Top 10 Beaches in Michigan

Published on July 20th, 2021

What are the Most Popular Beaches in Michigan?

Some people dismiss Michigan as a midwestern flyover — but oh, how wrong those people are. Though it might not have ocean coast, Michigan boasts more than 3,000 miles of shoreline, including the shores of its multiple lake islands… which is to say, it’s got some incredible opportunities for beachgoers.

Top Beaches in Michigan

1. Little Presque Isle Beach

2. Sand Point Beach

3. Mackinac Island State Park

4. Cheboygan State Park Beach

5. Petoskey State Park

6. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

7. Caseville Beach

8. Harbor Beach

9. Silver Lake Sand Dunes

10. Grand Haven City Beach

Michigan Beaches

Without further ado, here are 10 must-see beaches in the Great Lake State.

1. Little Presque Isle Beach

Little Presque Isle with Driftwood Scene near Marquette, MI

Although it doesn’t share the popularity and development of Presque Isle Park, Little Presque Isle is sometimes known to locals as the “crown jewel of Lake Superior” — and any visitor can easily ascertain why as soon as they step foot on this gorgeous landscape. The pristine, untouched, soft-sand beaches are just the start; the area also offers stunning shoreline cliffs, lush forest cover, and unique dunes, swales, and other formations caused by this area’s glacial history. The visible rock formations here often date back as far as 2.3 billion years — yes, billion with a “b.” What’s more, the area is still in flux; the lake island is believed to have been joined with the mainland shoreline as shortly ago as the 1930s, when fur traders began colonizing the land. Long story short: you definitely want to make a visit.

Things to do near Little Presque Isle Beach: Just outside the popular UP destination of Marquette, Little Presque Isle Beach is within easy reach of plenty of fun and interesting diversions. We highly recommend checking out the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, which was originally constructed in 1853 and is open seasonally for tours. Here are some local RVshare rentals and RV parks to consider!

2. Sand Point Beach

Sand Point Beach- sunset at sand point beach in the upper peninsula of Michigan in the beautiful Munising area.

Another picturesque point along the Superior Lakeshore, Sand Point Beach offers the family friendly, festival atmosphere you expect out of a classic summer beach day. Soft sands and shallow waters make this beach friendly for even the youngest visitors, and developed amenities like restrooms and picnic tables make it easy to while away a day in comfort. Known for its epic sunsets and breathtaking scenery, this beach is also the launch point for the boat tours of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, with the Pictured Rock Lakeshore Park Headquarters immediately adjacent to the beach itself.

Things to do near Sand Point Beach: The cruises along the lakeshore are well worth taking, since these beautiful and unique geological formations are best seen from the waterside. Most of them start in the town of Munising, which offers many other tourist-directed amenities and resources. Here are some local RVshare rentals to call home during your trip — and campgrounds to take them to!

3. Mackinac Island State Park

Cannon on the beach - Mackinac Island.

Honestly: Mackinac Island State Park is a worthy destination, even if you have no intention of setting foot on its (beautiful, rugged, rocky) beach. Known for its walk-down-memory-lane car-free existence, where horse-drawn carriages and bicycles provide the fastest modes of transportation, this island is a must-see for everyone who makes their way to the state of Michigan, and may even be a worthy cause to justify the whole trip. But we do recommend dropping by the beach, whose limestone bluffs and vast lake views make for a one-of-a-kind Michigan beach experience.

Things to do near Mackinac Island State Park: The entire state pretty much is the park, with many points of interest to explore, such as Eagle Point Cave and Sunset Rock. Along the island’s southern shore, where the ferries come in, you’ll find more developed amenities, including a Catholic church and the The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World. In other words: you’re not going to get bored. Here are some local RVshare rentals to consider (though you’ll need to leave your wheels behind on the mainland!).

4. Cheboygan State Park Beach

Cheboygan Michigan Lighthouse. Lighthouse on the Lake Huron coast on the downtown waterfront beach of Cheboygan, Michigan.

