With an extensive freshwater shoreline featuring immaculate beaches, Michigan is the perfect destination for a family-friendly vacation. From impressive sand dunes to spectacular sunsets, there’s something for everyone. Escape to this Midwestern state and experience its diverse beauty.
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Beach Vacation in Michigan: Top Destinations
Beach Vacation in Michigan: Top Accommodations
The Best Beaches in Michigan
Whether you want a traditional experience on the sands, a playground for the entire family, or outdoor adventure, Michigan has a beach for every taste. The following beach areas are sure to give you an unforgettable experience.
1. Cheboygan State Park Beach
Situated in eastern Michigan, Cheboygan State Park offers more than just sand, water, and sun. It’s a great choice for a family picnic, or just to stretch out and relax. Enjoy the terrific views of a historic lighthouse, or hike on the numerous trails that surround this beach.
2. Boardwalk Beach
Both locals and visitors flock to the Upper Peninsula town of Manistique for the stunning views of Lake Michigan. From the comfort of your beach chair, gaze at views of the calming waters and the iconic Manistique Lighthouse. Turning inland, browse the souvenir shops in town, stroll around the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse, or wander along the boardwalk.
3. Warren Dunes State Park
Over one million travelers visit Warren Dunes State Park annually to experience its giant rolling dunes. If you love landscape photography, then the dunes here make the perfect subject. Climbing up the slopes and sandboarding your way back down is another popular activity here. Make sure to climb Tower Hill for some fantastic views of Lake Michigan and the areas beyond.
4. Empire Beach
Situated next to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, dog-friendly Empire Beach is a favorite destination of both locals and visitors. Besides a variety of aquatic activities, you can also enjoy some hiking or birdwatching. For added adventure, take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive through the surrounding forest and sand dunes for some spectacular views of the region.
5. Tiscornia Park
Open throughout the year, this park in St. Joseph makes a convenient location for family time on the beach. In addition to spectacular views and sand dunes, this beach on Lake Michigan offers activity options including picnicking, accessing the North Pier, and swimming. Features like public restrooms, the bathing area, and a pavilion make this a great option for summer fun.
Best Places to Stay for Beach Vacation in Michigan
Things to Do During Your Beach Vacation in Michigan
Seeking some outdoor adventure? No matter where you choose, Michigan beach vacations provide an array of exciting activities to keep you busy. Here's some of our top choices, in and out of the water.
The expansive shoreline along Michigan's many lakes, featuring a mix of dunes, forests, marshes, savannas, and tallgrass prairie, provide ideal habitats for a vast diversity of aquatic life. Long Lake, Lake St Clair, and Saginaw Bay are some excellent spots for fishing. Yellow perch, walleye, bass, and pike are some of the varieties you'll find in local waters.
2. Sunset Viewing
Watching the sun go down over the horizon is a must for summer in Michigan. No matter where you see it, the experience is breathtaking. Head to Sunset Park in Petoskey or Caseville County Park for stellar views at sundown. Climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes to capture this amazing spectacle from an elevated perspective.
Grab some buckets and shovels for some family treasure hunting on the shoreline. Relax and move along at your own pace; there's no itinerary to follow here. Wade through the water before you as you try your luck at finding some charms on the beach. You might encounter artisans and jewelry makers searching for Petoskey stones, beach glass, horn coral, and Leland blue stone.
4. Boat Tours
Your Michigan beach vacation isn't complete without some time on a boat. No matter where you're visiting, Michigan's many lakeside communities offer excursions of all types. Explore the magnificent shorelines, with diverse flora and fauna, gorgeous waters, and breathtaking geological features. Or take a tour covering the history of the Great Lakes, with opportunities to see lighthouses, canals, and even shipwrecks.
Boasting two peninsulas surrounded by large freshwater lakes, Michigan is a birdwatcher's paradise. The numerous waterways, combined with the most extensive forest system in the U.S., provide a diverse habitat with more than 420 species of birds. Some of the most popular birding spots include the Seney National Wildlife Refuge, the Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area and the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory.
Recommended Accommodations for Beach Vacation in Michigan
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