When our kids were ages six and two, we began a decade-long tradition. Every summer Monday, we would travel to Saint Joseph, Michigan, with our friends whose dad also had Monday off from his job. Their family of four and our family of four would hit Silver Beach for several hours, brush the sand off, change our clothes, then head to a restaurant for dinner. Michigan beach towns are definitely a family favorite.
We eventually outgrew the kids’ meals at that restaurant, and then the first two kids from the group went off to college, ending our tradition.
Not all has been at a loss, however; now, we visit other Michigan beach towns along Michigan’s West Coast and have made wonderful memories in these places as well. Try one—or all—of these Michigan beach towns, and you’ll quickly discover no matter your age, you’ll come to love Michigan’s beaches.
For kids, a beach is a giant sandbox, and no matter where the beach is, they seem always to enjoy playing there. In New Buffalo, parents will discover a much smaller beach than the other upcoming beach towns, so it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on the little ones. The lighthouse is easy to get to, and the older kids will enjoy skipping on the rocks to get to the lighthouse on this alternative route.
Then there’s Redamaks, the hamburger restaurant that’s been around since 1945 and claims to have made New Buffalo Famous; I don’t doubt that for a minute! The Daily Meal ranked Redamaks burgers among the 101 best burgers in America in 2016.
I have to giver kudos to the town that started it all for us, and that’s the great town of St. Joseph, Michigan. Actually, there are several beaches in St. Joe, but the most family-friendly beach is Silver Beach.4 Most Beautiful Michigan Beach Towns Everyone Will Love Click To Tweet
Silver Beach sits down the hill from the town. When we took our kids, they enjoyed a great playground on the sand. Today, there’s even more adjacent from the beach. There’s a huge splash zone, and there’s also an historical carousel—the story dates as far back as 1910. There’s something super special about riding a carousel with your kids on a beach. It’s truly a sweet memory!
Silver Beach Pizza is just a stone’s throw from the beach, splash zone, and carousel. Although I personally have not been there, many a friend has, and they give rave reviews to this kid-friendly restaurant.
My family most recently visited this beach town and found a lot to love here. Like Saint Joe, the beaches are expansive with playgrounds as well as paddleboard and kayak rentals (if, by chance, the giant sandbox isn’t enough).
In the town, an entire city block is comprised of Kids’ Corner playground. This area sits on top of a hilly knoll overlooking the beach, providing beautiful views.
When you get too much sun, you can visit the shops and enjoy dining out. We especially enjoyed going to the Farmer’s Market located under the pavilion slightly east of the downtown shops. Here we bought baked goods, fresh vegetables, coffee, and I loaded up on 10-pound boxes of Michigan blueberries.
I admit I haven’t been to Holland’s beaches, but I have a good reason: the shops and restaurants in this college town are among the absolute best. I’ve had my most favorite sandwich in the world right here in Holland, at Crane’s. Known for their donuts and apple pies, this bakery creates a warm turkey and provolone cheese sandwich with apple slices and honey-mustard dressing on their freshly-made apple butter bread. Called the “City Cristo,” the sweet and savory co-mingle and satisfy the most discriminating palate!
For the little ones, a most excellent toy store is also downtown. Appropriately named “Sandcastle for Kids,” this place is as much fun as creating sandcastles on the beach. Even the grown-ups will have a blast exploring books and toys in here.
While each of these towns has its own unique vibe, they have one very special thing in common: Lake Michigan. When I come to one of these beaches, I forget I’m not at the ocean; the waves, summer sun, laughter, and occasional nap lull me into a simple joy as I count my blessings to be here.
Which one of these Michigan beach towns is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!