Top 11 Places to Watch a Michigan Sunset
Do you want to watch a sunset in Michigan, and see the beautiful colors light up the evening sky?
It’s no secret that Michigan has some of the best sunsets around, from northern Michigan’s remote scenery to southwest Michigan’s best beaches.
There’s hardly a bad view anywhere, but there are certainly some phenomenal spots where sunset viewing takes your breath away. From the shores of Lake Michigan in St. Joseph to Traverse City and the Upper Peninsula, there are endless places to see the watch the sunset over Lake Michigan.
Wherever you are or wherever you’re going you can catch the sunset from a spectacular place. Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy the sunset in Michigan.
Wherever you are or wherever you’re going, you can catch the sunset from a spectacular place throughout the state. While the sunrise and sunset times change every day, you’re can always count on a beautiful sunset in Michigan.
Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy the sunset in Michigan.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire
Sleeping Bear Dunes is a favored Michigan destination for all times and seasons – and for good reason. There’s never a bad time to stop by Empire or take a drive up to Sleeping Bear Dunes, but the sunsets here are simply incredible.
You’ll see some truly awe-inspiring views whether you’re watching the sun go down from atop the dune climb, or from the shores of Empire Beach. Empire is also popular for surfers on the Great Lakes, meaning you may get to see a few catch their final waves of the day at dusk.
Big Sable Lighthouse, Ludington
Big Sable Lighthouse and all that surrounds it looks like something from a painting. The lighthouse itself sits just off Lake Michigan’s shoreline, surrounded by remote beaches and steep bluffs.
A brief hike through Ludington State Park to see this secluded lighthouse at sunset will be well worth the trip. Wait for a while after sunset to see a different kind of lightshow when the stars come out over Lake Michigan.
PRO-TIP: Ludington, in Mason County, is one of Michigan’s top travel destinations. You’ll find wide Lake Michigan beaches and sand dunes to roam, too.
Sleeper State Park, Caseville
The sun may set in the west, but there are still amazing places in eastern Michigan to watch day become night. In The Thumb, Caseville is home to Albert E. Sleeper State Park, the perfect spot to watch the sun go down over Lake Huron’s, Saginaw Bay.
The bay minimizes wind and waves, meaning the reflections of the sunset on the water are some of the most incredible you may have ever seen on the Great Lakes. The sunset over Lake Huron is always a draw for both residents and visitors alike.
Sugarloaf Mountain, Marquette
While most Michigan sunsets are views from a lakeshore, Sugarloaf Mountain offers something different. Just north of Marquette, Sugarloaf Mountain stands a staggering 470 feet over Lake Superior, giving the standard lakeside view a big boost in elevation.
This higher elevation means grander panoramic views of a gorgeous upper peninsula sunset. The hike is short, but steep, and absolutely worth the view.
The views from Mackinac Island are unlike any other in the state and there’s hardly a bad viewpoint. Enjoy the view from a waterfront dining spot or go on a quest for the best remote place on the island.
Watching the sun set over the Straits of Mackinac will leave you speechless, especially when the dusk settles as the Mighty Mackinac Bridge glows in the distance. Rent some bicycles and ride westbound on Lake Shore Drive until you hit the rocky shores for the best spot on the island.
Take a walk along the shores of Petoskey, find yourself a Petoskey stone, one of Michigan’s most iconic state symbols, and watch one of the greatest sunsets of your life on Little Traverse Bay.
Stay on the shores near town or head to Petoskey State Park at the edge of the bay for an extra special view of the sunset. There’s simply almost nothing more “Pure Michigan” than that.
Lake St. Clair
While it isn’t one of the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair is often still considered the “Heart of the Great Lakes.” Its location between the St. Clair River and the Detroit River means Lake St. Clair is a necessary stop for water moving through the Great Lakes system and a perfect place to watch the sunset in Southeast Michigan. Those with a boat can get an especially unique view from the water as the sun sets over Metro Detroit.
South Haven is among the most iconic small Michigan beach towns. With its North Beach and South Beach split by the Black River, there are plenty of spots to find a good view of the sunset.
The larger North Beach offers wider views across the horizon, but South Beach is where you can find the South Haven Lighthouse, which looks fantastic when the light of the setting sun emphasizes the silhouette of the lighthouse and pier.
PRO-TIP: South Haven is one of Michigan’s top travel destinations, with some of Michigan’s prettiest beaches. Use our Guide to South Haven Hotels if you plan to stay overnight. And don’t forget to check in on some of the amazing South Haven wineries.
Capitol Building, Lansing
You don’t need to be on the coasts to enjoy a beautiful sunset in Michigan. Sometimes, all you need is an amazing location inland and the Capitol Building in Lansing is just that. Michigan’s Capitol Building is nearly dead center in the middle of the state, but its magnificence makes it stand out, especially at sunset, as the night sky begins to form and the Capitol is illuminated, making its stark white glow almost golden and stand out against the twilight.
Detroit, Michigan is a unique city full of history, hardship, and a redemption story like no other. Watching the sunset in the city is unlike anywhere else in the state. Here, you are surrounded by art deco skyscrapers that cast shadows through the city as the sun sets behind them. Make a night of it and stop by a local restaurant for dinner then watch the sun go down from Hart Plaza of Campus Martius along the Detroit Riverwalk.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a Michigan treasure. The rocky cliff sides get their colorful name from the streaks of mineral stain that create a stunning array of colors that paint the stone. If you think they’re colorful during the day, wait until the sun begins to set over Lake Superior.
The blazing oranges, reds, and yellows reflect off the Pictured Rocks in the most striking way, making them somehow more vibrant than before. The best way to see this is from the water, so grab your kayak and get out there for a view unlike anywhere else in the world.
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About the Author-
Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor for mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school. She is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.