with staff ready to give you the ultimate beach town experience.
Port Sanilac Marina
Port Sanilac MI
Located along Lake Huron’s Blue Thumb Coast north of Port Huron, Port Sanilac Municipal Harbor features 64 boat slips, a cozy lounge, a courtesy vehicle, and a beautiful park with a dog run and more.
It’s just one block from quaint downtown Port Sanilac. There’s a historical village to explore and the Port Sanilac Lighthouse is nearby. The local shops and restaurants are all within walking distance of the harbor, too.
Harbors and Marinas in Michigan: Lake Michigan
Bay Harbor Lake Marina
Bay Harbor, MI
Bay Harbor is widely considered “The Hamptons of Northern Michigan,” and the Bay Harbor Lake Marina is no exception. It’s probably the best harbor and marina in Michigan that offers boaters a high-class premium experience.
This Harbor has dock spaces for every kind of boat and allows boaters to reverse dock spaces. The marina has several amenities, fishing charters, an in-water boat show every June, and hotels on property.
Bay Harbor is also one of Michigan’s most popular wedding destinations and venues, along with some of the top real estate. If you are planning a boat trip to Lake Michigan, I highly suggest making Bay Harbor Marina one of the stops on your list.
IF YOU GO: You’ll want to spend some time relaxing and soaking up the beauty of this stunning area on Little Traverse Bay. Check out the Cottages at Bay Harbor if you’re looking for a place to stretch out and pamper yourself a bit. Take your pick of the roomy, well-appointed cottages with a gorgeous outdoor pool overlooking the bay.
Harbor Springs, MI
When you think of top harbors in Michigan 9 times out of 10, Harbor Springs is the first place that pops into your mind. This coastal town makes for a great boat trip with some of the best views and docking. The marina has tons of docking space and the same amenities as Emerald Harbor!
With white sandy beaches and white caps rolling in the distance on windy days, Harbor Springs will have you questioning if you are in Michigan or the Carolinas. There are several restaurants for families to enjoy, along with quaint shops that will have you wanting to buy the entire store.
Charlevoix Harbor is breathtaking, with picturesque views of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. Charlevoix becomes a hot spot for boaters during the warmer months and is highly recommended by all travel advisory companies.
This is hands down my favorite place to travel by boat and is one of my favorite coastal towns in the state of Michigan to explore. There are tons of marinas in this harbor with long lists of amenities to make your stay in Charlevoix everything you could wish for.
IF YOU GO: Have you heard of Charlevoix’s “Mushroom Houses?” If you’re in the area, you might want to take the opportunity to stay overnight in one of the architectureal wonders designed by Earl Young.
Leland Harbor is another favorite for avid boaters in Michigan. This harbor is outstandingly gorgeous and allows visitors to venture through the historic town of Leland, popularly known as “Fishtown.” Leland is a popular destination best known for its fisheries and seafood restaurants, making its harbor popular among fishing boats and their crews.
The Harbor has amenities such as laundry, showers, oil, fuel, pump outs, electric services, and 61 dock slips ranging from 30 to 45 feet depending on boat size.
There are many excellent shops along the docks and even a fishery shop where you can see how fish is filleted and packaged to send off to restaurants and stores around the state and the country.
More Lake Michigan Marinas
Safe Harbor Great Lakes
Safe Harbor Great Lakes is located on the coast of Lake Michigan in Muskegon. This harbor is popular among fishers and has several hook measurers posted around the docks to show off the big catches.
Safe Harbor accommodates all types of boats and is located in one of the most popular coastal towns in Michigan. This harbor makes for a great stop to refuel and grab a bite. Safe Harbor also offers several services for boat maintenance or improvements if needed.
St. Joseph Harbor
St. Joseph, MI
St. Joseph Harbor is a gorgeous harbor located on the coast of Lake Michigan. Two unique lighthouses on the point of the harbor stand tall as they greet thousands of boaters each summer. The Lighthouses are also a great welcome to the town of St. Joseph.
St. Joseph is a historic town with canals that run through it, making it easy for boaters to explore and view this wonderful place from their boats. To learn more about this breathtaking harbor and town, check out out guide to the best things to do in St. Joe’s.
IF YOU GO: This is one west Michigan beachtown that you’ll want to spend some time exploring. If you need to stretch your legs, we love the Inn at Harbor Shores. The rooms are clean and spacious, but what we love best is the lovely spa and beautiful indoor and outdoor pools.
South Haven Harbor
South Haven, MI
South Haven is yet another popular summer boating destination for Michiganders. Several hundred boats come in and out of the South Haven Harbor daily. Like most harbors, South Haven has a striking red lighthouse that is a staple for this harbor.
The harbor canal runs into the town, where there are outstanding marinas with amenities for all your boating needs and services. Once docked, you can explore the fantastic city of South Haven with several adorable shops and restaurants needed in any excellent beach town.
IF YOU GO: This is a another spot where you’ll want to stay a few days to see everything in this very walkable town. The Old Harbor Inn is overlooking the harbor and is a long-time favorite of boaters in the area because it’s so close to everything. It’s a clean, spacious and friendly spot.
Lake St. Clair Harbors and Marinas
Emerald City Harbor
St. Clair Shores, MI
Emerald City Harbor is located on Lake St. Clair in St. Clair Shores, MI. It’s one of the largest harbors on a non- great lake. There are 500 docking wells, and a few are covered for when there is bad weather.
This Harbor is one of the best in the state with a service center, heated inside storage, bathhouses, showers, marine store, full electric and water, and a boat/ yacht brokerage if you want to buy or sell a boat.
Not only does this harbor have tons of amenities, but it’s also beautiful and is a top spot to stay during one of the biggest boat parties in Michigan: The Lake St. Clair world-record breaking boat tie-off.
Marinas in Michigan: Lake Superior
Grand Marais Harbor
Grand Marais, MI
Grand Marais Harbor is a gem of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Like Lexington State Harbor, the sandy white beaches make one question whether one is in Michigan. Grand Marais, the gateway to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, may be smaller than the other harbors, but it is still one of the most beautiful places in the state.
The deep blue waters and white sandy beaches make Grand Marais one of the best boating spots in Michigan. Grand Marais is also mostly privately owned docking, so when planning a trip, make sure to call the marinas in the area to see if they have any available slots.
Copper Harbor State Harbor
Copper Harbor, MI
Copper Harbor, located at the top of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the western Upper Peninsula, is a popular travel destination among outdoor enthusiasts. Copper Harbor is the place for you if you love to sail or drive big boats and love the outdoors.
Copper Harbor State Harbor and the surrounding marinas are great places to stay when wanting to have a unique experience exploring the beautiful UP wilderness. While staying in Copper Harbor, you can enjoy the cool water of Lake Superior or park your boat and explore the miles of hiking trails in the area!
Map of Marinas in Michigan
More Amazing Things to Do in Michigan
About The Author ~
Emily Lance is a Content Creator for mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the small town of Dexter, Michigan, just outside Ann Arbor, and is currently attending Michigan State University. She majors in Journalism with a focus in Sports journalism and Media Relations and a minor in Media Photography. Emily loves writing and taking photographs/videos of her surroundings and travels. Emily likes to explore new places, kayak, ski, and go boating in her free time.