There’s something undeniably magical about summertime in Michigan. While all of our Great Lakes are stunning, Lake Michigan is simply overflowing with gorgeous places to explore and waterfront scenes to admire. There are countless beautiful beaches along our beloved “Big Lake,” but we’ve selected 12 of our favorites that you simply must visit during your lifetime.
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. Ludington State Park (8800 W. M-116, Ludington)
A visit to Ludington is always a magnificent experience, no matter what your favorite outdoor activity is. From hiking to fishing to splashing in the cool waves, there’s no shortage of beauty and charm to be found at this waterfront park -- and you might never want to leave!
2. Olive Shores County Park (8555 Olive Shore Ave, West Olive)
Olive Shores isn’t Michigan’s most famous beach, but it’s certainly stunning. Venture to West Olive and walk through a forested wonderland to reach the shores of Lake Michigan, where you’ll appreciate soft sand, surrounding greenery, and a calm ambiance that simply can’t be matched.
3. Grand Haven State Park (1001 S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven)
With 48 acres of land to explore, this state park is a Michigan classic. The park boasts fantastic views of Lake Michigan, all sorts of waterfront access, and some of the most breathtaking sunset views imaginable. Whether you're flying a kite or playing beach volleyball, a trip to this spot will fill you with childlike glee.
4. Orchard Beach State Park (2064 Lakeshore Rd, Manistee)
You’ll wonder if you’ve entered another world as you approach the shoreline at this one-of-a-kind beach, which features incredibly gorgeous bluffs, campsites for those who just can’t seem to get enough time with Lake Michigan, and plenty of fresh Michigan air. What's not to love?
5. Laketown Beach (6710 142nd Ave, Holland)
You’ll have to climb your fair share of stairs to reach this beach, but believe us when we say that it’s well worth the journey. While Laketown’s public access area is small, it’s nothing short of stunning — and the surrounding sand dunes create an undeniably lovely experience. We recommend catching a sunset from atop the sandy hillside!
6. Oval Beach (Perryman St, Saugatuck)
Venture to Saugatuck for the ideal Michigan beach day at this charming locale, which offers incredibly soft sand, clear blue waters, and wispy dune grass as far as the eye can see. If you’re searching for a quintessential beachfront adventure, Oval Beach is a fantastic (and insanely beautiful) option.
7. Warren Dunes State Park (12032 Red Arrow Hwy, Sawyer)
This state park is comprised of nearly 2,000 acres, making it a true natural wonderland for visitors and locals alike. Settle in for the day along the park’s three miles of shoreline and get ready for the ultimate in relaxation. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a longtime Warren Dunes fan, you’ll have a blast.
8. Silver Lake Sand Dunes (2388 North Comfort Drive, Hart)
Nothing says Lake Michigan like a rolling sand dune, and Silver Lake offers some of the most stunning dunes imaginable. Take an exhilarating dune buggy ride, cool off with a dip in the refreshing waves of Lake Michigan, or simply stroll along the beachfront with your loved ones. No matter how you spend your day here, it’s sure to become one of your favorite beach destinations.
9. Pere Marquette Beach (3510 Channel Dr, Muskegon)
Check out this lovely beach in Muskegon when humid weather leaves you sweating and miserable. You’ll find a summery paradise at Pere Marquette Beach as you float peacefully in our wonderful "Big Lake" or toss the frisbee with family members on the sand. Visitors rave about clean water, soft sand, and plenty of open space to explore.
10. Peterson Beach Sleeping Bear Recreation Area (Peterson Road, Honor)
If you find yourself near Sleeping Bear Dunes, you simply must take the time to stop and appreciate Lake Michigan where it meets the land in Benzie County. Peterson Beach is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of exploring the dunes, and its secluded setting gives it a more peaceful vibe than some of Lake Michigan’s other access points.
11. Tiscornia Beach (80 Ridgeway St, St Joseph)
This delightful beach in St. Joseph has everything a beachgoer could ever want: lovely sand, a beautiful pier and lighthouse, and plenty of space to swim. It’s the least crowded of St. Joseph’s beaches, which makes in an ideal spot to sit back and bask in the sunshine on a hot summer day.
12. Holland State Park (2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland)
If you’re hoping to see a terrific sunset over Lake Michigan, Holland State Park is the place for you. Catch views of Big Red Lighthouse, walk along the pier, and marvel at the sandy paradise that surrounds you. No matter what your age, there’s something completely enchanting about a good old-fashioned day at the beach, and Holland State Park is one of Michigan’s best.
We know that our list only scratches the surface of Lake Michigan’s most marvelous beaches and waterfront parks. Where’s your favorite place to sprawl out for a beach day here in the Great Lakes State? Let us know in the comment section below!