Are you looking for a guide to the best (and most beautiful) Lake Michigan beaches? Keep reading to find out my favourite 12 beaches around Lake Michigan.
Lake Michigan, with its shining blue waters and golden sand beaches sits slap bang in the middle of the Midwest, bordering Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. It’s so vast, that from the edge it looks like a giant inland sea. Due to its vastness it can seem overwhelming to pick a beach from which to slip into its cool waters. Don’t worry, though, we’ve compiled a list of the best Lake Michigan beaches to take all the hassle out of figuring out where to dip your toes.
North Avenue Beach – Chicago, Illinois
First up on our list of the best Lake Michigan beaches comes with a LOT of bang for its buck. With loads of attractions and a great location in close proximity to Chicago. There’s loads to do on North Avenue Beach from renting a bike to use along the beachfront trail, taking a paddle birding lesson, or getting on some jet skis! There’s also a 22000 sq.ft beach house, and a pretty rad Bar & Grill called Castaways that also has a pretty cool stage for bands in the evenings.
What I love about this beach, is further up the lake’s edge is also concrete beach. It’s like a beach, but there’s concrete instead of sand. At first this sounds really unappealing – but then you realise there’s no fuss and sand to contend with when drying off – and suddenly you’re happy to trade off the sand for some concrete! Whether you end up sitting on the sandy bit, or the concrete bit – it’s an amazing choice for Lake Michigan beaches and one of my must-visit choices.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse – Luddington, Michigan
Next on my list of the best Lake Michigan beaches, it’s Big Sable Point! This beach has a lighthouse (enough said.. come on now!) and is probably one of Lake Michigan’s most picturesque beaches – just take a look at the photo below – it’s simply stunning.
You can tour it from May to October, and the beach is within a national state park, so it’s beauty is well protected and it’s well worth enjoying. Like North Avenue, this beach can get BUSY so get in early for your spot on the sand, but regardless of crowds, this is certainly one of the most beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, hands down.
Whitefish Dunes Beach – Sturgeon Park, Wisconsin
Next on my list of Lake Michigan beaches, it’s Whitefish Dunes Beach.
The name kind of gives it away, this place is beautiful, and you’ll love this Lake Michigan beach if you like sandy dune beaches. This one of Lake Michigan’s beaches is located in Door County, Wisconsin, and is also located in a national state park. The beach is 1.5 miles long, Sandy, and also offers hiking trails into the park range from a quarter of a mile to about 5 miles long. It’s. great place in all seasons, even in the winter, this is one of the Lake Michigan beaches I’d love to have a stroll down.
Porter Beach – Westchester Township, Indiana
The Indiana Dunes state park, where Porter beach is located (a couple of beaches up on this list of Lake Michigan beaches), is a community of lake front cottages surrounded by swathes of white sand blue waters. It’s a really coveted spot, as you can imagine – as the beach is so lovely to look at and spend time on.
In the Indiana Dunes area there’s around 15 miles of beaches, but porter is by far the most pristine, and offers views of the charming little cottages by the water. Definitely a favourite amongst these Lake Michigan beaches.
Oak Street Beach – Chicago, Illinois
Next on my list of Lake Michigan beaches, is Oak Street Beach. Another awesome Chicago beach, right in the heart of the city centre. This takes its place in our list of the best Lake Michigan beaches because it’s so close to the city, the view is great, and there’s something kind of special being right on the lake, with all the amenities of the city right behind you.
This beach is right near the Gold Cost neighbourhood, there’s loads of fun activities to be had from bike rental to boat rental. And the best bit is, it’s right by public transport in the city, and it’s right next to loads of eating option for your lunch-time selection! This is a great choice of Lake Michigan beaches, especially if you’re based near or in Chicago.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach – Holland, Michigan
Saugatuck Dunes State Park is my next choice on this list of Lake Michigan beaches. This beach is a bit of a hike from the car park (around 2.5 miles), but that means that due to its seclusion it’s still got a kind of wild rawness about it. Also the walk is a nice one, and in the spring or summer – it’s just as nice as relaxing on the beach itself. This is one of my favourite because it feels a bit more rugged, and you wouldn’t know you were sat by a lake, it feels every bit ocean to me.
The beauty of this beach feels almost untouched by humans, especially if you turn up early before any one else gets out here. Come for bird watching and undeveloped terrain – stay for the pristine beach itself. It’s also lovely in the winter too – just google some images of the beach in winter, and you’ll see what I mean!
Silver Beach – St. Joseph, Michigan
The next suggestion of beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan is Silver Beach. The name itself sounds promising right? Silver Beach County Park is 2,450 feet long (that’s a lot of beach!) and it’s a gorgeous place to spend the day during the summer time. There’s loads to do on Silver Beach too, so if you like to get involved in water sports or beach sports – then this is probably a perfect choice of Lake Michigan beaches for you. You can kayak there, play volleyball, rent boats, and there’s also a playground too.
Point Betsie Lighthouse Area – Frankfort Michigan
Point Betsie is a lighthouse on Michigan’s north eastern shore, and is probably one of Lake Michigan’s most famous and well visited lighthouses. Frankfort beach is super nearby, and there’s plenty of amenities to keep everyone occupied. It’s a great choice for a day out, and it’s a lovely place to take photos too!
Schoolhouse Beach – Washington Island
Next on my list of beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, it’s Schoolhouse Beach. You can probably tell from the photo below, that this one is a little different to the other Lake Michigan beaches on the list. Schoolhouse beach is home to huge pebbles instead of sand, they’re smooth and round and actually amazing to walk across after they’ve been warmed by the sun.
This Lake Michigan beach will require a little bit of getting to, by taking a ferry from the shore to get to the island itself. Washington Island is a gorgeous sight of natural beauty, and because it’s a little harder to get to than some of the beaches around the edge, it definitely feels more secluded. And look at those views! This is definitely one of the secret Lake Michigan beaches that not many people know about.
Ottowa Beach Park – Holland, Michigan
Ottowa beach is the next location on my list of Lake Michigan beaches. This whole area is very popular with beach goers, and offers quite a few stunning beaches to take your pick from. These beaches offer sights such as the Black Lake Boardwalks, Mt. Pisgah, and the Lake Michigan Beach by Holland State Park. You can find kayak and SUP rentals super close by, too!
Next up on this list of Lake Michigan beaches, is Howard Beach. This one of Lake Michigan’s beaches is on the quieter side, and this Chicago beach has a wildness and a tranquility that can seem hard to come by. Located in Rogers park, the beach has 1.5 miles of Sandy beachfront, access to the trail, and the gorgeous Rogers park at its back to provide you with some leafy shade and a gentle amble. What more could you want?
Esch Beach, Sleeping Bear Dunes
Esch Beach is the next beach I want to recommend. It’s located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and it’s such a beautiful one of Lake Michigan beaches. There are so many reasons to love this beach, but one of the reason I like it is because of the wildflowers that grow along the banks of the beach. It’s really unique and special, and makes this beach a little different to other Lake Michigan beaches on this list.