Located approximately at the tip of the ring finger on the left-handed mitten that is Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Cheboygan State Park offers 1,250 acres of beautiful preserved countryside, not to mention scenic, sandy beachfront along Duncan Bay — part of the (much) larger Lake Huron. The beach’s soft sands are matched by shaded forest canopy, making it a great spot for those who want to spend time by the water but maybe don’t want to be blasted by the sun the entire time. What’s more, the rest of the park is criss-crossed with hiking trails and also offers developed amenities like playgrounds, cabins, boat ramps, and more. In short, it would be easy to make a trip to this state park an entire vacation.

Things to do near Cheboygan State Park Beach: As its name suggests, this state park is just outside of the town of Cheboygan, which offers a variety of area parks and green spaces. If you’re looking for a different kind of nearby lakefront experience, Aloha State Park is only 20 minutes south; there are some great local RVshare rentals available to string together a trip of it!

5. Petoskey State Park

Great Lakes Sand Dune Landscape. Rare freshwater coastal dune ecosystem on the coast of Lake Michigan at Petoskey State park in Michigan.

Uniquely situated on the stretch of land where Little Traverse Bay dips inward into Michigan, and immediately backed up by a complex of interior bodies of water, Petoskey State Park is surrounded by varying water habitats and offers visitors an excellent opportunity to get familiar with these different ecosystems — and it also features a mile-long stretch of sandy bay beach. Wooded hiking trails run through the park’s 300+ acres, which also feature on-site camping, kayak rentals, and more. Curl up on your towel on the sand while the kids splash in the gentle, shallow waves, or take a long, ambling walk along the shoreline — either way, it’s a great place to while away a summer day.

Things to do near Petoskey State Park: Because of the collection of inland lakes immediately adjacent to the park, this beach is surrounded by preserves and green spaces that all have their own charms to offer. To name just a few, consider checking out Spring Lake Park, South Round Lake Nature Preserve, and the Fochtman Nature Preserve. Here are some area RVshare rentals to help you feel at home on the road!

6. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

It’s not often a lakeshore is stunning and significant enough to be reified and preserved by the national park system itself — but that’s exactly the case at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which lies along the west coast of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula just outside of the town of Empire (which has its own excellent beaches to explore, for the record). With more than 60 miles of shoreline and sand dunes to explore, this park is epic in every sense of the word, and also offers a variety of challenging hikes, including dune climbs, along with the expansive views of Lake Michigan. There are multiple beach access points to discover, and you could easily spend several vacations getting familiar with them all!

Things to do near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Less than an hour’s drive from Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is within easy reach of many urban landscapes, both big and small, and all the resources they have on offer for tourists and residents alike. Here are some local RVshare rentals and campgrounds to consider for your journey.

7. Caseville Beach

sunset in Sleepers State park Caseville Michigan

While Michigan’s west coast — along the Great Lake of the same name — is studded with beaches all the way down (a few of which we’ll return to later in this list), the east coast has some incredible waterfronts to offer, too, not the least of which is Caseville Beach. Tucked onto the “thumb” of Michigan’s mitten, this beach is backed up with a local county park that offers RV camping right on-site, and an inviting stretch of sand with shallow, calm waters and excellent sunsetting potential. During the summer, live concerts are regularly held in this scenic outdoor venue, and many nearby restaurants make it easy to spend a day, a weekend, or longer enjoying the relaxing shoreline and beautiful sights in comfort.

Things to do near Caseville Beach: Small but mighty, nearby Sleeper State Park is well worth your visit, what with its miles of hiking trails through scenic dune forests and seasonally available campsites. Speaking of which, here are some local RVshare rentals to consider!

8. Harbor Beach

Harbor Beach Lighthouse
By Aaron Linville – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35067228

Another east-coast Michigan must-see, Harbor Beach’s strand of sandy waterfront is surrounded by small-town amenities and developments that make this one of the hidden gems of the Lower Peninsula, in our opinion; there’s easy access to a beautiful lake pier off of which to view the local surroundings, including the Harbor Beach Lighthouse, as well as a well-appointed marina and plenty of fishing opportunities. The immediate body of water to the area is called Harbor of Refuge, and although it probably wasn’t the intent when it was named, visitors can sense the calm and peace that the area exudes even to those who stay onshore.

