The only problem with the Great Lakes is that there are too many stunning beaches to choose from. Spend the entire day on a summer adventure, swimming and sunning and enjoying the shore. Whether you’re looking for fishing, the clearest water, or a good place to relax with your family, there are over 3,200 miles of shoreline in Michigan. We’ve put together the top 10, and it’s still only a fraction of what’s out there. So, book your vacation rental and get going, because there’s a lot for you to discover, so find your Michigan vacation rentals here!
1. Grand Haven State Park Beach
Grand Haven State Park has a beautiful sandy shore of both Lake Michigan along the west side of the park, and on the Grand River along the north side of the park. With scenic views of Lake Michigan and the Grand Haven pier and lighthouse, and the park consisting entire of beach sand, you can’t go wrong here. There’s also camping, so stay a couple of days or more!
2. Empire Beach
Empire Beach offers stunning views and acts as the gateway to the sand dunes. It sits at the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a national park with 35 miles of Lake Michigan coastline, 400-foot dunes, hiking trails, scenic overlooks and some of the best beaches in the state. You can also take a low-key bike ride down one of the designated paths or a self-guided road trip. The area is extremely easy to navigate. One of our favorite things about this beach? It’s dog-friendly!
3. Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore was once voted the “most beautiful place in America” thanks to its 65 miles of shoreline, panoramic vistas, and dunes 400 feet above Lake Michigan. These immense sand dunes are “perched” atop the already towering headlands that are glacial moraines. There are plenty of opportunities to get in the water with the park’s number inland lakes and streams, even more chances to explore and with the numerous hiking paths. You’ll also see kids and the young at heart running up the dunes and rolling back down again. Get in line, because it’s a blast!
4. Orchard Beach State Park
Situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, Orchard Beach State Park shows the best of what Michigan’s state parks have to offer. The small campground is quiet, peaceful, and perfect for a little getaway. The harbor here has two piers where fishing is good year round. Two excellent beaches flank the harbor and have great amenities like playgrounds, picnic facilities, public restrooms, and concessions. While you’re here, be sure to ride the trolley on a historic tour of Manistee. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the city and learn a little bit about its unique history.
5. St. Ignace
St. Ignace, between Lakes Huron and Michigan, is the gateway between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. There are plenty of marinas, boat launches, and docking facilities, but the best way to get in the water here is scuba diving. The Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve is a 148 square mile state preserve that lies at the northern tip of Lakes Michigan and Huron. The Straits have historically had a reputation as a dangerous area to navigate, so you can see a number of shipwrecks. The remains of many have yet to be found.
Manistique was once a thriving lumber town and is now a central destination for enjoying attractions and recreational activities year round. It’s located on the Lake Michigan shoreline in the beautiful Upper Peninsula and surrounded by state and national forest land. We recommend tours of Seul Choix Point Lighthouse and Historic Fayette 19th century ghost town, or a visit to Palms Book State Park, “Big Springs.” Two hundred feet across, Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest spring.
7. Copper Harbor
Off the beaten path, is north Michigan, Copper Harbor can’t be beaten for awe-inspiring nature. Bike down the side of a mountain on the world-class trail system, or spend your time on the beach letting the waves gently lap at your feet. Not for just the beach, at Copper Harbor, you can explore miles of rugged back country and incredible scenic beauty. Take a sea-kayak tour to see the lighthouse or a sunset cruise. Back on land, you can explore the quaint shops and galleries, play a round of mini golf, or just sit back and relax.
8. Rogers City
Rogers City’s has many names, including the Nautical City, Salmon Capital of Michigan and the City of Parks and Trails. The city no doubt earned its title as the “Nautical City,” due to its ties to the shipping industry as well as fishing and water recreation opportunities. While the harbor at Rogers City on Lake Huron mostly attracts fishermen and boaters, anyone can enjoy the crystal clear water.
9. Tiscornia Beach
Tiscornia Beach in St. Joseph is a wonderful spot to spend time with loved ones. Located on Lake Michigan, Tiscornia Beach offers some of the gorgeous views as well as plenty to do. You can experience sand dunes, go swimming, or access the North Pier. Pack your own picnic to enjoy in the picnic area, so you can stay all day. There’s also a bathing beach, a pavilion, and public restrooms.
10. Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Located along Lake Michigan’s sweeping shoreline between Muskegon and Ludington, Michigan, Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area is Michigan’s go-to destination for boating, golfing, hiking, four-wheeling and more. Of course, the sand dunes are really what this park is all about. The 2,000-acre sand mountain separates miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and the 690-acre inland Silver Lake and makes Silver Lake top-notch.