- Michigan Rock Hunting Guide
- Interactive Map of 15 Top Spots for Michigan Rock Hunting
- Michigan Rockhounding Laws and Regulations
- Best Beaches for Rock Collecting in Northwest Michigan
- Best Beaches for Rockhounding in Northeast Michigan
- Best Beaches for Rockhounding in Southwest Michigan
- Best Beaches for Rock Hunting in Southeast Michigan
- Best Rock Hunting Beaches in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Michigan Rock Hunting Guide
If you’re a Michigan rockhounder, you’re going to want to check out this list of the top spots for rock hunting in Michigan.
Michigan is home to more than 3000 miles of Great Lakes coastline, which means miles of beaches for rockhounding in Michigan.
While we all know that Michigan beaches are amazing spots for relaxing in the sand, the beaches in Michigan are also great spots for fossil hunting, collecting rocks and minerals, and even brightly colored beach glasses.
Beaches for Rock Hunting in Michigan
The best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan allow rock enthusiasts to discover Petoskey Stones (hexagonaria percarinata), agates, chlorastrolite, chalcedony and other historical rocks. Michigan is one of the best states for rock hunting thanks to the surrounding Great Lakes and the state’s geological history, which includes mining for economically valuable minerals.
- While every Michigan rock hunting fan has their favorite spots and special rockhounding locations, we’re sharing some top spots for finding Petoskey stones, Leelanau Blues, Yooperlite, Chert, Jasper, and many other rocks and minerals in Michigan.
This is our Michigan rock hunting guide, a carefully curated collection of some of our favorite places for looking for Petoskey stones and all of the other special rocks that make Michigan special.
Whether it’s your first time digging through the sand for rocks or if you are a well-versed “rock hunter,” use this list of the 15+ best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan for your next rock-hunting adventure.
PRO-TIP: Be sure to use our Interactive Map of the top Beaches in Michigan for Rockhounding!
Michigan Rockhounding Laws and Regulations
Michigan law states that almost all Great Lake shorelines are accessible for rock hunting. Remember to pay attention to tides, uneven grounds and other hazards when rock hunting. Also, you can only take 25 pounds of rock per year from Michigan state land, so if you are a frequent rock hunter, be sure to space out your pickings!
Be mindful of private property and stay on public land when rockhounding in Michigan. Your can check with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for more clarification.
Best Beaches for Rock Collecting in Northwest Michigan
Van’s Beach, Leland
The first stop on our best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan tour is Van’s Beach in Leland. Located just north of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the scenic Leelanau Peninsula, Leland is a popular Michigan travel destination.
One of Michigan’s more famous rock-hunting beaches, Van’s Beach features Leland Blue stones, a byproduct of smelting, left over from the Leland Lake Superior Iron Company that operated here in the late 1800s.
This slag, which ranges from blue, purple, gray and green, still litters Van’s Beach, adding to the multiple rock variations available for rock enthusiasts.
It takes a while to spot the slag, but once you do, rock enthusiasts can spend their early summer mornings searching for the bright-colored rocks.
Not a morning person? This best rock-hunting beach in Michigan’s slag is also more easily found in the spring in fall, specifically after a strong storm.
Point Betsie Lighthouse Beach, Frankfort
Right off of the much-loved Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort is our next destination for the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan. Point Betsie Beach has many interesting rocks, including Petoskey and Charlevoix stones, chain coral, quartz and slag.
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, this is one of the top Lake Michigan beaches for Great Lakes rockhounding, especially for finding bits of fossilized coral, aka the Petoskey Stone and Charlevoix Stone.
Some of the rocks here are over 4 billion years old, so if you find one, you could be the first person to pick up the fossil in billions of years. Talk about making your historical mark!
Peterson Park, Northport
Located at the tip of Northern Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, Peterson Park is easily one of the gems of the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan. With a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, rock lovers can spot rocks literally everywhere on Peterson Park’s rocky quarter-mile of shoreline.
What are the gems in this area? Some Petoskey Stones, some jasper, some slag and many other pretty stones. So make sure to stop at Peterson Park, and while you’re here, enjoy the wonder of the most visited recreational area in the state.
Christmas Cove, Northport
Also in Northport, Christmas Cove Beach is home to various rock types, most interestingly favosites, Leland Blues and Frankfort Greens.
Christmas Cove is Peterson Parks’s sandier, more (geographically) peaceful cousin, but overall still one of the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan. Some rockhounds report finding several Petoskey stones and even rare pieces of unakite.
One catch: the parking lot is beginning to erode, so accessing the beach is, and will become, more difficult.
Petoskey State Park, Petoskey
Petoskey State Park is second on the list of best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan, known for the state’s stone — the Petoskey stone — and its lesser-known cousin, the Charlevoix stone.
Michigan rock enthusiasts can travel along the shores of the Petoskey State Park on Lake Michigan, a hot spot for the stones.
PRO-TIP: Find a stretch of Petoskey State Park that’s uncrowded and somewhat rocky, and try to go right after a big storm, which can churn up some stone deposits!
Best Beaches for Rockhounding in Northeast Michigan
Huron Shores Roadside Park, Cheboygan County
Home to an abundance of pudding stones varying in size from a pebble to palm-size, Huron Shores Roadside Park is the spot to visit if you are looking for the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan.
Aside from the pudding stones, this beach offers a plethora of Petoskey stones, as well as a variety of many different Michigan stones like limestone. Outside of the rock-hunting opportunities, the view of Lake Huron is beautiful along this coast, so it’s definitely worth a visit!
P.H. Hoeft State Park, Rogers City
Named after known lumberman and businessman Paul H. Hoeft, P.H. Hoeft Beach offers a few miles of beachfront home to various pretty stones.