Things to do near Harbor Beach: Harbor Beach Lighthouse is open for tours, though it’s recommended to book ahead of time. The town is also home to cultural attractions like the Frank Murphy Memorial Museum and the Grice House Museum, along with its eateries, shops, and other must-sees. Here are some local RVshare rentals for your trip!

9. Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Landscape of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes at dawn, Silver Lake State Park, Michigan, USA

Bopping back over to the west Michigan coast, Silver Lake Sand Dunes awaits less than an hour north of the town of Muskegon, a stretch of shimmering golden dunes located in the greater preserved area of Silver Lake State Park. Although they’re off the beaten path, these dunes offer an otherworldly and wholly untouched kind of beach front, and, for many visitors, a new perspective on this part of the midwest — which is, after all, the result of millennia of slow but powerful glacial and tectonic movements. For those who grow tired of wandering along the dunes under their own power, rides on dune buggies are locally available. The park also offers a special section set aside expressly for off-road vehicles.

Things to do near Silver Lake Sand Dunes: While Muskegon is the biggest local city in the area, there are plenty of smaller communities surrounding this preserve that also have plenty to offer. Muskegon State Park is also worth checking out, as are these local RVshare rentals!

10. Grand Haven City Beach

Grand Haven Pier along the shore of Lake Michigan.

Follow I-96 west from Grand Rapids, and you’ll find yourself in the beachside town of Grand Haven — and its crowning jewel is Grand Haven City Beach, easily one of the most beautiful and easily accessible waterfronts in all of Michigan. Located inside the larger preserve of Grand Haven State Park, which features wooded hiking trails and even a small wintertime ski bowl, this beach is known for its soft sands and surprisingly surfable waters; it’s also a great place to try out kiteboarding, if that’s your thing. Although Grand Haven City Beach isn’t pet friendly, Grand Haven Dog Beach is minutes away and the perfect place to play and splash with your furry family member. Do be aware these beaches charge daily use fees, which many of the others in our list do not. (They’re pretty affordable, though, and well worth it!)

Things to do near Grand Haven City Beach: Other nearby preserved green spaces, such as Hofma Preserve and Rosy Mound Natural Area, are well worth visiting and exploring. As always, here are the best local RVshare rentals in the area so you can extend your trip comfortably as long as you like!

Planning an RV Trip to Michigan

Miles of beautiful beach front is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what there is to see and do in Michigan. An RV trip is the perfect way to get acquainted with the state — and from RV rentals to state parks to explore, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also gathered up the top 10 campgrounds in the Upper Peninsula, as well as in the state as a whole, and penned guides to its biggest cities, from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie. The rest is up to you… but fortunately, that’s the fun part!

What do you think?

How much can you make renting your RV?

See How Much You Can Make

How much can you make renting your RV?

See How Much You Can Make

Similar Articles

Top 10 Beaches in Ohio

What are the Most Popular Beaches in Ohio? With its many miles of Lake Erie shoreline and vast network of…

Read More

Top 10 Beaches in North Carolina

What are the Most Popular Beaches in North Carolina? In case you haven’t already heard, North Carolina’s got it going…

Read More

Top 10 Beaches in New York

What are the Most Popular Beaches in New York? It’s understandable if, when you think of New York, the first…

Read More

Top 10 Beaches in Oklahoma

What are the most popular beaches in Oklahoma? While Oklahoma might not be a coastal state, there are many wonderful…

Read More

Top 10 Beaches in New Mexico

What are the Most Popular Beaches in New Mexico? New Mexico isn’t exactly known for its oceanfront property — kind…

Read More

Top 10 Beaches in New Jersey

What are the Most Popular Beaches in New Jersey? With 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, New Jersey could reasonably be…

Read More