5 Swimming Spots for Kids
Pack the floaties, sunscreen and snacks and head out for an afternoon at these kid-approved beaches and parks.
*Park passes are needed for beaches in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Get a pass online here, or purchase a park pass at these locations. A seven-day pass costs $15 and an annual pass costs $30 per vehicle.
North Bar Lake, Empire
This shallow, clear lake has a sandy bottom and offers warmer temperatures than Lake Michigan. The two lakes are separated by low dunes. A trail over the dunes leads to a small outlet running from North Bar Lake to Lake Michigan, which is perfect for children to splash and float in. Restrooms are located near the parking lot. *Park Pass needed. If you forget your pass, use the self-service envelope system.
Get there: From Empire, take M22 .2 miles north and make a left onto LaCore Street. In 1 mile, Lacore Street will curve right and become Voice Road. About 500 feet after the curve, turn left onto North Bar Lake Road. Continue on North Bar Lake Road for 1 mile then turn left onto Larahr Road. Parking and lake access at the end of the road.
Splash Pad at Clinch Park, Traverse City
Kids who aren’t ready to tackle the Big Lake just yet can cool off at Clinch Park’s splash pad. The park also has a playground, jungle gym and picnic areas for a fun afternoon outdoors.
Get there: Located near downtown Traverse City at the corner of Grandview Parkway and Cass Street. Parking available along Marina Drive off of Grandview Parkway.
Esch Road Beach, Empire
Families with children and teens love this Lake Michigan beach located at the mouth of Otter Creek. Older kids can swim in the lake while the little ones play in the warm creek. *Park pass needed.
Get there: From Empire, take M22 south for about 3 miles. Turn right onto Esch Road and continue for about 1 mile. Park along the road.
Frankfort Beach features a view of coastal dunes to the north and a long pier to the Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse. The sugar-sand shores are fun for all ages. Within walking distance of downtown. Restrooms are located near the parking lot.
Get there: In Frankfort, go west on Main Street. Parking available on Marquette Circle at the end of Main Street.
Veterans Memorial Park, Elk Rapids
The water is shallow and warm at this Lake Michigan beach. Kids can also play nearby in the mouth of the Elk River. Other park features: basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic tables, play area, grills and shady trees.
Get there: From US31 in Elk Rapids, turn onto River Street. Parking spots available on both sides of River Street.
By: Carly Simpson, MyNorth Media