Grand Haven, Its a great place. The beach was the highest rated fresh water beach in the country a couple years ago. Nice night life. I have a 36 foot charter boat at chinook pier there, called the Big Weenie ( we also rescue weeniedogs hence the name )Salmon fishing is the best its ever been this year. Holiday Inn in spring lake is great just watch out for cougers :) Old boys is a nice brew pub right there also.
OT- Michigan Beaches
After having grown up in Grand Haven and then moving to Florida (explain my name at all?) I have to say, while Florida beaches are great and a ton of fun, I'd gladly take Grand Haven's beach... fresh water and great small towns that when I was there weren't overrun with tourists (unless it was Coast Guard Festival, but then you just went to the beach in Ferrysburg).
As a conoisseur of beaches on Lake Michigan, I recommend the duned ones. The best beaches you will find do not have facilities. You have to go rustic as it were. Arcadia, the Pentacles (not sure the real name or if it even has one, that's what the locals call it - between S. Haven and Saugatuck, beautiful for its cliffs). Arcadia is my favorite, plus there is tremendous golf just up the road (Arcadia Bluffs).
It all depends if you want solitude or to look at bodies. Obviously I'm in it for the solitude.
I have a place between Manistee and Frankfort. There are many beach access points between the two and Manistee has a nice beach. Elberta dunes just south of Frankfort is nice. I prefer Frankfort or Glen Lake to Manistee for amenities and things to do. Manistee can be on the gritty side. There is a great lookout south of Frankfort that is breathtaking.
One of the best is the Empire/Glen Lake area near Sleeping Bear (The Homestead resort is nearby). If your kids are little South Bar lake (a small inland lake just steps from lake Michigan) is nice.
my grandparents had a place on cumberland (the access road). spent my summers on that beach as a child.
Not sure if you go to the Pentacles often, but was wondering if you have any more information about their location, how to access them, whether you have to trespass, etc.
Funny that my first post on Mgoblog is on an OT thread about Michigan beaches.
I'm at the pub right now, check back in a few hours and ill get you a map. its not posted and I've never been hassled there.
Higgins Lake would be awesome but you'd likley have to stay at one of the state parks.
Below is a picture I took at the south end park on the 4th of July. Suprised it turned out as good as it did. I was hammered.
for my money the inland lakes are more useful for watersports, unless you have a yacht. Higgins/Houghton or Burt/Mullet lakes, for instance. Places like Charlevoix have the best of both.
Have to agree with Gorgeous, TC and surrounding area probably has the most diverse beach options (Lake Michigan, Lake Leelanau, Glen Lake, etc..) along with great food choices. It does get busy but that keeps it exciting.
the road from Petoskey to Cross Villag is Spectacular and its totally hidden treasure....Lots of coastline and scenery
Just ate at Legs Inn for lunch and spent the afternoon swimming with my kids in lake Michigan. I love the way the sand make a weird sound under your feet when you walk.
I live here! One of most hidden and beautiful places in America.
I live in Traverse City, and love it. Great food, nice downtown. The in town beaches are fun and more of a "scene" if you are into that. Sleeping Bear Dunes has some of the best beaches around, comparable to anything I saw in Thailand, Vietnam, Hawaii, Florida, or California. Some are easy to get to (Esch Road Beach is a favorite) while others take a bit of hiking which will reward you with fewer people and usually better views. If you don't mind a short hike the beaches at Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area just north of Ludington are awesome. There is a state recreation area for car camping near there or you can bring a tent and backpack and camp in the dunes. Have fun!
Second on Nordhouse Dunes. If you want to do the work of packing in(and its not that far) the beach and dunes are stunning and you'll have them all to yourself and camp just over the first dune line.
The beaches are better in East Lansing than in Ann Arbor, but in the end, that is only a matter of opinion.
