If you’re looking for your next beach getaway, we highly recommend checking out the incredible Lake Michigan, Torch Lake, and Lake Huron beaches. Lakeside Michigan beaches offer some of the prettiest places in the country to cool off, have summer fun, and enjoy incredible views.
Are you ready to plan your next beach vacation? Let us help you find your next lakeside destination with a list of the 15 best beaches in Michigan. Whether you’re looking to kick back and relax at a quiet lake beach, participate in water sports, or explore a lively beach town, we’ve got something for everyone!
1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire
Sleeping Bear Dunes is most known for bluffs, a popular vantage point for scenic views from up to 450 feet above Lake Michigan. The park has luscious forests, crystal clear waters, a handful of picturesque and historic villages, and even an island lighthouse.
With 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, there are plenty of sandy beaches to enjoy at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Visitors appreciate opportunities for sunbathing, playing in the waves, swimming, and walking. If you’re looking for more adventure, you can enjoy kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, and tubing.
Around the park, you can also explore excellent hiking trails through the forest and visit the Manitou Islands. Amenities throughout the park vary based on specific beachfront. But, none of the beaches at Sleeping Bear have lifeguards on duty. However, you can find restrooms and picnic areas.
If you’re looking to spend more than a day, there are several campgrounds around Sleeping Bear Dunes.
2. Pere Marquette Beach, Muskegon
Pere Marquette Park Beach is a vibrant area with plenty to do. Its activity-filled location makes it one of the best metro beaches in Michigan and visitors love the white sandy beach.
The surf is raked every day and is a common spot for adventure sports like kiteboarders, kayakers, and paddleboarders. The beach is great for walking, relaxing, and playing sand volleyball. Many visitors enjoy strolling to the lighthouse, too.
There are plenty of conveniences at the beach, including restrooms, a handicapped walkway, picnic areas, and rescue boards with safety equipment. Surrounding Pere Marquette, you can find nearby restaurants, shops, and bars.
If you’re looking to take a Lake Michigan beach vacation, this is the perfect spot! There are plenty of hotels and other rentals in the area.
3. Grand Haven City Beach, Grand Haven
Grand Haven City Beach is one of the best beaches in Michigan for families. Pets and children alike love playing on the sandy shoreline along Lake Michigan.
Grand Haven is the ideal spot to splash in the water, build sandcastles and bask in the sun. If you’re looking to get active, there’s plenty of space to play beach games like volleyball. Around the beach, you can also find restrooms and picnic areas.
For more to do in the area, check out Grand Haven State Park, which features a boardwalk with many restaurants and shops. You can also find plenty of coffee shops, parks, and trails in Grand Haven. If you’re looking to spend a few days, the city is home to several hotels, inns, and vacation rentals.
4. Tawas Point State Park Beach, East Tawas
Sometimes referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest, Tawas Point State Park Beach sits within a 183-acre park at the end of a sandspit that forms Tawas Bay along Lake Huron. The beach is excellent for swimming and bird-watching. It also features a beautiful Victorian-era lighthouse.
Due to the shallow depths at Tawas Point State Park, the water is considerably warm, making it one of the best beaches in Michigan for swimming. It also has areas of shallow waters for the little ones. Other activities include birding, boating, fishing, and hiking.
Available amenities include a concessions shop, restrooms, picnic shelter, playground, and sanitation station. If you’re looking to spend the night, there are cabins and yurts available to rent. There are also sites for tents and RVs.
5. Warren Dunes Beach, Sawyer
Warren Dunes Beach is said to be one of the cleanest and brightest white sand beaches in Michigan. It’s located at Warren Dunes State Park, which boasts three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and has towering sand dunes reaching 260 feet above water level.
It’s one of the best family-friendly Michigan beaches with tons of conveniences, including food trucks, a concessions shop, restrooms, a picnic shelter, and a sanitation station. Beech and maple trees surround this beautiful park offering lots of shade and photo-ops, too.
