5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (2024)

5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (1)

Discover 5 Unique Beaches in Michigan

Michigan, with its impressive 3,200 miles of coastline, boasts an abundance of stunning beaches. Whether you’re drawn to towering sand dunes or prefer wide expanses of soft, sandy shoreline, the Great Lakes state has something for everyone.

As a lifelong Michigan resident, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring these beautiful beaches over the years. What sets them apart? Each beach along Michigan’s coast has its own unique charm and defining features.

When planning your beach getaway in Michigan, several factors come into play. Cleanliness, accessibility, unique features, and amenities are all crucial considerations. Fortunately, Michigan boasts some exceptional beaches that excel in at least one of these criteria.

Let’s dive into the top picks:

5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (2)

Must-Visit Lake Michigan Beaches

Jean Klock Park, 650 Upton Dr, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

This Lake Michigan beach in Benton Harbor is one of southwest Michigan’s best-kept secrets. Clean and convenient, I love it because with almost 3,000 feet of soft sand beach, there’s room enough for everyone. I’ve visited on some of the busiest days in mid-summer, and never felt crowded.

In addition to the large stretch of beach, there’s an ample-sized paved parking lot as well as a boardwalk and pavilion. Climb the small dunes for an expansive view of Lake Michigan with the St. Joseph lighthouse in the distance.

Other amenities include concessions, a bathhouse, a children’s playground, and volleyball courts.
No dogs allowed
Fee: $6 residents daily; $8 non-residents daily; $35 annual pass

5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (3)

Empire Village Beach in Downtown Empire

The views at this gorgeous beach in northwest Michigan get me every time. Located in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you’ll find amazing views of the Empire Bluffs from the quarter mile of Lake Michigan shoreline here.

Empire Beach is unique for a couple of reasons. It’s set between two lakes: Lake Michigan and South Bar Lake, and you can spend some time swimming in the warm calm waters of South Bar and then jump into cool and wavy Lake Michigan. It’s also one of the best places in northern Michigan to catch a Lake Michigan sunset, and you can join the others who line the beach at dusk to catch a glimpse of the sun as it sinks into the lake every evening.

Other amenities include restrooms, a playground and the Robert Manning Memorial Lighthouse.
Fee: $1 parking fee

5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (4)

Must-Visit Lake Huron Beaches

Oscoda Beach Park in Downtown Oscoda

One of the best ADA accessible beaches in Michigan, Oscoda Beach Park has everything you need for the perfect beach day and you can even bring your leashed dog! With several hundreds of feet of soft, sugar-sand Lake Huron beachfront, the wide boardwalk, beach mat and pier make accessibility easy.

Located just a short walk from downtown Oscoda’s restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops, you don’t even have to pack a picnic, although the grills, picnic tables and pavilion make it convenient. There’s a large children’s playground and even an ADA accessible swing.

Other amenities include a skate park, sand volleyball, a basketball court, concessions, bathhouse, and restrooms.

Free parking
Leashed dogs are welcome here

5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (5)

Port Crescent State Park, 1775 Port Austin Rd, Port Austin, MI 48467

Head to the tip of Michigan’s Thumb Region for one of the best beaches in the state. By day, Port Crescent State Park is a soft sandy paradise with three miles of beachfront on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay in Port Austin. Miles of trails through sand dunes and the Pinnebog River that cuts through the park makes for great hiking and kayaking, too.

By night, Port Crescent is one of Michigan’s Dark Sky Preserves, a perfect spot for viewing the night sky and possibly catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

Other amenities include restrooms and camping, although the campground is closed for the 2024 camping season.

Fee: A Michigan Recreation Passport is required for entry; cost is $14
Pets are allowed along the entire length of the Lake Huron shoreline (3 miles) except for the designated swim beach in the modern campground. Pets must always be on a 6-foot leash and under an owner’s immediate control. All pet waste must be properly disposed of in trash receptacles.

5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (6)

Must-Visit Lake Superior Beaches

McCarty’s Cove Beach, 538 N Lakeshore Blvd, Marquette, MI 49855

As one of the most family-friendly beaches in Michigan, McCarty’s Cove unique setting on a sandy stretch of Lake Superior shoreline makes it a must-visit destination in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Located in downtown Marquette, you’ll have great views of the Marquette Harbor lighthouse, one of the most picturesque lighthouses on Lake Superior.

I love that there are lifeguards on duty here, too, which is rare for most Michigan beaches. Clearly, Marquette knows the importance of water safety.

