Five Northern Michigan Beaches to Visit
By Jeff Wellman
The Northern Michigan region has miles and miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan at the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Developed beaches with plenty of amenities can be found along with wild, natural beaches. You are sure to find the Lake Michigan beach that’s right for you.
Michigan Beach Park
Michigan Beach Park is home to the iconic Charlevoix lighthouse. Spread out your towel and enjoy the sun on the sandy beach, swim, walk the trails, enjoy a playground, and play basketball and volleyball. Restrooms, a pavilion, and concessions are available. Michigan Beach is walking distance from downtown Charlevoix, giving you even more options.
Petoskey State Park
Petoskey State Park is just north of the city of Petoskey. It has a mile of shoreline with a sandy beach and sand dunes and is a great place to search for Petoskey stones. It also features a hiking trail through the forest that ends at the top of Old Baldy; you’ll get a spectacular view of Little Traverse Bay up there. There are also picnic tables, grills, and a playground in the day use area of the park. You will need a Michigan State Park Pass to enter the park. They are available from the park office.
Zorn Park Beach
Zorn Park Beach is a small beach in the city of Harbor Springs. It has seasonal lifeguards on duty. Swimming rafts, picnic tables, and restrooms are available. Downtown is just a short walk away where you can grab a bite to eat or an ice cream cone.
Cross Village Beach
This is a small beach near Cross Village. The beach has a mix of soft sand and rocks. It is remote and usually uncrowded. The beach is great for taking in the views and sounds of Lake Michigan. There is a picnic area, restrooms, and a boat launch available. In town, you’ll find a few gift shops, antique stores, and the famous Legs Inn. The restaurant is known for its Polish food and unique decor.
Sturgeon Bay Beach
This beach is also near Cross Village, and it is very secluded. It’s unlikely to be crowded. The natural, sandy beach is backed by grassy sand dunes. It has portable bathrooms and limited parking. The views of Lake Michigan are breathtaking.
Wilderness State Park
Wilderness State Park includes 10,000-plus acres of remote wilderness that covers the top western corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It has 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline with Sturgeon Bay on its western side and the Straits of Mackinac to its north. The swimming beach is on Big Stone Bay near the campground. Parking, restrooms, a picnic area, and a drinking fountain are available. Many miles of beach are remote and wild with sand dunes and natural grasses, so it may require a long hike to reach some of the shoreline, but you can truly get away from it all here. Like Petoskey State Park, you will need a Michigan State Park Pass to enter.
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