Boat rentals are available if you’re looking to get out on the water. Birdwatching is unmatched at this beach, as it’s situated within a bird migration route. Located inside of Warren Dunes State Park, there’s plenty to do when you’re not at the beach. There are six miles of hiking trails to explore, nature programs, and metal detecting opportunities.
For those looking to stay longer, Warren Dune State Park features two popular campgrounds for visitors to spend the night.
6. Esch Beach, Honor
Esch Beach is easily one of the best beaches in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. It’s found at Lake Michigan and Otter Creek, with swimming spots in both areas. Esch Beach’s surrounding areas are beautiful, offering excellent opportunities to enjoy nature and take incredible photos. At the beach, you can find warm waters that are perfect for swimming.
The water in the creek is warmer than the lake, making it the perfect spot to splash and play all season long. Up the creek, you’ll find a variety of wildflower fields. Depending on the waves, the outlet for the creek can be on the north or south side.
While Esch Beach offers beauty all-day-long, sunset views are amazing! Your pets are welcome to join you, too.
7. Silver Beach, St. Joseph
Located in the quaint beach town of St. Joseph, at the St. Joseph River’s mouth, this shoreline has a lot to offer visitors. It’s got plenty of amenities and recent improvements that make it an ideal location for any beachgoer. It’s located near the pier and local shops and features wide sandy spaces.
At Silver Beach, visitors enjoy playing a game of volleyball, swimming, sunbathing, and walking the pier. There are also kayaks and paddleboards for rent.
Available amenities include access to South Pier, lifeguards, outdoor showers, playgrounds, beach wheelchairs, restrooms, and drinking fountains. There are also concession stands, grills, picnic areas, pavilions, and volleyball courts.
If you’re looking to explore around the beach area, you can find a restored 1910 carousel and two lighthouses. There’s also a children’s museum and a downtown shopping area.
8. South Beach Park, South Haven
South Beach Park offers one of the best Lake Michigan swimming spots in the area. With a pier, playground, and skatepark, there’s something for everyone at South Beach!
Kids especially love swimming and skateboarding at South Beach Park, while adults enjoy sunbathing, exploring historical memorials, and fishing. At the end of a fantastic beach day, stick around for incredible sunset views.
If you’re looking for more to do in the South Haven area, check out water activities and biking and walking trails. This charming beach town also features breweries, wineries, shops, and restaurants.
9. Hoeft State Park, Rogers City
Hoeft State Park sits in northern Michigan in Rogers City on the Lake Huron shoreline. With ample activities at and around the beach, Hoeft is one of those most fun Michigan beaches.
The beach is fantastic for swimming and gives an intriguing view of the Great Lakes shipping traffic in the distance. If you like collecting rocks, you’ll be in heaven at Hoeft’s beach.
You can also find great spots for biking, hiking, metal detecting, and hunting at the park. Conveniences include picnic areas, restrooms, and a handicap-accessible playground.
There aren’t many hotels in Rogers City, but for those looking to spend the night and explore all that Hoeft State Park has to offer, there’s a campground with a lot of campsites and a mini-cabin.
10. Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach, Holland
Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a day-use park preserve encompassing over 2 miles of Lake Michigan’s shoreline. It boasts nature trails and coastal dunes. The surrounding woods are along a bird migration path that encourages wildlife viewing, so bring your camera if you want to snap some photos!
With trails and pet-friendly areas, this is an excellent park for getting outdoors. Four trails offer access to the beach. Keep in mind that it does require a short and peaceful hike to the water at Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
Once you arrive at the beach, the sandy beach offers plenty of space to spread out, play in the sand, sunbathe, and take a walk. The water is perfect for swimming, and metal detectors can sometimes find some treasures as they stroll the beach.
