While it’s nowhere near a “coast” as you may think of traditionally, being surrounded by the Great Lakes means that Michigan has plenty of incredible beaches to enjoy!
There are such a wide range of beaches across the coasts of Michigan, it can seem overwhelming to figure out exactly where you should visit.
Good news! We’ve done the work for you and compiled a list of some of the best beaches in Michigan.
In this post, you’ll learn where the beaches are based on geographic regions, what they have to offer, and what makes them unique.
Read on to learn more about the best beaches in Michigan!
The 16 Best Beaches in Michigan
1. Cheboygan State Park Beach
This small, peaceful beach is one of the best beaches in Michigan because it offers some sweeping views of Lake Huron and access to some fun water sports.
Cheboygan State Park Beach is only accessible by a gravel road, but is a fantastic destination for anyone looking for a quiet day of swimming, kayaking, or kite boarding.
There are also hiking trails within walking distance that are well-marked and are filled with wildflowers during the summer.
Cheboygan State Park Beach also offers a picnic area and playground, as well as nearby camping spots if you’re looking to make an entire trip out of your visit.
2. Empire Beach Village Park
Empire Beach Village Park is part of the larger Sleeping Bear Dunes, but this specific little park and beach is a gem that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the are.
Featuring a drive-in boat launch into Lake Michigan, this beach is great for families. There’s a large playground right on the sand that kids are sure to love.
There are also designated fire rings available for use, which means you can bring a picnic dinner and then enjoy some fire-roasted s’mores while enjoying the sunset on the beach.
3. North Manitou Island
Leland Township, Michigan
What used to be a logging town, North Manitou Island is now a deserted island that’s begging to be explored. This is one of the best beaches in Michigan because it’s not just a place to relax, but it’s full of adventure and things to discover.
Only accessible by a ferry, which requires reservations, this isolated island is ripe with possibility of things to do. There are some buildings from long ago that have been taken over by nature, but the National Park Service has restored some to their former glory to give you a glimpse into life when 56 families called this island home in the 1800s.
There are more than 20 miles of shoreline to explore, with crystal clear waters all around.
4. Platte Point Beach
Platte Point Beach is one of the best beaches in Michigan because it’s where the Platte River meets Lake Michigan, meaning there’s a bit of a current to the river, which makes it ideal for some tubing action!
The Platte River is shallow at this point, so people of all ages can have fun in the currents.
A relaxing beach along Lake Michigan is a short walk down the river, and you can also find a relaxing picnic spot nearby to sit back and relax.
5. Horseshoe Harbor Beach
Copper Harbor, Michigan
If you’re hoping to learn more about geological history through one of the best beaches in Michigan, Horseshoe Harbor Beach in Copper Harbor is the place to go!
Instead of the white sands of most other Michigan beaches, this beach is made up completely of rocks and pebbles. Not just any rocks and pebbles, but volcanic rocks and pebbles that date all the way back to when the continent was forming.
This beach is only accessible by hiking in, but your work will be rewarded by incredible views of Lake Superior.
6. Hunter’s Point Park Beach
Copper Harbor, Michigan
If hiking to a beach, like Horseshoe Harbor Beach, doesn’t sound like fun, but you still want to enjoy a rocky shore beach, visit Hunter’s Point Park Beach! The rock and pebble shore is very similar.
You can get settled on this shoreline and spend hours watching the birds, taking notes on all of the unique rocks, and enjoying the peace and tranquility that Lake Superior brings.
7. Mackinac Island Beaches
Mackinaw City, Michigan
Mackinac Island is full of some of the best beaches in Michigan. Each side of the island offers something a little different.
The views from the western beach is of the beautiful Mackinac Bridge, making it a fantastic backdrop for family photos, especially at sunset.
If you head to the south side of the island, there are Adirondack chairs ready for you to relax in and take in the sights of the Round Island Lighthouse in the distance.
If you’re there early in the morning, head over to the beaches on the east coast to watch a sunset over the waters of Lake Huron.
8. Manistique Beach
If you’re visiting the Upper Penninsula with your kids, one of the best beaches in Michigan in that area for you to enjoy will be Manistique Beach.
Recently renovated, the wooden boardwalk from the parking area all the way to the sandy shores make getting your family and all your beach gear where they need to go so much easier.
