The Awesome Mitten- West Michigan's Best Beaches
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West Michigan’s Best Beaches on Lake Michigan

As residents of Michigan, we spent the better part of this past winter trekking through blizzards and sliding on icy roads but now that the summer sunshine has finally arrived, I think we all deserve a nice day at the beach! Our beautiful mitten is outlined by the sandy beaches of the Great Lakes and sprinkled with smaller lakes throughout. With so many options it can sometimes be difficult to decide where to spend your day off. If you’re looking for the best beaches in Michigan, don’t worry! I’m here to help you find the perfect West Michigan beach to spend your hard-earned relaxation time!

Best Beaches in West Michigan on Lake Michigan

1) Holland State Park

West Michigan's Best Beaches: Holland State Park
Photo courtesy of Mariah Agee

Sometimes it’s not just the place itself that makes a beach worth visiting but also the surrounding area attractions that give you the perfect day. The sandy shore at Holland State Park and the bustling streets of Downtown Holland complement each other so well; spend the day at the beach and do some shopping and dining that night!

If you’re looking to grab a quick lunch Downtown before claiming your spot by the water, try Gregordog, home of the best hot dogs in Holland! When you’ve had your fill, head to the State Park and spend some time splashing in the waves and lounging on the sprawling, sandy beach.

While you’re there, don’t forget to take a walk on the pier to watch the sailboats as they drift lazily in and out of the Macatawa Bay and past the aptly named Big Red Lighthouse. If you get hungry later, you can always take a break from the sun to stop by the Ottawa General Store (located near the State Park) for some delicious ice cream or bike to Dune Dogz for a freshly made corn-dog!

2) Rosy Mound Natural Area

West Michigan's Best Beaches: Rosy Mound Natural Area
Photo courtesy of Mariah Agee

This is the place to go if you’re looking to really immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Michigan and its diverse dune ecosystems. The Rosy Mound Natural Area has a self-service station for the parking fee of $7 a day – it’s worth every penny to get to hike through the thick forests and rolling dunes that lead you to the freshwater swells of Lake Michigan.

The 0.7-mile hike from the parking area to the water might make you break a sweat as you climb up and down the 1,000 feet of stairs. That being said the view is that much more magnificent after the workout.

Why not jump in the lake to cool off? After all, it’s only a few steps away from the end of the wooden trail! When you’re done at the beach you could meander down the road to Downtown Grand Haven for some good food and entertainment.

3) Grand Haven State Park

West Michigan's Best Beaches: Grand Haven State Park
Photo courtesy of Mariah Agee

The beach at Grand Haven State Park is just what you’re looking for if you love classic beaches with expansive shores and great swimming. The blue sky is almost always dotted with colorful kites that can be seen zipping through the air.

The pier alone is worth the trip, and the lighthouse that accompanies it makes for a pretty incredible view. It’s a popular place for fishing and it’s a great way to get close to the crashing waves in the deeper water without getting your feet wet!

What West Michigan beaches do you love to visit during the summer?

These are just a few of my favorite Lake Michigan beaches in West Michigan, but I’m sure you know of many more to recommend! It’s always nice to learn of new nearby favorites and also get ideas for future road trips.

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5 Comments

  1. I just visited West Michigan last year and was amazed by how gorgeous Lake Michigan is. I live on the east side of the state and had only visited Lake Huron which isn’t even on the same level as Lake Michigan. We visited Manistee which is a quaint little town that has probably seen better days, but has 2 amazing beaches. We also visited Ludington and went to Stearn park. Holy wow was that beautiful! It has a nice public (free) parking out front and you can see the lake right from the parking lot. We were able to go into the lighthouse for a small fee and watch a giant ship (can’t remember the name) go by. Those are for sure two places to check out as well.

    1. I agree that those are nice beaches, and virtually anywhere on Lake Michigan is heavenly. However, for me, it doesn’t get better than the following beaches: Sleeping Bear Bay in Glen Haven, Empire Beach and North Bar Lake/Lake Michigan in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

  2. I also love Kirk Park (they have an off leash dog beach!), Olive Shores, North Beach Park, Grand Haven City Beach, and PJ Hoffmaster State Park just north of Grand Haven. Another cool beach is Lakeside Beach on Spring Lake. Nice family beach that’s perfect for children and they have a lifeguard on duty.

  3. I just went to Grand Haven State Park today, and found it lovely. Not to mention the great corn dogs within walking distance. Great article,and I’ll be sure to check out Rosy Mound next!

  4. As a native West Michigander, who has lived in several beach towns, I’m troubled that your selections are all within the same thirty mile stretch. In fact, they are all in the same county.

    I have been to Holland State Park several times. I think it’s a lovely park, but not a good beach. Rosy Mound is better because it’s further away from civilization and one must take a gorgeous drive to get there. GHSP is also a good beach and a good park, but certainly not one of the best.

    Here are my Top 3 West Mich beaches:
    Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon
    The Curves/Ludington State Park
    Oval Beach in Saugatuck

    I miss that side of the state!

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