5 Best Beaches on Lake Michigan, Indiana (2022)
Lake Michigan is a beautiful and massive lake that touches the states of Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Having a shoreline that stretches on for over 1600 miles, Lake Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the United States. In fact, due to its incredible shoreline, this region is sometimes even referred to as The Third Coast of the US, after the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. What further adds to the beauty of this beautiful lake are the many islands and inland rivers and lakes near its shores.
If you want to explore the many beaches of Lake Michigan, it is important to remember that water temperatures here can get quite chilly, especially if you are in the northern part of the lake. Even in the summer months, temperatures seldom go above 70 degrees, so prepare accordingly before your visit. The west coast of Lake Michigan and the northernmost beaches are known for being rocky and mysterious. On the other hand, the eastern and southern beaches of Lake Michigan are home to some of the best and largest lake dunes in the world, attributed to the prevailing winds coming in from the western direction.
You will find miles and miles of golden sand to explore on the southern and eastern shores of Lake Michigan, and in the summers, these beaches are a big draw for visitors from all nearby states.
5 Best Beaches on Lake Michigan, Indiana
Here are some of the best beaches on Lake Michigan.
1. A Dozen Beaches at Indiana Dunes National Park
Spread out over more than 15,000 acres, the Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the most diverse ecosystems in Indiana. This magnificent national park is home to forests, swamps, prairies, savannas, and even wetlands. And as the name suggests, it has many sand dunes as well.
The park is home to around 15 miles of shoreline, and visitors can indulge in swimming, kite flying, birding, and general exploration. Located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, there are a dozen beaches inside. There is an ample amount of parking space that features a new system of the real-time availability of empty lots. This information can be accessed from smartphones, computers, or tablets. All beaches at the park, along with the parking lots, are open every day from 6 in the morning to 11 at night.
If you head to the West Beach, you will find lifeguards and showers from the Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. Visitors can bring their leashed pets all year round except at the West Beach during the summer months.
However, the natural beauty of the park and its beaches are not the only reason to visit this place. Indiana Dunes National Park is the best place to enjoy all types of adventure and outdoor activities. From camping under the stars to hiking through the dense green forest, there are many adventures awaiting people of all ages.
And the best part is that you can visit the part at any time of the year and you will find many different activities to enjoy. The park offers horseback riding in the summer months, and cross-country skiing is a very popular activity in the winter. No matter the time of the year, there is always plenty of stuff to do here.
2. North Ave Beach in Chicago
Another excellent beach located near to Indiana in Chicago is the North Ave Beach. This is one of the best beaches in Chicago, and it is a long and wide beach that has been a popular spot for beachgoers since the 1940s.
During the hot summer months, the beach is crowded with people, both locals and visitors, who come here to soak up the sun and indulge in the many activities that are available here. You will find the beach to be well serviced, and rentals of paddleboards, jet skis, kayaks, bikes, and wakeboards are available in abundance. And if you want to enjoy some delicious snacks, there are many food concessions that sell hamburgers and hot dogs. If you are in the mood for a more sophisticated meal, head over to the restaurant on-site with a patio on the roof to take in some beautiful views of the beach.
One of the most popular activities here is beach volleyball, and it is possible to just join up with the many groups of people who are enjoying the game on the beach. You will find many people accessing the beach through the Lakeshore Trail, which covers the whole length of the beach. On crowded days, be prepared to pay parking fees, or else head on early to get a good spot.
3. Ludington State Park
Located on the eastern coastline of Lake Michigan, the Ludington State Park is an incredible park that has been open to tourists since 1927. The beaches here are perfect for taking long walks and beachcombing. The stretch is so long that you will end up running out of energy before you reach the end of the beach. On Hamlin Lake, the beach is much smaller, but the water here is much warmer as compared to the rest of the beaches on Lake Michigan, making it the perfect spot for indulging in swimming. There is also the Big Sable River, which connects the two lakes, and it is a very popular place for tubing, attracting crowds from far and wide.
Most people who visit the beach here come during the day. You will find the historic Lake Michigan beach house, a concessionaire where you will find popular fun foods, and several playgrounds. Another popular activity to indulge in here is the iconic Big Sable Lighthouse. You can reach this beautiful lighthouse by walking along the beach or following a sand and gravel pathway for nearly two miles. For those who want to spend the night at the park, there are three fully camping grounds that were recently upgraded and renovated in 2021.
4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
This is the beach on Lake Michigan to visit if you want to check out a variety of landscapes, beaches and also indulge in many fun things to do. A trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore should be a priority if you are in Michigan. This park is home to seven stunning beaches to explore. From long golden sandy stretches along Lake Michigan to the inland beaches located on North Bar Lake, there is much to see and do here. If you visit North Bar Lake, you walk up the dunes, and you will reach Lake Michigan. North Bar Lake is one of the most popular beaches here, with its warm shallow water and waters that always remain calm.
Another beach to check out here is the Platte Point Beach. The waters of the magnificent Platte River flow through the sand here to Lake Michigan. One of the most popular activities here is to float down the shallow river water in a floatie or an inner tube to reach the lake.
You can also visit Esch Road Beach is another spot worth visiting as the Otter Creek water flows across the beach as it makes its way to Lake Michigan. This is an excellent spot for families with children as the gentle, shallow water here is perfect for wading and playing. If you visit on a clear day, you can even spot the 400-foot-high Empire Buffs from here.
Some of the other beaches you can check out at the park include County Road 669 Beach, Glen Haven Beach, and the County Road 651 Beach.
5. Grand Haven State Park Beach
This is the perfect sandy beach on Lake Michigan, where you will even find the perfect historic lighthouse to complete the look. The miles and miles of coastline stretch south from the magnificent Grand River Channel and allow you to even find your own patch of private beach. This is also the ideal spot to bring along all the beach gear you want, as the parking lot is just a stone’s throw away from the beach.
There are all the facilities you need at the beach available here, from washrooms, changing rooms, concession stands, and even separate picnic areas. There is a playground located near the northern parking lot. This beach is also a popular spot for playing beach volleyball, and there are proper courts set up in the sand, just a bit away from the water.