Other amenities include sand volleyball, restrooms, grills, a playground, and picnic tables.

Fee: Free
No dogs allowed here

Find More Michigan Beaches

If you enjoy exploring Michigan beaches as much as I do, be sure to check out similar posts such as:

  • 30 Best Michigan Beaches
  • Best Family Beaches in Michigan
  • Lake Michigan Beaches
  • Amazing Lake Huron Beaches
5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners (2024)


5 Must-Visit Michigan Beaches for 2024: Beach Award Winners? ›

1. Holland State Park Beach. The walk on the pier is pleasant as well as kayaking, paddle-boarding and swimming in the lake!

What is the number one beach in Michigan? ›

1. Holland State Park Beach. The walk on the pier is pleasant as well as kayaking, paddle-boarding and swimming in the lake!

Which beach in Michigan has the clearest water? ›

Copper Harbor

Here, travelers have access to the clearest water of all the Great Lakes. Visitors can swim in Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater sea, search for glowing yooperlites along the coast and admire the aurora borealis when the sun goes down.

Where is the best place to find sea glass in Michigan? ›

The best places to search are beaches near areas that have been populated for a long time since there is a greater chance that glass has been disposed of in the area. I like to look for areas of the beach where small stones are washing up on shore, especially after a storm.

What beach in Michigan looks like the Caribbean? ›

1. The Caribbean of the North. Torch Lake lives up to its nickname as Michigan's very own Caribbean. Its striking turquoise hues and bright sandy shores evoke visions of far-off tropical islands.

Where is the bluest water in Michigan? ›

Torch Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Lake Glen are said to be the bluest lakes in Michigan.

What is the number 1 lake in Michigan? ›

1) Houghton Lake

Houghton Lake is the largest lake in Michigan which stands as a monument to the state's breathtaking natural beauty. It covers a massive area of approximately 22,000 acres which makes it the largest inland lake in Michigan.

What beach in Michigan has white sand? ›

Oval Beach, Saugatuck, Michigan

Set along the southeast shore of Lake Michigan near the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area and Kalamazoo River, the beach offers clean white sand, rolling dunes, and natural beauty.

What Lake looks like the Caribbean? ›

Torch Lake in northern Michigan is enormous, and its alluring turquoise waters are reminiscent of more tropical destinations in the Caribbean.

What celebrity lives on Torch Lake? ›

Torch Lake is home to a number of celebrity retreats. At one point, Kid Rock, Eminem, Michael Moore, Ted Nugent, and others. Though Torch Lake is a favorite spot for the rich and famous, you don't have to be a celebrity to own a home here.

What beach has all sea glass? ›

Fort Bragg Glass Beach: A Former Dump Turned Treasure Trove

Perhaps the most famous glass beach of them all, nestled in Mendocino County in Northern California, is Fort Bragg. This beautiful beach, now part of the Mackerricher State Park, holds the highest concentration of sea glass on the west coast.

Can you take driftwood from Lake Michigan? ›

Generally, removing natural materials from public lands requires a permit. State Beaches: Collecting driftwood from state parks and natural areas is generally prohibited. It's best to avoid collecting from Door County's two state beaches.

Do Michigan beaches have sea shells? ›

Besides rocks, you'll also come across small shells, zebra mussels (invasive and sharp on the feet but pretty nevertheless), driftwood, and bird feathers. You'll find flat rocks that are perfect for skipping – and a little friendly competition. Let's face it, a day at a Michigan beach is a day you'll never want to end.

What lake looks like a beach in Michigan? ›

There's an Enormous Lake in Michigan That Looks Like a Tropical Caribbean Paradise | Torch lake, Lake michigan, Caribbean beaches.

Does Michigan have beautiful beaches? ›

Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. From St. Joseph in the south of Michigan to Silver Lake to the north, every beachtown on Lake Michigan will bring you idyllic views and days of sun-soaked fun.

Why is Grace Bay Beach the best? ›

An extensive barrier reef is located about a mile (1.6 km) offshore, and protects Grace Bay from the ocean swells of the Atlantic, which helps to keep the water at the beach calm and safe.

What is the number 2 beach in America? ›

Ranked the #2 Beach in the U.S. and #9 Best Beach in the World in 2024 by TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice Awards™, you will quickly understand why when you feel the quartz-crystal powdery sand between your toes, and experience the soft waves and the abundance of sun & fun at gorgeous Siesta Beach.


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