It is June. We are getting warmer and warmer weather in Michigan. Therefore many people are heading to the beach. If you are planning a vacation in Michigan, you are in luck. The state, surrounded by three of the Great Lakes, has number of beautiful little towns with gorgeous beaches. Most of them line up Lake Michigan coast. Below you will find more information about the best beach towns in Michigan.
Beginning in the south, about 40 miles north from the Indiana border, you find town of South Haven. It is a small beach community with the population of over 4,000. The town actually has two beaches – South and North Beach divided by the Black River. Like many other Great Lakes town, one of its attractions is the pier and a lighthouse. In the nearby area you also find nature trails, golf courses, picturesque inland lakes and a few wineries. One of the unique local attraction is the Michigan Maritime Museum, which offers daily sails aboard the 101-ft Friends Good Will, a replica of an 1810 square topsail sloop. (Read more about tall ship cruises on Great Lakes here.)
Less than 20 miles away to the north lies the town of Saugatuck with its spectacular Oval Beach. The Oval Beach has been ranked as one of the “Top 25 Beaches in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Saugatuck was also rated the “Best Small Coastal Town” by the USA Today. The town also offers plenty of dinning and shopping opportunities.
Yet another 10 miles to the north, you will find the much bigger town of Holland, best known for its Dutch heritage. The two lovely beaches nearby are the Ottawa Beach on the north side of Lake Macatawa and – located 2 miles further along the shoreline -Tunnel Park beach.
Holland, with its charming downtown, offers many dinning and shopping amenities. The local attractions include the Windmill Island Gardens and another lighthouse – the “Big Red”. (Read more about Holland attractions and Tulip Time festival in my post here.)
About one third up the Lake Michigan shore, on the south side of Grand River, there is a town of Grand Haven. It is, yet another of the small charming beach communities located on Lake Michigan. The Grand Haven State Park with its popular beach is located just south of the Grand River. The town was named “2017 Happiest Seaside Town” by the Coastal Living magazine.
A tiny, quaint town, with a population of just under a 1,000, located about 10 miles south of much bigger and more known, Ludington. Pentwater is known for its clean, quarter mile long, public, white-sand beach. The beach is part of Charles Mears State Park. The town, though small, offers surprisingly numerous accommodations and dinning choices. Yet, it is small enough, that you can park your car, relax and get everywhere on foot.
The main attraction of the town is one of Michigan’s most popular state parks – Ludington State Park. The quite sizable park includes miles of Lake Michigan shoreline as well as beaches on the inland Hamlin Lake. There are also miles of hiking trails throughout the park and along Hamlin Lake. Additionally, the dune area along the road leading to the park, and located on park’s property, is very popular and enjoyed by the locals.
This small, quiet town sits in the middle of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The park stretches along some 35 miles of Lake Michigan coastline. It offers numerous attractions – from number of beaches, nature trails, scenic overlooks, to kayaking and tubing on local rivers.
One of the beaches in the park, that are regularly enjoyed by the locals, is the Esch Beach, located at the end of the Esch Road. Another one, further south, is the Peterson Beach, named one of “America’s 10 Best Beaches” by The Saturday Evening Post.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Petoskey is another beautiful beach town, located much further north at the tip of the Little Traverse Bay. The scenic beach in town is actually within Petoskey State Park located just about two miles north. The town itself is known for its Victorian homes and “Petoskey Stone” – Michigan state stone. You will find plenty of accommodations, dining choices and shopping opportunities in the area.
Munising located in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula along the shore of Lake Superior is definitely worth mentioning, when talking about best beach towns in Michigan. The town sits at the western end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which has few amazing beaches. Visitors love the close to town (about 4 miles) Sand Point Beach, named by The Weather Channel as one of the “Top Five Summer Beaches in America.” Another one, equally beautiful, located further east, is the Miners Beach.
The area, however, has much more to offer than just beaches. There are scenic overlooks of the rock formations in Pictured Rocks, boat tours to enjoy the stunning views from the water, hiking and biking trails, picturesque waterfalls and much, much more. (Read more about Pictured Rocks Nat’l Lakeshore and Upper Peninsula attaractions in my post here.)
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
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All these towns have their own unique charm and it would be difficult to pick one over another. One option would be to go on a tour through all of them. While that would require a lot of driving, it is definitely worth considering.