11. P.J. Hoffmaster State Park Beach, Northern Shores
There are many captivating beaches in Michigan, but P.J. Hoffmaster State Park Beach is by far one of our most favorites. The towering sand dunes are one-of-a-kind and there are about 3 miles of beautiful shorelines.
Hoffmaster State Park Beach is a great place to swim and appreciate beautiful views. The Dune Overlook Trail is a popular feature of the park. This half-mile round trip climb is approximately 220 steps with benches along the way. If you’re up for a challenge, you can find a more strenuous hike along a steeper 2-mile round trip Homestead Trail hike.
The park also has a visitor center where guests can stop for educational programs and exhibits to learn more about dune formation. Available amenities include modern restrooms, an observation platform, picnic pavilions, and a sanitation station.
Around the Hoffmaster State Park, visitors enjoy hiking, metal detecting, and camping.
12. Kirk Park Dog Beach, West Olive
Also located on the beautiful Lake Michigan is Kirk Park Dog Beach. This one is a dog’s haven, and human beachgoers enjoy it, too!
If you’re a dog lover, you understand how much dogs love to splash and play, and this beach offers just that. It’s one of the best places to bring your pup to run free in Michigan. Available amenities include a playground, lakeside picnic sites, grills, and restrooms.
If you’re looking to get active, there are short and longer hiking trails around the park. You can also play a game of horseshoe.
13. Belle Isle Beach, Detroit
Located on an island just outside of Detroit near the Canadian border, Belle Isle Beach has a whole slew of exciting activities and something for everyone. Filled with history and beautiful city skyline views, it’s a Detroit gem. Not to mention, the clear water is great for splashing around in!
On Belle Isle Beach, beachgoers enjoy strolling the golden sand beaches, sunbathing, and swimming. There are also opportunities for kayaking and fishing.
Available amenities include concession stands, free “track chair” electric mobility chairs (first come, first serve), and tennis courts. There’s also a fishing pier, handicap-accessible picnic area and shelter, handicap-accessible playground, and restrooms.
If you’re looking for fun activities away from the beach, you can enjoy watching the local maritime traffic, visiting the conservatory, museum, or aquarium. Like playing golf? There’s a local golf center, too.
While there aren’t hotels or vacation rentals on Belle Isle, there are plenty of surrounding beach towns to stay for a short or extended time.
14. Clinch Park Beach, Traverse City
Clinch Beach is a sandy city beach on Grand Traverse Bay. It’s a top beach destination in the area because of its amenities and beauty.
Clinch Beach boasts over 1,500 feet of sandy shores along Lake Michigan. Visitors enjoy walking, biking, swimming, and relaxing on the sand. There are also kayaks and paddleboards for rent. Little ones love the splash pad, too.
Available amenities at the beach include a picnic area, a concessions stand, restrooms, and bike racks. There’s also a lakeside beach marina. For more activities, check out the hiking trails around Clinch Beach.
15. Torch Lake Township Day Park, Kewadin
Located in Northern Michigan, Torch Lake is absolutely beautiful, with clear turquoise waters and pristine beaches. We highly recommend any nature lover and beachgoer check out the secluded strip and shoreline at Torch Lake Township Beach for themselves!
When you visit, you can enjoy kayaking, boating, and swimming. With a mix of rocky areas and sandy areas, it’s a great place to stroll and explore. You can also find a playground, basketball court, and picnic tables.
If you’re looking to wander around, there’s another secluded beach just across the highway at Torch Bay Nature Reserve. While there aren’t many accommodations nearby, some campsites are available just north of Torch Lake Township Beach at Barnes County Park.
The Best Michigan Beaches Key Takeaways
Michigan’s shoreline offers some of the most beautiful views and exciting water activities. We hope you enjoyed our tour of the 15 best lakeside Michigan beaches! With so many different places to explore, you’re sure to have a fantastic beach vacation in Michigan no matter where you go. Whether you’re looking for a secluded destination, a vibrant beach, or a quaint lake town, there’s something for everyone!