Accessible Beaches in Michigan 

There might be nothing we do in the summer that is quite so “Michigan” as heading to the beach. Whether on an inland lake, a Great Lake, or floating down a river that leads to a lake, finding sandy stretches to relax and enjoy the water just seems to be in our Mitten State DNA. And while some of us love to run and jump into the water, not everyone reaches the shoreline the same way. In recent years, the creation of accessible beach pathways and waterfront areas has picked up the pace around the state.  

Whether in a small town or large city, municipalities and state park and recreation area staff are planning and building more ways for people of all abilities to enjoy their beach time. Some beach-goers need paved, level pathways so they can use walkers, canes or wheelchairs to reach the shore. Others need specialized devices like electric-powered track wheelchairs which can go from sand to water for a wading adventure. Mobility mats and wide trails also help people reach the beach. 

 

Accessible state park and recreation area beaches. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has compiled a list of state park beaches that offer a stable surface for better accessibility to the waterfront. Some also have other mobility perks, like the lightweight all-terrain wheelchairs that are free to use and can go in the water. These state parks include:  

  • Bay City State Park  
  • Brighton Recreation Area 
  • Dodge #4 State Park 
  • Fort Custer Recreation Area 
  • Grand Haven State Park 
  • Harrisville State Park 
  • Hoffmaster State Park 
  • Holland State Park Interlochen State Park 
  • Island Lake Recreation Area 
  • Lakeport State Park 
  • Ludington State Park 
  • McLain State Park 
  • Mears State Park 
  • Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area 
  • Otsego Lake State Park 
  • Petoskey State Park 
  • Seven Lakes State Park 
  • Silver Lake State Park 
  • Sleepy Hollow State Park 
  • South Higgins State Park 
  • Traverse City State Park 
  • Warren Dunes State Park 
  • Wells State Park 
  • Wilderness State Park 
  • Young State Park

Track chairs. A variety of state parks and recreation areas have lightweight track chairs available for use – some year-round. Below are several places they can be found. Check the DNR’s website for more details.  

  • Belle Isle in Detroit: The chair can be used on the park’s paved and unpaved trails. 
  • Grand Haven State Park: Three chairs are available at this waterfront state park.
  • Island Lake Recreation Area: The chair can be brought to a parking lot for an easy transfer.
  • Maybury State Park: The chair can travel the park’s 26 miles of trails and forested areas.
  • Muskegon State Park: The chair can be delivered to a specific area of the park.
  • Tahquamenon Falls State Park: The chair is located at the Upper Falls area.
  • Waterloo Recreation Area: The chair is ready to help people explore the nature trails. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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