Best Beaches on Lake Michigan: Featuring over 1,600 miles of shoreline, Lake Michigan is also known as “The Third Coast” of the country. With rolling sand dunes, clear waters, and breath-taking views, the beaches on Lake Michigan draw locals and tourists alike.
While beaches on the southern and eastern coasts are home to many towering sand dunes, those on the north and east coast feature rocky formations.
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The cool waters of the lake are perfect to escape the heat. From swimming to kayaking and paddle boarding, there is a plethora of recreational activities to enjoy on Lake Michigan’s stunning beaches.
Many of these beaches also have lakefront hotels, quaint beach towns, excellent restaurants, and campgrounds.
Wondering where to begin?
Let’s help you make the perfect choice with our list of the 11 best beaches on Lake Michigan: –
Ludington State Park #1
Sprawled over 5,300 acres, Ludington State Park is located on the east coast of Lake Michigan. It’s home to numerous beaches, ponds, sand dunes, and forests.
Explore Stearns Park, the city’s largest beach with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, and parking.
Visiting with your furry friend?
Head to the dog-friendly Buttersville Park where you can find campgrounds, picnic areas, and restrooms. One of the most notable attractions here is Big Sable Point Lighthouse.
Indiana Dunes National Park #2
From hiking to bird-watching and swimming, the beaches at Indiana Dunes National Park offer endless recreational activities to enjoy. Nestled on Lake Michigan’s southern shore, the park is home to eight named beaches.
Two of the most popular are West Beach and Porter Beach. West Beach has restrooms, lifeguards, and picnic tables and is usually crowded.
If you’re looking to enjoy some serenity, head to Porter Beach which is comparatively less crowded.
Looking for some adventure?
Hike the Dune Ridge Trail at Kemil Beach.
The beaches are open from 6 AM to 11 PM. You can even get your pet along (provided it’s leashed) on all beaches except West Beach during summer.
Silver Beach #3
Kayak, face the waves on a paddleboard, swim, or soak up the sun, there are abundant outdoor recreational activities to enjoy at this beautiful beach.
With a rock seawall on one end and St. Joseph River on the other, Silver Beach offers a spectacular landscape.
Perched on Lake Michigan’s southern shore, the beach also has an impressive Whirlpool Compass Fountain, perfect for clicking some memorable photos. You’ll also find a carousel, a marina, and ample parking here.
Got some more time on your hands?
Head to the south pier for fishing.
Oval Beach #4
Located near the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, Oval Beach has soft white sand, beautiful dunes, and a happening vibe.
From restaurants to theatres and shops, there are many amenities available here for beachgoers. You can also find concession stands, restrooms, and parking.
Whether you want to enjoy picnicking, swimming or wish to just lounge in the sun and eat your favourite snacks, this award-winning beach won’t disappoint.
With its strict ban on alcohol, it exudes a family-friendly vibe.
If you’re visiting between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you’ll have to pay a small parking fee. It’s free at other times of the year. Dogs are not allowed here.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore #5
Sprawled over 71,187 acres, this impressive park offers varied landscapes and a range of outdoor recreational activities. From forests, lakes, and dunes to stunning beaches, it has it all.
The dunes here are a part of the world’s largest freshwater dune system.
There are seven beaches here. One of the most popular ones includes Platte Point Beach where you can see the Platte River flow to Lake Michigan.
One of the must-do activities here is to floating down the river to the lake in an inner tube. You can also explore the North Bar Lake which is known for its warm, shallow, and calm waters.
Certain beaches are closed in summer and spring to protect the nesting areas of the endangered Great Lake Piping Plovers. You can bring your pet along to some of the beaches but make sure it’s on a leash.
Warren Dunes State Park #6
Featuring three miles of shoreline, Warren Dunes State Park is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure junkies alike.
Spread over 2,000 acres, the park is home to cabins, forests, hiking trails, campsites, and huge sand dunes.
From swimming, and sandboarding to kayaking and paddle-boarding, there is a plethora of fun activities on offer here.
If you’re visiting between mid-May and Labor Day, you’ll find ample food concessions and equipment rentals. The beach is also wheelchair accessible.
Holland State Park #7
Dip your toes in the sugary soft sands at the beaches in Holland State Park. Nestled on Lake Michigan’s east coast in the city of Ottawa, the park is home to several beaches, some of which are on Lake Michigan’s shores while the others are on the shores of Lake Macatawa.
The park is also connected to the Historic Ottawa Park Beach.
You can enjoy outdoor recreational activities such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, and swimming.
Make sure you catch the beautiful sunset and explore the popular Big Red lighthouse which is at walking distance from the park.
Feel like spending the night amidst such beautiful environs?
You can rent a cabin or reserve a spot in the park’s campgrounds.
North Avenue Beach #8
North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Chicago.
Nestled on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, the beach offers mesmerising views of the skyline.
It is home to a beautiful beach house where you can find an ice cream cafe, a restaurant, and restrooms. Rental facilities for kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis, bicycles, beach chairs, etc. are also available here.
Whether you’re looking for some adventure or a pleasant sunbathing session, this beautiful beach is sure to delight.
Make note that swimming is allowed only during beach season when lifeguards are on duty. Smoking and alcohol consumption aren’t allowed here.
Dogs are also not permitted. There are many attractions nearby such as a zoo, tennis courts, and sports fields that you can explore after a fun time at the beach.
North Beach #9
Located on the west coast of Lake Michigan in the charming town of Racine, North Beach offers a happening vibe and stunning natural beauty.
The 50-acre stretch of shoreline offers plenty of outdoor recreational activities. You can play volleyball, get your favourite snacks from the snack bar, or lounge under the sun.
There’s also a playground here.
If you’re visiting during the summer season, you’ll find live music, free parking, and lifeguards on duty too.
The beach is wheelchair accessible. If you feel like exploring more, check out Wind Point Lighthouse.
Petoskey State Park #10
Nestled on Lake Michigan’s north eastern coast, the state park is home to a stunning beach and offers many outdoor recreational activities.
You can enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, playing volleyball, hiking, or picnicking to name a few. Equipment rentals are available.
After a fun time enjoying all the activities, treat yourself to your favourite ice cream from the stands.
Keep your eyes peeled for Petoskey stones, fossils of an old form of coral that you may find on the beach.
Pets are allowed in the park but not on the lakeshore, in order to protect the nests of the endangered Piping Plovers.
You can also camp in the park and explore historic attractions such as The Terrace Inn, Petoskey Brewing Company, and Stafford’s Bay View Inn.
South Haven Beach #11
South Haven has a typical beach town vibe and offers everything you need for a fun beachside outing.
South Haven Beach can be divided into two smaller beaches called North Beach and South Beach.
From buying souvenirs from shops to eating hot dogs, playing frisbee, and creating sandcastles, there are many fun activities to indulge in here.
There’s also a lighthouse and a pier you can explore. When hunger strikes, head to the back of the beach where you’ll find many waterfront restaurants.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a beachside picnic with friends, a romantic retreat with your partner, or a fun family time, the beaches on Lake Michigan won’t disappoint.
So, pick the one that draws you the most and get ready for an epic outing.
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Q. Does Lake Michigan have any beaches?
Featuring over 1,600 miles of shoreline, Lake Michigan is home to many stunning beaches.
Q. What is the clearest beach in Lake Michigan?
Located on Little Traverse Bay, Petoskey State Park is the clearest beach in Lake Michigan.
Q. Does Lake Michigan have nice beaches?
There are many Lake Michigan beaches that feature stunning golden stretches of sand, beautiful sunsets, and rolling hills.