The tip of the thumb and it's western edge actually have some beaches pretty close in size/sand to the west side. Recommend Port Crescent State Park, Sleeper State Park, and Caseville
Do agree with Grand Haven, TC, etc., but if time is an issue ...http://www.thumbtravels.com/
I was just in St. Ignace over the bridge this past weekend, and I can say without a doubt exactly 15 minutes west on Highway 2 from getting off the bridge is the most perfect beach I've seen on Lake Michigan. The water is as clear as the Carribean and for about 2 miles straight you can just pull off to the side of the road and you're 30 yards from water.
The two best beaches in the state are the one you describe and Lake Huron just north of Oscoda, east off US 23.
Grand Haven is overrated as hell. overcrowded, camp ground is on a freaking parking lot, and the water is dirty from being so close to the Grand River. If you want an atmosphere and town like Grand Haven, then just go to South Haven.
can go to Pioneer Park vs the state park. IMO it is nicer and much less crowded. If you camp you can just show up and get a lot. I have been going there for over 20 years and it trumps the state parks for camping and the beaches are comparable. You will be a mile walk from the state campgrouds so you can venture over.
Head up I75 to Standish MI, then take US23 up to Tawas. Stay on Tawas Point. Much more quiet and relaxed on the sunrise side.
Edit: Oh. And F Ohio State.
Tawas is a dump, as is the entire "sunrise side". Hit sleeping Bear and then head over to the sandbar at Torch Lake.
Thanks for the responses, all. If I can swing Traverse City, given the distance, I think I'll try it, but probably Grand Haven.
Now I have narrow down my vacation choices between the Chesapeake, and Michigan.
If you're the college age, South Haven might be a good call. Plenty of coeds, beach volleyball, and what have you. Reasonably priced cottages or condos for rent. Otherwise, some cheap hotels are a short walk to the beach. Also, there's this guy who cuts his lawn in women's underwear all day long, all summer long. I can't remember what road it's on but it's a cant miss.
If you want great beaches with lots of things to do nearby, then TC is the place. There are a ton of hotels, but if you want to be right on the beach, the hotels on East Bay (Parkshore, Tamarack Lodge area) are right on the water with pure sand beaches and tons of activities (jet ski rental, parasailing, etc). The Grand Traverse Resort is nice, as well. Huge hotel with 3 world class golf courses, casino and 3 pools. They also have a spot across the road that is on the beach with pool, rentals, etc. And the bay water is amazing this year with all the hot weather.
The TC film festival starts July 31 - August 6th. You might have trouble getting a place during that week, but it's a great time. While showing dozens of movies at theaters around town (renovated State Theater is the main one), they also have free movies each night on a gigantic blow up screen down by the water at the Open Space.
The wineries are great up here, but if you're in school, you're still probably a beer drinker. The local beers this way are amazing. Short's (Bellaire), Right Brain, North Peak, just to name a few, are growing like crazy. There are even 3 or 4 new brew bars that offer tons of local and off name beer.
Or, if you're looking for a little quieter place, go Northport, Leland, dune area - anywhere along M22 really. You're still within 45 minutes of TC. All the beaches mentioned above by others in this area are great. You would normally have to find a hotel elsewhere and drive to them, though, unless you rented a house on the water.
Either go to Silver Lake itself or swing over to Little Sable Point. If you're going to travel to Ludington you might as well do yourself a favor and cut it short by about 30 minutes and go to the Silver Lake area.
Sleeping Bear Dunes was voted the most beautiful place in America. Just sayin!
Yes! Was just up there. Tons of nice lake with warm water around.
Grew up going there, have family there, and would love to retire there one day.
I consider Ludington where "Up North" officialy starts.... US 31 goes from a multi lane divided freeway... to a 2 lane mess. Beaches are great.... The State Park has a fun river to tube down from the Hamlin Lake dam.....
if you are a fan of the north woods.
