What are the Best Family Beaches on Lake Michigan?

Foster Beach
Foster Beach

Who says that beaches have to be near the ocean? There are many beaches that lie along lakes and rivers – and Lake Michigan has some of the best family beaches in the Midwest. 

So, what are the best family beaches on Lake Michigan?

  1. Silver Beach
  2. Grand Haven State Park Beach
  3. Sleeping Bear Point Beach
  4. Point Betsie Lighthouse Beach
  5. Warren Beach
  6. Ludington State Park Beach
  7. Foster Beach
  8. Montrose Beach
  9. Empire Beach
  10. Van Riper State Park
  11. Stearns Park Beach
  12. Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach
  13. Kemil Beach 
  14. Esch Road Beach

The rest of this article will highlight the defining features about the best family-friendly beaches on Lake Michigan. 

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The Best Beaches for Families on Lake Michigan

1. Silver Beach

Silver Beach - St. Joseph Michigan
Silver Beach – St. Joseph Michigan

Located in St. Joseph, Michigan, this family-friendly beach comes complete with a beach volleyball court, splash pad, concession stand, and fishing pier. The century-old Silver Beach Carousel is a must-see attraction that families have enjoyed since it was first built in 1910. 

2. Grand Haven State Park Beach

View of the Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner and Outer Lighthouses at sunset; Grand Haven State Park, Lake Michigan
View of the Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner and Outer Lighthouses at sunset; Grand Haven State Park, Lake Michigan

This beach is located on both Lake Michigan and Grand River. Offering safe waters and spectacular views of the lighthouse and Grand Haven Pier, this beach has campgrounds, a playground, and fishing gear for those hoping for the ultimate fishing trip. 

3. Sleeping Bear Point Beach

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Named by National Geographic as one of the best beaches in the world, no trip to Lake Michigan would be complete without visiting Sleeping Bear Point Beach, which is part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

The pristine turquoise waters are reminiscent of the Caribbean, and you’ll forget how far north you are when you relax in the lush greenery and scenic majesty of this famous beach. 

4. Point Betsie Lighthouse Beach

Point Betsie Lighthouse Beach
Point Betsie Lighthouse Beach

Famous for one of the country’s oldest and most photographed lighthouses, Point Betsie Lighthouse Beach is a scenic beach located along the northwestern shore of Lake Michigan.

With smooth pebbles and calm waters, this is a great beach for families with little risk of injury. Make sure and stay and see the breathtaking sunset over the water. 

5. Warren Beach

Lake Michigan sunset from Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan.
Lake Michigan sunset from Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan.

Located in the southwestern part of Michigan between the cities of New Buffalo and St. Joseph, Warren Beach is part of the 2,000 acres of Warren Dunes State Park.

Aside from the placid waters and warm sands, nearby hiking and biking trails offer additional enjoyment for outdoor enthusiasts. Concession stands, campsites, and restrooms are available to visitors. 

6. Ludington State Park Beach

Ludington State Park Beach
Ludington State Park Beach

With flowing beach grass and soft white sands, Ludington State Park Beach is a wonderful beach located between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake. 

This beach has it all – campgrounds, forests, a sandy beach, marshes, and dunes. Hiking trails offer extra entertainment for nature enthusiasts, and make sure to stop by Big Sable Point Lighthouse. 

7. Foster Beach

Foster Beach
Foster Beach

This popular beach is located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, and the north point of the beach is pet-friendly, which means you can bring along your furry companions. 

Beach chairs, umbrellas, and bicycles are available for rent, and concession stands offer snacks and ice cream on hot summer days. Attentive lifeguards offer extra reassurance for parents of young children. 

8. Montrose Beach

Montrose Beach Chicago
Montrose Beach Chicago

With spectacular views of the Chicago skyline, Montrose Beach doesn’t skimp on scenic beauty. Showers provide beachgoers the opportunity to wash off after a long day at the beach. 

Jet skis and kayaks are available for rental. The north end of the beach is pet friendly, so make sure to bring along your four-legged friends for some fun in the water. 

9. Empire Beach

Empire Beach
Empire Beach

Empire Beach is among the beaches located along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Its pristine water and soft sands make it a popular tourist destination, and don’t forget to grab your binoculars to catch a glimpse of local wildlife. Bicycle paths give beachgoers the chance to get out of the water after a swim. 

This pet-friendly beach is welcome to your four-legged friends, so make sure to bring them along on your beach vacation. Don’t forget to check out the Robert H. Manning Memorial Lighthouse before you leave. 

10. Van Riper State Park 

Van Riper State Park
Van Riper State Park

Located along Michigan’s upper peninsula, Van Riper State Park is a great place to swim, fish, enjoy the scenic beauty, and spot native wildlife. If you are a fisherman, this beach is the ideal spot to catch walleye, bass, and trout.

Water Warrior Island is located on the beach and provides ample fun for kids, including water slides, trampolines, an obstacle course, and more. 

11. Stearns Park Beach

Stearns Park Beach
Stearns Park Beach

Located in the popular beach town of Ludington, Michigan, Stearns Park Beach has soft white sand reminiscent of sugar. 

Stearns Park Beach is perfect for families with its playground, concession stands, picnic areas, volleyball courts, a skate park, and more. 

12. Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach

Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach
Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach

With three miles of shoreline behind tall sand dunes, Saugatuck Dunes State Park Beach is perfect for kids, who will have hours of fun building sandcastles in the smooth sand and splashing in the pristine water. Nearby hiking trails and picnic areas make it an ideal spot for all kinds of family fun. 

13. Kemil Beach 

Kemil Beach
Kemil Beach

Located in the Indiana Dunes National Park, Kemil Beach lies along Lake Michigan’s southern shore and offers all kinds of family activities, including swimming, kite flying, kayaking, and more. Don’t forget your binoculars, as this beach is an ideal spot for birdwatchers. 

A hiking trail offers incomparable views of the forests and wetlands bordering Lake Michigan. Leashed pets are permitted on this beach, so make sure not to let your furry companions run loose along the sand. 

14. Esch Road Beach

Empire Bluff at Esch Road Beach Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Empire Bluff at Esch Road Beach Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

 With shallow waters perfect for small children, Esch Road Beach is the third entry on our list that is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Its soft beach grasses and warm, smooth sands make it a relaxing destination. 

Besides the calm water, the surrounding scenic beauty makes this beach a perfect place for letting go of your worries and making great memories with your family. 

See Also

US Beaches

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!