The Best Michigan Beach Towns

Everyone agrees that Michigan beaches are spectacular…but what about the Michigan beach towns?

These are the spots beyond the sandy beaches and sparkling water where you will find food, fun, and memories… and if you’re really lucky maybe a glass of wine or craft beer and something to take home.

The best beach towns combine everything: nearness to the ocean, a walkable downtown with lots of shops and boutiques to peruse and grab a few trinkets; comfortable benches and/or parks to relax; and good restaurants and cafes to try the local cuisine.

Find Michigan’s Best Beach Towns

These unique spots along Michigan’s shoreline are great for day trips, vacations or roads for pure Michigan fun.

These beach towns are not only for seasonal travel; they’re also great places to travel with your family, offering festivals, concerts, and other family-friendly activities.

Michigan is home to some of America’s most beautiful beaches.

These fun towns are just what you need to see on the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, as well as Lake Superior. You’ll find plenty of craft breweries, food, drink, and live music to keep you busy on your beach days throughout the year.

Michigan Beach Vacations

The beaches of Michigan are vibrant all year, from the Upper Peninsula all the way to the Lower Peninsula Mitten (and Mackinac Island is included),

Our Michigan beach towns will make your family’s vacation unforgettable, whether they are tucked away in Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes or just off the West Michigan Pike (think St. Joseph and South Haven, Grand Haven and Holland), or along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

The My Michigan Beach website can be used as a guide for visitors to help them find the best places to stay, play, and enjoy Michigan’s endless coastline.

Beach vacations don’t end when you find the perfect beach town. Continue reading to discover some of our favorite spots.

St. Joe’s MI

St. Joseph, MI (also called the Riviera of Midwest) is a Lake Michigan town that you should add to your Michigan beachtowns list. Silver Beach is a sprawling, fun-filled downtown beach.

There are concessions, bike and paddleboard rentals and comfortable picnic pavilions at the beach. There are also small dunes made of soft silver sand, and trails to explore.

As travel destinations go, St. St. Joseph is a great choice for travelers. It has a charming downtown area, with wide sidewalks that make it very accessible to pedestrians as well as those who use wheelchairs or accessibility devices. You will find great restaurants, book shops, gift shops, and boutiques.

South Haven

South Haven, Michigan is a great place to start your search for vacation ideas. It’s located on the Lake Michigan shore, just 30 miles west from Grand Rapids.

Do you remember seeing a tall ship before? The Michigan Maritime Museum, South Haven, is a waterfront museum and research library that provides on-water experiences on a tall ship. You can ride the Friends Good Will, an 1810 top-sail sloop, down the Black River to the waters of Lake Michigan.

This is just a part of the charm that makes this nautical beach town so special. You can wander the streets with your dog, South Haven is pet-friendly. For some tasty treats, you can duck into a bakery or restaurant.

South Haven is Michigan’s blueberry capital. You will want to buy blueberry syrup, blueberry salsa, or salad dressing from one the many gift shops and boutiques. You can also find many Michigan breweries nearby, so it’s easy to try craft beer or hard cider after an exciting day.

TIP: To find great hotels or B andBs in South Haven MI , use our Guide to the Best places to Stay in South Haven MI .

Saugatuck, MI

You’ve probably heard of Oval Beach in Saugatuck, which Conde Nast voted the best beach in the world. Saugatuck is not only known for its beautiful beach in Michigan, but also the endless outdoor adventures.

The Ox Bow School of Art, a retreat for artists founded by Chicago-based artist’s, is located in this western Michigan town. Saugatuck and Douglas, its sister city, are full of art galleries. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts also brings lectures, films, and plays to the community throughout the year.

It’s possible to spend more than one day in Saugatuck to explore its streets. There are many shops, boutiques, and restaurants that you should take your time to discover. You can also find Saugatuck Dunes State Park with its stunning natural beauty.

We have compiled a list of my top places to stay in Saugatuck if you are planning on staying overnight.

Grand Haven

Grand Haven, Michigan’s west coast, is also known by the name Coast Guard City. These two beaches, Grand Haven State Park, are both within walking distance from this charming Michigan beach town. There’s even a boardwalk for strolling and a cute trolley for exploring the shops and restaurants of the town.

Grand Haven is a great place to walk. There’s a beautiful park nearby that’s perfect for picnicking. Grand Haven is also near Holland, which is a great place to visit during tulip season. Here you can get a wooden shoe in celebration of the Dutch heritage. Holland State Park is one of Michigan’s most popular parks. It’s well-known for its excellent ADA accessibility and Wheelchair accessibility.


