Michigan’s shoreline spans an impressive 3,288 miles, more than both California and Florida and is adorned with a diverse collection of Michigan beaches that range from sandy playgrounds bustling with activity to peaceful pebble-strewn shores perfect for solitary contemplation. From the rugged beauty of the Upper Peninsula to the sandy dunes of the Lower Peninsula, each of these Michigan beaches tells a unique story and offers an unparalleled experience.
Join me as we explore the sun-drenched sands of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the historic beauty of Mackinac Island Beach, the thrill of Silver Lake Sand Dunes, and many more enchanting locations. Remember, no matter where you go in Michigan, you’re never more than six miles from a natural body of water. It’s time to discover why these Michigan beaches are some of the best-kept secrets in the country!
Best Michigan Beaches at a Glance
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Discover majestic sand dunes and clear blue waters at this stunning beach, named “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America.
- Cheboygan State Park Beach: This tranquil beach on Lake Huron features clear, shallow waters, perfect for family outings, and a scenic backdrop of historic lighthouses.
- Mackinac Island Beach: Take a ferry to this picturesque island where fudge, horse-drawn carriages, and beautiful sandy beaches await your exploration.
- Silver Lake Sand Dunes: Experience the thrill of dune buggy rides over massive sand mountains, complemented by relaxing beach time at this remarkable spot on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore.
- Tawas Point State Park Beach: Often referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” this sandy spit jutting into Lake Huron offers warm, shallow waters and a rich birdlife.
- Hunter’s Point Park Beach: Located in the remote Keweenaw Peninsula, this pristine location provides a unique blend of rugged beauty, pebbled shoreline, and serene environment.
- Grand Haven City Beach: Enjoy a day at this bustling Lake Michigan beach, complete with soft sand, clear waters, a picturesque pier, and an iconic lighthouse within walking distance.
- Warren Dunes Beach: Towering sand dunes, panoramic lake views, and extensive camping facilities await you at this popular spot in Southwest Michigan.
- Lakeside Beach: Family-friendly and conveniently located near the Blue Water Bridge, Lakeside Beach in Port Huron offers soft sand, clear waters, and fun recreational amenities.
- Manistique Beach: On the shores of Lake Michigan, this serene beach combines clear waters and beautiful views of the Manistique Lighthouse, making it an ideal relaxation spot.
- Saugatuck Dunes State Park: Get lost in the natural beauty of this secluded beach, surrounded by dune formations and an artsy town known for its galleries and boutiques.
- Hoffmaster State Park Beach: With stunning sand dunes, a three-mile stretch of beach, and diverse habitats, this park provides a unique beach experience surrounded by nature’s splendor.
- Oscoda Beach Park: A family-friendly spot on Lake Huron, Oscoda Beach Park offers soft white sand, designated swimming areas, and nearby conveniences such as restaurants and shops.
- Empire Beach: Nestled in the charming village of Empire, this gem on Lake Michigan’s shores offers stunning views of Sleeping Bear Dunes and South Manitou Island.
- South Beach Park: With its wide sandy beach, historic lighthouse, and beautiful Lake Michigan views, this South Haven beach is a popular destination for families and sunseekers alike.
- Orchard Beach State Park: Overlooking Lake Michigan from a bluff, this park offers a unique beach experience, with stair access to the beach and a campground set within a beautiful orchard.
- Copper Harbor: This outdoor enthusiast’s paradise on the Keweenaw Peninsula is known for scenic drives, mountain biking, and unique beachcombing experiences.
- Mackinaw City Beach: Offering spectacular views of the Mackinac Bridge, this sandy shoreline is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking, with historic attractions nearby.
- Holland State Park Beach: Famous for its iconic red lighthouse, this beach provides an expansive sandy beach on Lake Michigan, perfect for a classic beach experience.
- Port Crescent State Park: Located at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb,” this beach offers sandy shoreline, sand dunes, and crystal clear waters.
The Best Michigan Beaches
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Named “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by ABC’s Good Morning America, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-visit. With towering dunes and miles of sandy beaches, it offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. Hiking up the dunes rewards you with panoramic vistas, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a shipwreck in the clear blue water.
For the adventurous, the Dune Climb is a thrilling activity, and the descent is even more fun. Beach walks, picnicking, and watching the spectacular sunset are also popular activities. With multiple campgrounds and nearby quaint towns like Empire and Glen Arbor, Sleeping Bear Dunes provides an unmatched beach experience.
Cheboygan State Park Beach
Cheboygan State Park Beach, located on the shores of Lake Huron, is a tranquil escape where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or a picnic. The clear, shallow water is perfect for families with young children. Plus, the beach’s scenic backdrop features views of the historic Fourteen Foot Shoal Light and Poe Reef Light.
