Hidden Michigan Beaches 

Shandra Martinez

| 4 min read

Sunset on the beach
With more than 11,000 inland lakes and 3,000 miles of Great Lake shoreline outlining both of Michigan’s peninsulas, finding a beautiful beach in our state is not a tough task. The state, many counties and even local governments have been dedicated to creating public waterfront spaces for people to enjoy.
And there are dozens of really popular beaches across our state. But that also comes with a downside: Hot summer days typically mean these beaches are teeming with people, parking areas are crowded, and there is not an ounce of seclusion to be found. If you want to find some hidden Michigan beaches, they are around, too. You just have to be willing to go off the beaten path to find them.
We’ve rounded up a handful of secluded Michigan beaches from across the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. These are the perfect places to bring a towel, a book, some snacks and prepare to be unbothered for hours.

Southwest Michigan

Tiscornia Park in St. Joseph: This Lake Michigan spot is popular among locals for sunset strolls. During the day, pick a spot in this 16-acre beachfront park. If you’re a lighthouse lover, check out the park’s North Pier Lighthouse, which offers tours during the summer months.
Pier Cove Beach, Fennville: It takes some work to reach the water here. You’ll see a steep set of stairs. Follow them down to the beach, where you’ll find smooth rocks perfect for an afternoon of stone-skipping. Think of it like a form of beach meditation.
Kouw Park, Port Sheldon Township: This small park a short drive north of Holland doesn’t look like a beachfront site from the road. But once you navigate past the playground and restroom building, you’ll find a small trail leading right to a pretty overlook deck, with stairs to the beach below. With all its trees, it’s especially pretty in the fall.

Northwest Michigan

First Street Beach, Manistee: It’s usually easy to find plenty of space at this wide beach at the edge of town. It offers a nearby dog park and dog beach area, and is just steps away from the scenic Riverwalk that runs right into downtown.
Old Mission Point Park, Traverse City: The beach right in front of the Old Mission Lighthouse might be a touristy spot, but angle off the parking area into one of the wooded trails that hug Grand Traverse Bay and you’ll find plenty of secluded beach spots. You can even unfold a camp chair at the edge of the water and keep your toes in the surf while you enjoy the sound of the waves and the rustle of the trees.
Headlands International Dark Sky Park, Mackinaw City: This place is loved by stargazers, but its two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and miles of forest trails are open 24/7 year-round. Daytrippers find the coast secluded even in the summer.

Upper Peninsula

Sable Falls Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising: This beach takes a trek to reach. It’s about a quarter mile from the parking area, with a steep set of stairs headed to a beach that has rocks as well as sand. You can look up to see Grand Sable Dunes towering overhead.
Sand Dunes Beach, east of Brevort: These low dunes stretch for miles along U.S. 2, east of St. Ignace. Seclusion is easy to find here, with plenty of Lake Michigan shoreline for strolling or areas to set up your wave-watching spot for the day.

Northeast Michigan

Negwegon State Park, Alpena: South of town, you’ll find seclusion at a largely undeveloped park that boasts 10 miles of hiking trails and a stunning beachfront spot. Bonus: It also doubles as a dark sky park.
Gordon Turner Park, Cheboygan: This county park offers a big swimming beach on Lake Huron, and also sits at the mouth of the Cheboygan River.
Hoeft State Park, Rogers City: This state park and campground north of town offers more than a mile of Lake Huron shoreline for a forested beach experience. It’s easy to find a spot away from it all here.

Southeast Michigan

Marine City Beach: This public beach in Marine City sits along the St. Clair River. It offers beautiful waterfront views year-round.
Sterling State Park in Monroe: This park is the only state park sitting along Lake Erie. It offers a swimming beach and walking trails.
City of Luna Pier Public Beach: This beach on Lake Erie offers some good people-watching along the pier and in the fishing area.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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