This multi-activity beach allows rock lovers to swim in Lake Michigan, walk along the maintained trails and, of course, find fossils, pudding stones, and other Michigan rocks. Plus, it doubles as a camping site with over 120 locations to rest and begin rock-hounding again the following day.
Rockport State Recreation Area, Alpena
Michigan’s 100th State Park opened in 2012 and instantly became one of the best (and most distinctive!) rock-hunting beaches in Michigan.
Previously an old quarry, Rockport State Recreation Area is a rock lover’s paradise with various coral fossils and other aquatic organism fossils.
The rocky and rugged landscape makes it the perfect breeding ground for large pudding stones on the banks and limestone around the water-filled sinkholes.
If the rocks aren’t enough, the crystal clear waters of Lake Huron and the unique hiking experience make Rockport the place for both novice and experienced rock-hunters.
Best Beaches for Rockhounding in Southwest Michigan
Deerlick Creek Park, South Haven
This location on our best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan list is one of the few areas where you can find an abundance of Lake Michigan separation nodules, better known as lightning stones.
Along the rocky shoreline of Deerlick Creek in South Haven, Lake Michigan dumps stone deposits such as stray coral fossils, blue slag glass and the famed Petoskey stones. With only 50 yards of the beach, this small rock-hunting beach is perfect for the novice rockhound!
Pier Cove Park, Allegan County
While Pier Cove Park near Saugatuck isn’t home to too many rare rocks, this beach has many pretty stones.
Which ones? Dark black basalt, stripped sandstone, freckled granite and bright limestone are easy catches on one of the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan. Keep looking, and rock lovers can find Septarian Brown Stones, identified by their “cracked egg” appearance.
Albeit a small beach with only ten parking spots, Pier Cove is the perfect place to take a nice beach walk and pick up some stones.
Best Beaches for Rock Hunting in Southeast Michigan
Lakeport State Park, Lakeport
Lakeport State Park Beach is in southeast Michigan, along Michigan’s “Blue Thumb Coast.” This portion of the state is still full of the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan, where rockhounds can find chert, quartz, granite and other fossils.
Lakeport State Park is worth checking out for some of Michigan’s oldest physical history. Sandstone is particularly popular here, where Native Americans carved the Petroglyphs. You may find a spare piece separated from the large slab if you’re lucky.
Best Rock Hunting Beaches in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Agate Beach (Grand Marais Public Beach), Grand Marais
The rocks are in the name, and the Lake Superior Agate is one of the red hot, sought-after prizes for a Michigan rockhounder.
Agate Beach has bright red rocks along Lake Superior and is the best rock-hunting beach in Michigan to hunt for agates. Alongside the abundance of common but pretty rocks, such as green and pinkish-red unakites and quartz, Agate Beach offers breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Remember that rock-hunting is forbidden once you enter the National Lakeshore, so pay attention to the signage. Also, bring your boots; Lake Superior is pretty chilly, even in the summer!
Calumet Waterworks Park, Calumet Township
Rocks galore! Calumet Waterworks Park is easily one of the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan and many rock enthusiasts’ favorite rock beach.
Calumet is just south of Copper Harbor, a popular Michigan travel destination in the Keweenaw Peninsula, especially in autumn when the fall colors come alive.
Rare agates are common-ish here, along with dozens of pretty stones to decorate the Lake Superior shore. If you’re lucky in your rock-hunting adventure, you can even find a yooperlite, a syenite similar to granite that glows vibrant orange or yellow under UV light.
When it’s dark, the beach can transport you to an otherworldly experience of rock-hunting.
Whitefish Point Beach, Whitefish Point
Agates. Jasperlites. Unakite. These are all available for rock lovers who travel to Whitefish Point along the shores of Lake Superior.
Along with the breathtaking scenery, this beach features a rarity among this list of best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan: it is entirely accessible by paved roads. The Eastern Upper Peninsula is one of the best places for rock-hunting in the state, so visit Whitefish Point Beach for rocks’ sake.
Muskallonge Lake State Park, Newberry
Another Eastern Upper Peninsula gem that’s one of the best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan is Muskallonge Lake State Park. Again, with Muskallonge being along Lake Superior, small pieces of agates and large chunks of unakites are abundant on the beach if you look hard enough.
Muskallonge is also a camping site, so you can rock hunt, sleep in a comfy tent, then wake up and rock hunt again as Lake Superior continues to deposit stones on the rocky beach.
Mouth of the Two Hearted River, Luce County
Rounding up the end of the list of best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan is the remote beach along the Two Hearted River that dumps into Lake Superior. The Two Hearted River was a favorite stomping ground for writer Ernest Hemingway, who who memorializes the river in a popular “Nick Adams” story.
The river meanders almost parallel to Lake Superior, creating a peninsula full of quartz, chert, unakite and even rare agate. Traveling to this beach requires some dedication, but the view of one of the prettiest streams in the state is worth it, even if you return empty-handed.
Rock-hunting is a tried-and-true activity along the Great Lakes, and these best rock-hunting beaches in Michigan are the key to building your rock collection. But remember, rock-hunting is based mainly on luck and patience, so visit these locations and more, and sooner or later, you’ll reach your annual 25-pound limit easily!
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About the Author-
SaMya Overall is a Content Writer at mymichiganbeach.com. She is a fourth-year graduating senior at Michigan State University. She currently works as Editor-in-Chief of The State News, Michigan State’s award-winning student media company. Prior to becoming EIC, she worked as a campus reporter and copy chief at The State News. She’s passionate about Detroit and its surrounding area, and is a low-key collegiate sports lover on her free time.