When not lounging on the beach, explore the hiking trails winding through the park. Cheboygan State Park also offers excellent camping facilities, making it a great spot for a multi-day stay. From birdwatching to stargazing, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
Mackinac Island Beach
Mackinac Island, known for its fudge, horse-drawn carriages, quaint bed and breakfasts, and historic charm, also features picturesque beaches and unique, all-inclusive resorts that complement its natural beauty. The entire island is a state park, and its shoreline offers numerous spots to enjoy the sparkling waters of Lake Huron. The island’s British Landing beach is a popular spot for swimming and picnicking.
Getting to Mackinac Island is an adventure itself, as it’s accessible only by ferry. Once there, rent a bike or walk to explore the island’s natural beauty and historic landmarks. The tranquil ambiance, absence of cars, and unique attractions make this beach visit a memorable one.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes
The Silver Lake Sand Dunes on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore are a remarkable sight. With dunes towering hundreds of feet high, you have plenty of room to sprawl out and enjoy the sun, swim in Silver Lake’s cool waters, or go for a thrilling dune ride.
For an unforgettable experience, rent a dune buggy and drive over the massive sand mountains. The Silver Lake area also offers hiking, biking, fishing, and boating opportunities. After a fun-filled day, unwind by watching the breathtaking sunset over Lake Michigan.
Tawas Point State Park Beach
Often referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Tawas Point State Park features a sandy spit that juts into Lake Huron. Nearby, you’ll find a variety of vacation rentals to complement your beach experience. The beach’s warm, shallow waters are perfect for swimming and kiteboarding. Bird enthusiasts will love this spot, as it’s a stopover for many migratory birds.
The historic Tawas Point Lighthouse is an attraction you shouldn’t miss. Climbing to the top gives you a panoramic view of the beautiful surroundings. With excellent camping facilities and nearby amenities in the town of East Tawas, it’s an ideal destination for a beach vacation.
Hunter’s Point Park Beach
Located in the remote Keweenaw Peninsula, Hunter’s Point Park Beach is a serene and pristine location. With rugged beauty, rocky outcrops, and pebbled shoreline, it’s a perfect spot for those seeking solitude and unspoiled nature. The beach’s clear water makes it ideal for snorkeling.
Exploring the hiking trails at Hunter’s Point rewards you with stunning vistas and the chance to spot wildlife. Keep an eye out for rare bird species, as the park is an important bird area. Remember to wear sturdy shoes, as the terrain can be rough.
Grand Haven City Beach
Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, Grand Haven City Beach is a bustling spot loved by locals and tourists alike. As one of the best Michigan beaches, it boasts soft sand, clear waters, and a picturesque pier, making it an ideal destination for a beach day. Nearby volleyball courts and picnic areas add to the fun.
A short walk from the beach, you’ll find the iconic Grand Haven Lighthouse and Boardwalk, perfect for a leisurely stroll. As the day ends, don’t miss the musical fountain show, a synchronized display of water, light, and music. With the charming town of Grand Haven close by, there’s plenty to explore off the sand as well.
Warren Dunes Beach
Warren Dunes State Park, located in Southwest Michigan, offers three miles of beachfront for you to enjoy. Known for its large sand dunes, some reaching almost 300 feet high, it’s a hotspot for sunbathing, hiking, and sandboarding. The panoramic views of Lake Michigan from the top of the dunes are simply spectacular.
Camping enthusiasts will love the park’s extensive camping facilities, including modern campsites and secluded cabin rentals that offer privacy and tranquility. After a day on the beach, explore the park’s six miles of hiking trails or try bird watching. These secluded cabin rentals in the midst of beautiful natural surroundings enhance the experience, making this beautiful area a wonderful beach getaway in all seasons.
Lakeside Beach in Port Huron, situated amidst some of the most grandiose mansions in Michigan, offers a beautiful sandy shoreline along Lake Huron. Its crystal-clear water makes it a great spot for swimming. Children will enjoy the playground equipment, while adults can use the volleyball court or enjoy a game of horseshoes.
Located near the Blue Water Bridge and Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in Michigan, you can explore these landmarks after a relaxing day on the beach. With picnic areas and BBQ grills, Lakeside Beach is perfect for a family outing.
Manistique Beach, on the shores of Lake Michigan, offers a serene setting for beach lovers. With clear waters and a sandy beach, it’s an ideal place for a refreshing swim or a leisurely stroll along the water’s edge. The beach’s location offers beautiful views of Manistique Lighthouse.
