25 Unforgettable Lake Michigan Beaches

I have lived in West Michigan all of my life. Over the years we have visited many of the wonderful beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline. It is the perfect way to spend a summer day in the state. If it is a hot enough day people from every direction will flock to the beaches. Luckily enough there are plenty enough beaches around the state for everyone to enjoy.

When we have found one of the wonderful beaches we tend to go back to it every year and enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan. The sand and water are a perfect way to spend a hot and humid Michigan summer day. The kids will make memories that will last a lifetime.

Each beach has it’s own unique perspective to it. Some of them have amazing playgrounds, others have stunning overlooks where you can view the lake or a sunset, and yet others have sand dunes your kids will fall in love with.

I have had a difficult time finding beaches listed from the Northern part of Lake Michigan near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline all the way down to the Indiana border. I could find ones that were in each area but not all of them together. So I did the research and put together this great list of beaches for you! I’m sure you will find a new favorite no matter where you are along Lake Michigan.

25 Great Lake Michigan Beaches

1. North Park Beach Grand Haven ~ This is one of our favorite beaches. The swimming area is very close to parking, there are pavilions and grills as well as a beautiful overlook of the beach area.

2. First Street BeachManistee ~ A great beach if you are looking to stay away from the crowds of people, but still want many great ameninites. You will find everything from a dog run, boat launch, fishing area, grills, and so much more.

3. Sleeping Bear Beaches ~ Esch Road Beach – National Geographic has named Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches one of the most beautiful 21 beaches in the world, it is that beautiful. It is one of the beaches you need to visit! The Sleeping Bear Dunes are really an iconic place you need to visit in Michigan anyway.

4. Oval BeachSaugatuck ~ One of the most popular beaches in town and top-rated in the country, you won’t want to miss this amazing beach with soft sandy dunes and refreshing freshwater! They have super easy parking, wonderful concession stands, plus a wonderful picnic area to grill a yummy dinner at or eat a picnic lunch. The beach is named a top 25 beaches in the world by Condé Nast Traveler’s, named a top freshwater beach in the USA by National Geographic Traveler’s, and MTV’s Top 5 Beaches in the USA it’s that great!

5. Grand Haven State ParkGrand Haven ~ This is one of the beaches that tend to fill up super fast, well at least parking anywhere near the beach. You can park further down the road and walk with your stuff, but otherwise, get there very early. They have concessions, a wonderful pier, lighthouse, a huge beach, and lots of other great things to enjoy. While you are there you have to try the famous Pronto Pups corn dogs, stop at the popcorn factory to bring some home as well as enjoying some delicious ice cream. If you have time make sure to take the trolly around town. Even if you don’t enjoy the beach parking and walking the pier and out to the lighthouse is a super fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.

6. Pere Marquette State Park Muskegon ~ This park does not have an entrance fee it has a long beach area. It also has a restaurant, access to a lighthouse, playground, and even volleyball courts. There are quite a few great amenities available for families.

7. Hoffmaster State Park Beach Muskegon ~ This beach offers both a beach and swimming area as well as a campground. They offer hiking trails, iconic panoramic views from the observation deck, miles of hiking and skiing trails, and is even handicap accessible.

8. Tiscornia BeachSt. Joseph ~ At this beach you will find a lighthouse walkway, bathrooms, a pavilion, perfect spots for fishing, and picnic tables. There is a small fee to get into this beach for parking.

10. Empire BeachEmpire ~ This beach is listed as one of the best according to National Geographic. They offer swimming, grills, picnic table, a substantial playground, and more. They even offer a drive-in boat launch and fire pits to have your own fire.

11. Meinert Park Montague ~ This is a very large beach with dunes to climb for some amazing panoramic views of beautiful Lake Michigan. You will find great swimming, pavilions, and even a campground you can stay at. They do charge a small vehicle fee to enter and park for the day or season.

12. South BeachSouth Haven ~ A fun beach with a skatepark for those who enjoy skateboarding. It is the most popular beach in the South Haven area out of the 7 different area beaches and super popular with the locals.

