As the warmer months approach, visions of sandy & the best beaches in Michigan may begin dancing through your head. With over 3,000 miles of beautiful freshwater shoreline, Michigan offers fantastic beaches across both peninsulas. Whether you’re looking for kid-friendly beaches with shallow water or stunning scenic views, the Great Lakes State doesn’t disappoint.
From swimming and sunbathing to beachcombing and water sports, the best beaches in Michigan allow you to make the most of summer. As you start planning beach days, here are some best beaches in Michigan for families to dig their toes in the sand.
5 Best Beaches in Michigan For Families
If you’re hitting the beach with kids in tow, safety and amenities rank high when choosing the perfect spot. Check out these top best beaches in Michigan for families to have fun in the sand, sun, and smiles.
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
- Good Harbor Bay Beach
- Traverse City State Park Beach
- Grand Haven State Park Beach
- Bay City State Recreation Area Beach
At popular Sleeping Bear Dunes, expansive beaches with gentle waves abound. The inviting water makes for excellent swimming, especially for little ones.
Meanwhile, the incredible Lake Michigan views delight people of all ages. Be sure to check out the scenic Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive overlooking the lush dunes.
Up north in the Leelanau Peninsula, Good Harbor Bay Beach also impresses families. The designated swim area with a shallow sandy bottom keeps children happy and safe. Parents appreciate the on-duty lifeguards and concessions stand for essential snacks.
Along the shoreline in Traverse City, the State Park Beach provides a fantastic spot right in town. Families gather to enjoy picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, and the large swimming area. After working up an appetite, grab lunch downtown or pick juicy cherries from nearby farms.
Downstate at Grand Haven State Park Beach, kids explore the waterfront while parents unwind near smaller beaches tucked into the park’s expansive sands. Let the kids burn off energy climbing the giant playground nearby before enjoying some trail mix from the camp store provisions.
At Bay City State Recreation Area south of Saginaw Bay, little ones will love paddling through the shallow wading area. Meanwhile, older kids may enjoy learning sailing basics through lessons from the aquatics center. With sweeping views of the bay, there’s room for the whole family to play.
4 Best Beaches In Michigan For Swimming
In addition to splashing with little ones, Michigan beaches offer miles of shoreline perfect for swimming laps or just cooling off in the refreshing waters. Some top picks of best beaches in Michigan for swimming across the state include:
- Aral Beach
- Seven Mile Beach
- Grand Haven City Beach
- Orchard Beach State Park
Tucked away up north, Aral Beach provides a peaceful oasis along Lake Superior for confident swimmers. The clear waters remain shallow for over 100 yards, allowing you to wade far out into the lake. Just beware of the icy waters that may make you catch your breath!
On the northeast coast of Leelanau Peninsula, the aptly named Seven Mile Beach indeed stretches over seven miles. The sheltered coves scattered throughout the lengthy beach feature shallow areas for easier swimming. Families often pass lazy summer days floating in the gentle currents.
Those visiting Grand Haven can join locals swimming at City Beach right downtown. Overlooking the channel connecting Lake Michigan to the Grand River stands this popular beach with lifeguards. After you’ve had your fill of breaststrokes, grab sweet treats in town.
Along the shore of Lake St. Clair north of Detroit, Orchard Beach State Park also promises pleasant swimming. Head to the three designated swim areas protected by buoys. After working up an appetite for swimming laps, enjoy a picnic overlooking the water.
Things to Know Before You Go To Best Beaches in Michigan
When heading out to soak up some sun on the sugar sands, keep a few tips in mind:
Check beach water quality – Some locations provide water testing results to identify bacteria from pollution runoff after heavy rains.
Confirm amenities – Know what to expect in terms of restrooms, concessions, rental equipment, etc. Also, verify any admission costs.
Beware rip currents – These narrow fast-moving channels of water flowing away from shore can overwhelm even experienced swimmers. Be cautious and don’t overestimate your skills.
Watch for beach closures – Access could be prohibited temporarily due to weather, high waves, unsafe water quality, or other concerns.
Leave no trace – When departing the beach, make sure no gear, food, or other personal items get left behind. We all must do our small part to preserve these beautiful natural playgrounds.