Im an east coast guy, and my recommendations on the east coast are these:
Caseville's State Park (Sleeper State Park) (casevilles public park is nice too, but rowdy/overpopulated)
Tawas State Park (Tawas Point State Park)
Caseville has to be the nicest beach/State Park on the entire east coast, and may indeed rival many of the West coast beaches. Not a big, overcrowded town/village, but still many small shops/taverns.
This isn't necessarily beach, but we had a great stay in a tiny, adorable vacation rental in the little town of Three Oaks. Easy walk to breakfast downtown in one of several cafes/restaurants. The town offers bike rentals, too, and I think there are some nice trails. It's an easy drive to New Buffalo and the beach options North and South of that area. Also not too far from catching the South Shore Line if the weather sucks and you'd like to go spend the day in Chicago museums or whatever.
I appreciate the person naming the thumb beaches. Always wanted to check it out up there but know little about the area.
Was just there for the weekend to visit the parents. As far as beaches i have to say i like the state park (first curve) or pentwater is only 15 minutes away. Plenty of fun things to do either way.
I HIGHLY recomment Silver Beach in St Joseph! St Joe is a nice town, and Silver Beach is as nice as any beach around. Its not very far off of I-94 and if you want, you can take a easy day trip into Chicago (whether by train or by car)
As someone who is from St Joe, I absolutely second Silver Beach. Although it gets packed with tourists often during the summer, it's gorgeous!
I like Tunnel Park in Holland, also the state park there is pretty nice too. Sleeping Bear Dunes I would also highly recommend. I only went to Pentwater once, but from what I remember I really enjoyed it too. Plenty of good places on the west coast of the L.P., as has been mentioned already.
I live in Norton Shores, just north of Grand Haven, and love Lake Harbor beach on the north side of where the Mona Lake channel meets Lake Michigan. Nice walking trail along the channel to the beach, picnic tables and grills, and about a mile of essentially untouched Lake Michigan shoreline. You'll have the beach you yourself, essentially, if you want to get away from the crowds. Might be worth the 15 minute drive from GH to get some peace and quiet.
you can't really go wrong
you go... the cleaner the water. I would start at Ludington and go up from there. Charlevoix / Petoskey / Harbor Springs / Traverse City all have great beaches. Muskegon / Grand Haven / South Haven / St. Joe / Warren Dunes / New Buffalo... will get the job done if you have never experienced way up north..... Kind of like when I was four and went to a WMU Broncos game.... I thought their stadium was the coolest thing ever... in my small inexperienced world. Then the next year I went to Ann Arbor and watched a game.... Sorry WMU... it was fun while it lasted....
May not be quite as great now but my aunt and uncle were in town today and said that I think last week the entire squad of the detroit lions cheerleaders were on the beach for a photo shoot. Man would I have loved to be on the beach for that!
I grew up in the Western Michigan area so have been to most of these beaches and I have to say that by far Silver Lake is the best even though its not part of Lake Michigan. The water is crystal clear due to the sand and you can go out quite a ways before it gets deep. Right off the lake are some great sand dunes as well and if you really want to hit Lake Michigan, Ludington isn't far away which I also highly recommend.
I also like Grand Haven but as others say it does get awfully crowded there. But you can also go out to the peir and watch everyone taking their boats in and out plus there is a laser light show at night, at least there used to be. The atmosphere there if you like crowds is the best, but overall I'd take them in this order since I'm not a big crowd guy.
Silver Lake, Ludington, Traverse City, Grand Haven, all the rest.
If you like lighthouses I know Ludington has one and as I recall Grand haven has one as well. Love walking out to them and seeing the power of the lake washing up against the walls. Anyplace you go will be sure to please.
Either pentwater or tunnel of trees from Petoskey/harbor springs up to cross village. Personally love Pentwater!
I grew up in Ludington and have never been to a better beach than the beach in Ludington. Stearns Park near downtown is nice, but if you drive down Lake Shore drive towards the State Park there are several miles of places to park and walk over the dunes for more secluded beaches. If you are into camping, the state park there is awesome!