There’s some swings and nature’s playground of sand dunes for them to enjoy, as well as sandy shores and beautiful water to play in.
9. Grand Haven City Beach
Grand Haven, Michigan
Grand Haven City Beach is one of the best beaches in Michigans for families on a budget.
Pack a picnic lunch, sand toys, and towels and head over to the free parking lot right next to the beach. There are no extra fees or passes required to enjoy this beach.
Lake Michigan even has some waves at this beautiful beach, making it that much more fun for kids and kids at heart.
It’s also leashed-dog friendly for some of the year, so you can truly enjoy it with your whole family!
10. P.J. Hoffmaster State Park
With over three miles of shoreline, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park is one of the best beaches in Michigan for someone looking to enjoy views of Lake Michigan without having to hike up an actual dune.
While dune hiking is available all over the state, it’s not for everyone, and P.J. Hoffmaster State Park offers Dune Climb Stairway, which gives some stability and structure up the side of a dune. It ends in a platform with panoramic views of Michigan’s beauty.
If you’d like a slower, gentler option to get to the same point, there are two other hiking trails that take their time going through beautiful Michigan scenery and end up at the same scenic platform.
The beach offers calm waters, perfect for swimming. It’s also pet-friendly.
11. Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Saugatuck Dunes, Michigan
Saugatuck Dunes State Park is among the best beaches in Michigan for those looking to enjoy a wide variety of activities in one place.
Spend your day relaxing and exploring the 2.5 miles of shoreline, hike some of the 13 miles of trails that wind through the dunes, bring your mountain bike for their biking trail, or your frisbee discs for the disc golf course!
This area is committed to preserving the natural environment and is home to three species of endangered plants.
12. Silver Lake Sand Dunes
If you’re looking one of the best beaches in Michigan for a full weekend away, look no further than Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
On top of the thousands of acres of sand dunes available to explore, there are miles of shoreline on the edge of Lake Michigan.
Unlike some of the other of the best beaches in Michigan that are secluded, Silver Lake Sand Dunes is surronded by the town of Hart that has places to stay, things to see, and some delicious food to eat.
They’ve even done the job of vacation planning for you with this 3-Day Tour of Silver Lake Sand Dunes!
13. Tiscornia Beach
St. Joseph, Michigan
Tiscornia Beach is a quaint and simple beach ready to be enjoyed! It earns it’s spot as one of the best beaches in Michigan with it’s Lighthouse and walkway up to it.
This park features the paved walkway to the Lighthouse, where you can do some fishing. There’s also plenty of spots to watch the sunset over Lake Michigan.
There’s a small fee to park, but it’s well worth it to enjoy the sandy shores of Lake Michigan with your family and friends.
14. Warren Dunes Beach
Warren Dunes Beach is sometimes considered the gateway to the gorgeous state parks in the western part of Michigan. Its variety of habitats make this one of the best beaches in Michigan because you can enjoy three environments in one place!
There are gorgeous shores to explore, but there are also forested sand dunes and even wetlands!
Since it’s a big pitstop for a lot of birds’ migration patterns, it’s also an excellent location for avid birdwatchers.
15. Oscoda Beach Park
Along with the powdery-white sandy shores of Lake Huron, Oscoda Beach Park is one of the best beaches in Michigan to plan a full day at because of the many things to do there.
When you’re ready to take a break from swimming or kayaking on the water, you can take a trip to the playground, basketball court, or even the skate park.
There are grills and picnic tables available, too, if you want to have a cookout with your friends and family!
16. Tawas Point State Park Beach
East Tawas, Michigan
The shallow, warm water of Tawas Point State Park Beach earn it its spot on the list of the best beaches in Michigan.
Next to this popular swimming beach, there’s a walking trail to enjoy the scenic coast of Lake Huron. This is also a fantastic beach for bird watchers to visit if they want to see a wide variety of migratory birds.
The nearby Tawas Point Lighthouse is up-kept by the Michigan History Center and gives a peak at what life was like in Michigan during the Victorian era.
Wrapping up the Best Beaches in Michigan
We hope by now, you’ve learned enough about the best beaches in Michigan to be able to enjoy the coastal adventure you’re looking for. Whether you’re wanting to explore a deserted island or live it up in a thriving beach town, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the best beaches in Michigan.
If you want to learn more about Michigan, check out our post about how to Make the Most of Michigan Living!