Michigan’s peninsular setup makes it the ideal spot to enjoy a meal in a stunning atmosphere. With all sorts of beaches and waterfront locales to explore, there’s no shortage of eateries tucked away among natural beauty in the Great Lakes State. While it would be impossible to list each and every coastal restaurant, we’ve compiled a list of 11 must-visit spots that are just waiting to be explored.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Silver Beach Pizza (410 Vine St, St. Joseph)
Stop in at Silver Beach Pizza when you’re looking for a casual — but completely delicious — meal among friends and family. This eatery features a laid-back setting and is situated in a converted railroad depot just seconds from the gorgeous Lake Michigan waterfront. Don’t forget to order a beer or two to wash down your perfectly cheesy pizza!
2. The Deck (1601 Beach St, Muskegon)
What could be more fun than a beachfront patio and a hearty serving of BBQ? Not much. Luckily for us, The Deck in Muskegon brings these elements together in one fabulous (seasonal) spot. Chow down on pulled pork or indulge in an adult beverage as you stare out at the shores of Lake Michigan. This amazing eatery is just about as coastal as it gets.
3. Boathouse Restaurant (14039 Peninsula Dr, Traverse City)
This northern Michigan fixture is an absolute must-visit for every Michigander. Its sweeping views, large windows, and fresh food make it one of the most unique spots to enjoy a meal in the entire state. No matter where you’re seated, you’ll be treated to marvelous glimpses of the Grand Traverse Bay. Of course, the food itself is another reason to visit — we recommend the Great Lakes Whitefish.
4. Varney's Coney Island Cafe (190 Ritchie Dr, Harbor Beach)
The small community of Harbor Beach is home to plenty of pretty lakefront views, but what’s a view without a delicious meal to accompany it? Before you venture down the street to check out the beachfront wonder that awaits you, why not chow down on a coney dog or other diner classic at Varney’s? It doesn’t get much more Michigan than this.
5. Ottawa Beach Inn (2155 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland)
Head to the West Michigan city of Holland and enjoy a meal at Ottawa Beach Inn,
which features a fun nautical theme and all sorts of classic American fare. It’s also a fabulous spot to stop in for seafood or a quick drink before checking out nearby Holland State Park. Make sure to schedule your meal properly, though — you don’t want to miss that Lake Michigan sunset!
6. The Vierling (119 S Front St, Marquette)
History, drinks, incredible food, and a breathtaking waterfront view? Sounds like a dream, but it’s a reality at The Vierling in Marquette. This beloved Upper Peninsula eatery boasts an amazing array of craft beers and all sorts of mouthwatering fare, from fresh chowder to Cajun chicken. Did we mention the view? Peer out at the lakefront while you dine — it doesn’t get better than this.
7. Freshwater Tavern (7146 P Rd, Escanaba)
Gaze at the stunning waters of Lake Michigan as you indulge in all sorts of delicious fare at this Escanaba eatery, which consistently garners great reviews from diners. Try a steak or an order of the crab-stuffed salmon: yes, it’s just as delicious as it sounds. Of course, nothing beats the waterfront views offered by Freshwater Tavern, and you’ll undoubtedly be back for seconds.
8. Pink Pony (7221 Main St, Mackinac Island)
You have to venture to Mackinac Island to check out this eatery, but trust us: it’s well worth the journey! Tucked away inside the Chippewa Hotel, Pink Pony is a complete delight. Its situation directly on the coast of the island means you can check out all the waterfront action as you dine on favorites like fish tacos and prime rib. Please note that Pink Pony is temporarily closed, but it will reopen in early May of 2017. Grab your spot at the grand re-opening!
9. Joe Muer (GM Renaissance Center, 400 Renaissance Center #1404, Detroit)
This classic seafood eatery within the Renaissance Center is delightful no matter how many times you’ve dined there. Sip on any sort of wine you can imagine and indulge in a made-to-order steak. The only thing that could enhance this meal is an incredible waterfront view, and Joe Muer has you covered! You’ll appreciate marvelous views of the Detroit River as you eat.
10. Boondock’s Bar and Grille (8770 S Lakeshore Rd Forestville)
Yes, this is our second featured spot near Harbor Beach, but with good reason — this region of Michigan is just that magnificent! Stop in for a meal or drink at Boondock’s, which offers one of the best burgers in town. Of course, another major point of appeal is the grill’s proximity to the waterfront. It’s the perfect place to stop in for an energizing meal after a long day of lakeside lounging.
11. Tawas Point Grille (686 Tawas Beach Rd, East Tawas)
This eatery might be tiny, but it certainly packs in some major flavor! When you dine at Tawas Point Grille, you’re in for more than just a meal — instead, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy your food on the restaurant’s scenic deck, which offers unbeatable views of Tawas Point Beach. Is there any better spot to dig into a mouthwatering order of baby back ribs? Tawas Point Grille will reopen for the season in May, and it’s well worth the wait.
Have you dined at any of these delicious coastal restaurants in the Great Lakes State? Which spots are we forgetting? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section!