9. Kirk Park West Olive ~ This park is known for it’s swimming, picnicking, and cross-country skiing. You will find quite a few great things to be able to use in this park, they include, a shelter and lodge, a swimming beach, horseshoe pits, grills, playgrounds, picnic tables, and more. They also have an area where dogs can roam off of their leash, which is great for dog lovers.

13. Rosy Mound Natural Area Grand Haven ~ This one is great as long as you can take the hike to the beach. It is just over .5 miles to get to the beach and due to the fact that there is a hike to the beach, it is unlike many other beaches.

14. Silver Lake Sand DunesBetween Muskegon and Ludington ~ This is a super unique and fun spot for families to spend a day, weekend, or even a week during the summer. There are 600 acres of sand dunes to play on. Many people rent ORV and spend the day climbing the dunes for tons of fun. There are many different beaches with many different amenities along the dunes for families to enjoy HERE is a list of them all.

15. Ludington State Park Ludington ~ So there’s a secret about the state parks in Ludington. As you get into the beach areas in Ludington there is the main state park you will encounter as you get to the lake shore. This is where everyone parks and shares the beach area. If you head north on the road and keep driving along there you will hit an area where you can park alongside the road and walk down a dune and get a whole beach area to yourself. Even better directly across the street are sand dunes as far as you can see for the kids to climb and play on. This is where our family visits every year. We spend the day out here and almost always leave pretty sunburned despite putting sunscreen on. It’s so much fun and more private than most of the area beaches.

16. Stearns Park BeachLudington ~ This is a great smaller beach area to enjoy. It has a skate park, grills, shuffleboard, volleyball, concession stands, and more. This is a FREE park to enjoy.

17. Tunnel ParkHolland ~ We enjoy this park. You will find picnic tables, grills, a giant sand hill for kids to run or roll down, swimming beach, restrooms, volleyball, and vending machines. It is a bit of a hike to the beach down a sand hill, but it a beautiful beach worth the hike.

18. Saugatuck Dunes State Park BeachSaugatuck ~ This is a park you will need to pay admission for. This is a basic beach with swimming, picnic tables, and a pavilion.

19. Duck Lake State Park Whitehall ~ Swimming, Hiking, Fishing, and picnicking will be some of the fun things you will be able to do while visiting this park. There is access to both Lake Michigan as well as Duck Lake.

20. Lake Harbor BeachNorton Shores ~ This park you can boat, fish, swim, picnic, bike, and hike. You also have a boat access area here. They have restrooms and picnic tables. There is a small entrance fee.

22. Glen Haven Beach Glen Haven ~ A smaller but still wonderful beach along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline. You can even view the Manitou Islands from this beach. You will find a swimming area and restrooms here.

24. Fifth Avenue BeachManistee ~ Located on the North side of Manistee That includes most everything you would expect to find at a public beach. Volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, concessions, fishing and more.

25. Silver Beach County ParkSt. Joseph ~ A well built up beach area with many great amenities. Picnic areas, kayak rentals, volleyball, pier, outdoor showers, concessions, grills, and much more. You can access it for a small entrance fee.

23. Pier Cove BeachSaugatuck ~ A small beach area with picnic areas and perfect stones for skipping. Once you climb down the steep stairway you will be down at the beach. Limited parking is available.

21. Warren Dunes State ParkSawyer ~ This is a large park with many different hiking trails ranging from 1-6 miles long. You will also find a campground, pavillions, swimming, picnic tables, concession stands, amazing views of the lake from dunes (being 260 feet high is helpful with that), pretty much anything you would expect to find at a park you will find here. There is a small entrance fee to get into this park.


  1. Love this! We are love Michigan and everything it has to offer! Ow that our son is older and we both have summers off we are planning to explore this amazing state! We LOVE Duck lake! Great for kids to swim in Duck lake and then have Lake Michigan right there to enjoy is my favorite!

    • Thank you Kelly. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the post! I have never been to Duck lake, I will have to add it to our summer bucket list though, even better that it has lake Michigan right there. Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful weekend!



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