The beautiful stretch of Lake Michigan runs through the beach town of Ludington. There are plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities in Ludington, with sand dunes on the north and sand dunes to the south. Ludington State Park is renowned for its excellent ADA- and wheelchair-accessible features. It also boasts stunning views and all the amenities you need for a great day at the beach.

Ludington is proud of its beach culture. The shops and restaurants in the town are friendly and casual. There is no beach town that doesn’t have the perfect ice-cream shop, and Ludington has one. The House of Flavors is located on the main drag of the town. It’s known for having the “longest ice-cream dessert.” We love plain old Strawberry.

Traverse City

Traverse cityis much more than a place: it’s a Michigan beach town on Grand Traverse Bay. This town is known as the Cherry Capital of the World. It’s difficult not to smile. It’s just so delightful to visit. You will enjoy pleasant days at the beach with the mix of Michigan history and outdoor fun, as well as boutiques that are both mainstream and upscale.

The backdrop of two Traverse bays (West Bay & East Bay) is once again set. The sprawling Traverse city has something for everyone. Head up to the Old Mission Peninsula to see the wineries and beautiful scenery of the vineyards.

You can relax in the lakeside parks, or stroll along historic Front Street. There are art galleries and fudge shops within a few feet of each other. To fully enjoy this beach town in northern Michigan, you might plan to stay at least two days.

St. Ignace

Cross the Mackinac Bridge and you will find yourself in St. Ignace. You can park your car at Mackinac Island and take a ferry there, but we recommend that you spend some time exploring this area.

This area is rich in native American history and very clean. There are many lakefront parks that you can relax at or take a dip in to the water while exploring the town. You will find many galleries and shops that celebrate the native American heritage of the area. The pasty is a popular Upper Peninsula dish that you will find in many restaurants. These delicious “hand pies”, which are always the best, taste better when they’re fresh and authentic.


Although it is a large city, this spot on Lake Superior certainly qualifies for a beachtown. There’s a great vibe all year round. Marquette, the largest city in U.P. Everything in this town revolves around the lake.

Marquette Harbor, McCarty’s Cove beach are must-sees. But don’t forget to take the time to explore the many hiking and biking trails that run through this outdoor paradise.

Explore the historic and hip downtown with its mix of shops, eateries, and breweries.


Just south of Mackinaw City is Cheboygan. Although you may have seen photos of Cheboygan Crib light, this town is so underrated. There are many things to do in Cheboygan as well as the surrounding areas.

This spot is perfect for those who love the combination of quaint beaches and pristine sandy beaches. Cheboygan is home to some of the best-kept secrets in Michigan. It’s also surprisingly warm in the shallower bays, which makes it a great beach town.

You’ll find charming parks, shops and restaurants within easy reach of Lake Huron. Explore the surrounding area to discover two popular vacation spots: Mullet Lake or Black Lake. These large inland lakes have sandy bottoms and are a great spot for people who want to swim.


Oscoda, with its lakefront park, is one of the most beautiful in the state. It’s a beach town that does everything right.

There are a few brick-lined streets lined with ice cream shops, small stores, and cafes within walking distance of Oscoda Beach Park. This beautiful ADA-accessible park is located on the shores Lake Huron. These stores are close to the beachfront, making it easy to walk back and forth throughout the day. This is how you see it.

You’ll find plenty to do if you go beyond the city limits. You can explore endless trails on both land and water by following the AuSable River as it winds its way through national forests. You will also find many beautiful dams and ponds along the Au Sable River.

East Tawas

You may have heard East Tawas called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest”. During summer, the large harbor and beautiful waters of Tawas Bay are packed with visitors to this lakeshore town.

You’ll find the charming, old-fashioned charm of Newman Street as you stroll along it. For a short distance, you’ll find bookshops, Fudge and Ice Cream shops, gift shops, and boutiques along the street. A candy shop and a five-and-dime are also available.

Once you have explored the area, continue your journey along the long pier to beautiful Tawas Bay.


Pretty little Lexington, Michigan is one of the best beach towns.

Large, picturesque harbor? Check.
A beautiful park with well-tended gardens and neat benches? Check.
Sandy beach with a long, sandy pier and play structures. Check.
Downtown fun shops and restaurants: A cure? Check.

It’s amazing to find a beach town so close to Metro Detroit. Lexington is just a short drive away from the Detroit suburbs. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into time when you visit Lexington. Lexington is small and will keep you coming back.

More Michigan Beach Towns

You can find more beaches in Michigan by visiting our interactive Michigan Travel and Beach Map.

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