In addition to sunbathing and swimming, you can go fishing on the Manistique Boardwalk and Riverwalk, a scenic trail that winds along the lake and through the city. With nearby shops and restaurants, Manistique Beach is a delightful mix of relaxation and exploration.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Saugatuck Dunes State Park, located on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, boasts a secluded, sandy beach and dune formations reaching up to 200 feet. The park’s rugged terrain and scenic beauty make it a haven for nature lovers and photographers.
The park offers 13 miles of hiking trails through the dunes, with paths leading to the quiet beachfront. After a day of hiking and swimming, relax and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets that Saugatuck is famous for. The nearby artsy town of Saugatuck offers charming shops, galleries, and restaurants to explore.
Hoffmaster State Park Beach
Hoffmaster State Park on Lake Michigan’s shoreline is known for its stunning sand dunes and a three-mile stretch of beach. Take a stroll along the boardwalk, climb up the Dune Climb Stairway for panoramic views, or attend a program at the Gillette Visitor Center to learn about the park’s natural features.
The park’s diverse habitats, including forests and wetlands, offer excellent birdwatching and wildlife spotting. With miles of hiking trails and camping facilities, Hoffmaster State Park provides a unique beach experience, surrounded by nature’s splendor.
Oscoda Beach Park
Located on the beautiful Lake Huron, Oscoda Beach Park is a family-friendly location. With soft white sand and a designated swimming area, it’s a perfect place for a beach day. The park also has a playground, picnic areas, and a skate park.
Take a walk on the pier for a great view of the lake, or try fishing for a chance to catch walleye or salmon. With nearby restaurants and shops, Oscoda Beach Park is a convenient and relaxing spot for a day at the beach.
Empire Beach, located in the charming village of Empire, is a gem on the shores of Lake Michigan. The beach offers stunning views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and South Manitou Island. With a sandy shoreline and clear waters, it’s ideal for sunbathing and swimming.
The beach park offers volleyball courts, a playground, and a picnic pavilion. After enjoying a day on the beach, consider hiking the Empire Bluff trail for a breathtaking view of the coastline. With its natural beauty and serene environment, Empire Beach is a must-visit.
South Beach Park
South Beach Park, located in South Haven, is a popular destination. With its wide sandy beach, historic lighthouse, and beautiful views of Lake Michigan, it’s a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, or building sandcastles. The beach is equipped with a concession stand, restrooms, and picnic areas for convenience.
South Beach Park is just a short walk from downtown South Haven, where you can find a range of restaurants, shops and South Haven hotels. Don’t miss the chance to watch the sunset over the lake – the view from the South Haven Lighthouse is spectacular.
Orchard Beach State Park
Orchard Beach State Park, located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, offers a unique beach experience. The park provides stair access to the beach where you can enjoy the warm sand and cool waters. The beach is rocky, so water shoes are recommended.
The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking trails, a picnic pavilion, and a campground set within a beautiful orchard. The view of the sunset over Lake Michigan from the campground is a sight you don’t want to miss.
Copper Harbor, located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. While the area is known for its scenic drives, mountain biking, and winter sports, it also offers beautiful rocky beaches. Enjoy the unique experience of beachcombing for agates and other Lake Superior rocks.
While Copper Harbor’s shoreline is more rugged and less sandy than other Michigan beaches, its beauty lies in its isolation and breathtaking vistas. Visit the local shops for unique gifts, and don’t forget to check out Fort Wilkins Historic State Park for a glimpse into the area’s past.
Mackinaw City Beach
Mackinaw City Beach, located at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, offers spectacular views of the Mackinac Bridge. With its sandy shoreline and clear waters, it’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.
After a day at the beach, explore the nearby Colonial Michilimackinac for a journey back in time to the 18th century. With stunning views, historical attractions, and a host of restaurants and shops, Mackinaw City Beach is a fantastic destination.
Holland State Park Beach
Famous for its iconic red lighthouse, Holland State Park Beach is one of Michigan’s most visited state parks. Its expansive sandy beach on Lake Michigan and a smaller beach on Lake Macatawa make it a favorite among families. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or playing beach volleyball.
A short drive away, explore the Dutch-themed town of Holland with its windmill, tulip gardens, and Dutch Village. Whether you’re watching the sailboats, building sandcastles, or enjoying the sunset, Holland State Park Beach offers a classic beach experience.
Port Crescent State Park
Located at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb,” Port Crescent State Park offers three miles of sandy shoreline along Lake Huron. With sand dunes, clear waters, and a dark sky preserve for stargazing, it’s a hidden gem.
The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, birding, and fishing. In winter, you can go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The campground located near the beach makes it a perfect spot for a multi-day getaway. From sunrise to sunset, Port Crescent State Park is a place of natural beauty and tranquility.