Michigan’s beach towns offer something to appeal to all sorts of tastes – waterfront culture or just great food and beverages! Many are family-oriented while others focus on fun nightlife.
Western Michigan town that lies west of Grand Rapids offers maritime fun galore. Beautiful beaches such as Kirk Park and Tunnel Park provide opportunities for dune climbing as well as beautiful scenic vistas.
Saugatuck, Michigan’s premier beach town, combines culture and outdoor adventure. Situated on West Michigan’s lake shore, Saugatuck features towering sand dunes, an artist colony and plenty of activities ranging from fun on the water to exploring its charming shopping district – making it a must visit destination for both beach enthusiasts and history enthusiasts.
Lake Michigan beach towns like Manitowish Waters are some of the most breathtaking and underrated in Michigan, offering crystal-clear waters and stunning stretches of sandy beach that create an idyllic getaway experience. While they might not offer as many amenities, Manitowish Waters make for an incredible retreat experience that you won’t want to leave anytime soon!
With its stunning beachfront and picturesque lake view, Michigan vacation spot Traverse City is an idyllic escape. Packed full of shops, restaurants and other great places to explore – including its historic downtown district with over 100 specialty stores – Traverse City provides the ideal destination.
At Lake Michigan’s shores lies this beach town dedicated to family fun and relaxation. Boasting wide and clean beaches as well as warm year-round temperatures that encourage water activities, this town makes a wonderful destination for fun family vacations and fun water activities!
Patty Birkholz Natural Area offers an idyllic opportunity to commune with nature while taking in breathtaking Michigan shoreline scenery. Additionally, Oval Beach’s sand is legendary.
St. Joseph is known as the Riviera of the Midwest and makes for an incredible lakefront destination in Michigan. You’ll discover lovely, active beaches with soft silver dunes and paths for exploration; while its charming downtown shopping district offers books, boutiques, and other treasures waiting to be discovered.
2. East Tawas
Lakeside town Lake Placid offers the ideal setting for family vacations, romantic getaways and business travel. Aside from offering abundant natural and historical resources, there are also ample outdoor adventures as well as unique shopping and dining experiences available here.
Beach activities in this Michigan town are at the core of its identity; from sunbathing on sandy shores to exploring historic shipwrecks on nearby Lake Huron. Furthermore, this city also boasts a large park and campground offering playgrounds, picnic areas, 178 campsites, and approximately 2,000 feet of beach frontage.
Strolling along Newman Street is an enjoyable way to experience the old-world yet modern charm of this lakeside community. Bookstores, ice cream/fudge shops and gift boutiques line its length.
Spend the day snorkeling, exploring the beach, and learning about local shipwrecks; rent boats; kayak; paddle board or jet ski; or use any one of several boat rentals, kayaking, paddle boarding and jet skiing activities offered in this city. Bikini Bar Beach in particular is well known for its relaxed barefoot atmosphere with live entertainment provided.
East Tawas, Michigan’s quaint beach town located on Michigan’s sunrise side is one of the top travel destinations for shopping, dining and relaxing. Home to numerous breweries and wineries as well as some amazing lakeside activities including Iargo Springs, Lumberman’s Monument AuSable River Queen or even hiking in Huron National Forest there’s plenty to keep visitors occupied – not forgetting luxurious hotels which provide all amenities!
Marquette, one of Michigan’s premier beach towns, attracts travelers of all types. Nestled along Lake Superior’s scenic shoreline and teeming with rugged forested mountains and waterfalls, Marquette boasts an active downtown district packed with boutique shops and eateries that draws in summer visitors for hiking, biking and waterfall hunting; autumn brings cozy days filled with colorful leaves; while winter offers skiing opportunities.
Marquette, as the largest city in Upper Peninsula, features a charming downtown district filled with shopping and dining opportunities as well as numerous cultural activities, events, and attractions that await exploration.
Visitors can spend their day strolling Silver Beach for pure Lake Michigan fun, featuring active beachside concessions and paddleboard and bike rental, large dunes of soft silver sand dunes and spectacular sunset views across Lake Michigan’s shimmering waters. Silver Beach also makes for a beautiful place to watch sunset!
Presque Isle Park provides an exciting outdoor adventure where hikers can reach Lake Superior’s iconic Black Rocks for swimming or simply enjoying breathtaking bluff views from Presque Isle’s bluffs. Additionally, hiking trails at Presque Isle Natural Area provide access to exploring the region’s lush forests.
Traverse City is well known as the cherry capital of the world and it’s easy to understand why with its beautiful beaches, charming downtown districts, boutique shopping and upscale dining establishments. Traverse City also provides ample outdoor adventure with not one but two Grand Traverse Bays as well as Old Mission Peninsula as well as state parks and nature areas to choose from.
4. Traverse City
Attractively known as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” Traverse City offers plenty of activities all year round to keep visitors busy on its waterfront, such as upscale and mainstream boutiques, Michigan history, outdoor adventures such as biking trails leading to wineries, and Michigan history.
Long sandy beaches on Lake Michigan provide a relaxing escape, featuring fun attractions and spectacular sunsets. The Michigan Maritime Museum at downtown Harborfront provides sailing experience aboard tall ships; Bryant Park, Clinch Park and West Grand Traverse Bay beaches boast sugar sand and shallow waters ideal for children; whilst Bryant Park sand contains fossilized coral – providing opportunities to search out Petoskey stones!
Attractions to this region also include its vibrant wine industry. Wine tours and tastings at popular wineries like Bowers Harbor Vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula are popular summer activities while Right Brain Brewery provides an assortment of beers, ciders and cold brew coffee beverages for enjoyment.
Traverse City’s shopping district is an urban oasis, filled with hidden byways, cozy cottages, stunning galleries and mouthwatering restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining. Fresh fruits and vegetables from area farms can also be found at farmers markets, roadside stands or U-pick orchards; not to mention nearby attractions like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as well as numerous golf courses. Furthermore, vacation rental homes make exploring all that Traverse City has to offer an easy process!
5. St. Joseph
However, although larger than Saugatuck or East Tawas, this beautiful beach town remains a Michigan treasure with plenty of beer, food, art, culture, hiking trails, biking paths, Lake Michigan beaches, beautiful parks, historical Front Street with galleries and fudge shops all within mere feet of each other. You won’t run out of things to do!
Kick off your vacation at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, which highlights the rich history of this vibrant beach town. Their collections feature archival photos, books, oral histories, vintage films and much more – plus they host events throughout the year!
After exploring the area’s past, take a walk along the paved pathway connecting parks and beaches. Enjoy stunning views of pier range lighthouses, the harbor, and downtown skylines while walking, jogging or cycling on this scenic trail.
Silver Beach in St Joseph Michigan is an increasingly popular beach that features both a boardwalk and playground for visitors to enjoy. Less crowded than Lions Park Beach, Silver Beach makes an excellent place for children to build a sand castle or simply explore the shore.
Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone is another must-visit attraction for families with kids. This two-story make-believe museum offers hands-on learning and creativity through hands-on play – complete with farmer’s market, vet clinic (complete with real X-rays!), ambulance and more!
Michigan beach towns continue to inspire artists of all kinds; you’ll find everything from elegant sculptures and picture frames to breathtaking oil paintings and vibrant watercolor paintings here.