Northern Michigan is home to some of the best beaches in the nation (maybe we’re a little biased), and these 10 are some of the finest, especially for young kids. Shallow water, playgrounds, sugary sand, shade trees, and public restrooms are some of the highlights.
Clinch Park, Traverse City
Earn everlasting adoration from your favorite wee ones at this free energy burner. Clinch Park beach is staffed with lifeguards daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from mid-June until approximately Labor Day. Bonuses: The splash pad is perfect for little kids who aren’t ready for the Big Lake just yet, plenty of picnic tables and close to downtown!
Lake Michigan Beach Park, Empire
The beach, located west of the downtown area, has a playground, pavilion and one of the newest working lighthouses on the Great Lakes. If Lake Michigan is too cold, scoot over to South Bar Lake—just east of the parking lot—for warmer water and no waves.
Veterans’ Memorial Park, Elk Rapids
The waters here are shallow and warm, and kids love playing where the mouth of Elk River empties out on the beach. Other features: basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic tables, play area, grills and shade trees provide respite from the sun.