Pure Michigan, Pure Bliss – Best Michigan Beaches

LAST UPDATED: Jun 04, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Aug 02, 2015 | By:
Must see Michigan beaches and things to do while on vacation. You won't want to miss some of the best beaches in Michigan, perfect for family trips!

Must see Michigan beaches and things to do while on vacation. You won’t want to miss some of the best beaches in Michigan, perfect for family trips!

Pure Michigan, Pure Bliss

As you may have gathered from last week’s posts, Visiting St. Joseph, Michigan and Pier Cove Beach, we had an incredible time decompressing in West Michigan. When we left St. Louis, Missouri, the only thing we had planned was lunch with friends while en route. Fortunately, the stars aligned and it was nearly effortless. You could stumble onto any of the Michigan beaches and find something to do.

After meeting with friends for lunch outside of Chicago, we ventured up to St. Joseph, Michigan, where we let the kids stretch their legs, play and ride the carousel. We stayed at a Fairfield Inn while we planned our next move.

Someone’s misfortune was our fortune and we scored an adorable cottage with a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and a short walk to the beach through VRBO. It was one of those places that had me singing “Everything I need and nothing that I don’t.” Because of the cooler temperatures in Michigan and the breeze coming off of the lake, air conditioning is completely unnecessary.

Lake Michigan beach cottage
Lake Michigan beach cottageLake Michigan beach cottage
Lake Michigan beach cottage

What to do at the Lake Michigan Beaches?

Watch sunsets. They are not to be missed. They seemingly lasted for hours, only glowing more beautifully each minute. We spent some evenings watching the sun go down on the beach and many while enjoying dinner or a glass of wine on our deck.

West Michigan sunsets are not to be missed | Lake Michigan
West Michigan sunsets are not to be missed | Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan sunsets

The Best Beaches in Michigan

Our favorite place to play was Pier Cove Beach, in Saugatuck, but West Michigan offers an abundance of gorgeous, family-friendly beaches to choose from. We frequented the beach in Holland because we were just a house away, but there wasn’t a beach that disappointed.

Walk out to the pier or swing at Holland State Park and see Big Red {the lighthouse}. Not to be missed if you have small children is the charming Dutch Village.

Holland, Michigan Big Red Lighthouse | What to do in West Michigan along Lake Michigan
Holland, Michigan | What to do in West Michigan along Lake Michigan

You can see Holland State Park Beach in the distance…

Holland, Michigan | What to do in West Michigan along Lake Michigan
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly - one of the best beaches in Michigan
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly

Where to find the Best Views of Lake Michigan

At Silver Lake, you can climb Little Sable Point Lighthouse if you meet the height requirement. Adalyn and I enjoyed breathtaking views of the lake and beyond, from 100 feet up.

Little Sable Lighthouse in Silver Lake State Park | Michigan

Michigan Beaches – Perfect for Family Trips

While in the Silver Lake area, I highly recommend MacWoods Dune Rides. The 40-minute ride was fun for all, but still safe for the littles and offers a one-of-a-kind experience.

While we didn’t make it to Sleeping Bear Dunes, the girls were able to slide down a large dune and climb their way back up, which we decided was challenging enough for now! The ride was full of laughs and joyful screams as we whisked through the hills of sand. There is plenty of climbing available at Silver Lake State Park as well.

Slide down {then climb} the sand dunes at Silver Lake in West Michigan
Climb the sand dunes at Silver Lake in West Michigan
Climb, slide down or jump in the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park
Climb, slide down or jump in the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park
Slide down {then climb} the sand dunes at Silver Lake in West Michigan

Things to do at Michigan Beaches

We also had the opportunity to visit Grand Haven just before the Coast Guard festival. You can take a ride on the trolley to learn a little about the area’s history for about $5/family. I recommend sitting in the back for a little air.

You can also walk out to the Grand Haven Lighthouses which are connected with a pier and take the 2 mile paved path up to the Coast Guard. I’m not sure if the ships permanently reside there or if we just got lucky, so check in advance.

If you’re looking for lunch or dinner, I highly recommend dining outdoors at Jack’s Waterfront Bistro on the banks of the Grand River.

shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly

How to Navigate the Michigan Beach Towns

I found this map to be extremely helpful when planning our excursions. You can read more about Michigan beach towns here. As you can see, pure Michigan was pure fun!

West Michigan Beaches
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly
shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly

The Best Summer Travel Spots

We loved every minute of this trip to all the various spots in Michigan. What I love even more is being able to share all of our trips with all of you.

If you found these tips helpful, check out some of my other travel posts for your next vacation inspiration. Some of my favorites are Things to do in Martha’s Vineyard, Things to do in Branson, and What I Wish I Knew About Disney.

shallow entry beaches in West Michigan are calm, clean and family friendly
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village

Today, we took a step back in time when we entered the quaint Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan and it didn’t disappoint! Honestly, I was slightly afraid Chris would laugh at me for coming up with such an idea to do on vacation as we turned past the Sam’s Club to check out the little amusement park, but we were pleasantly surprised! It’s the stuff childhood memories are made of. I’m pretty sure the girls will reflect back on their visit with something like “remember that time mom and dad took us to a place that was like another country, but in the US and we slid down a shoe and walked a goat?” It’s that kitschy little place that can make just about anyone smile.

Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village

For $40, we spent the day strolling through the village filled with little streams and plenty of ducklings, getting a small taste of Dutch culture. The girls watched a demonstration on how they make klompen, dutch dancers and even learned how to klompen dance with a beautiful organ.

Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village

If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a few rides, that we rode several times. On the ferris wheel you get a sneak peek at what the park has to offer, including the wooden shoe slide, Dutch chair swing ride and petting zoo.

Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village

Aside from the rides and seeing the girls gleam,  my favorite was walking a goat. How often do you have the opportunity to walk a goat? Annaliese kindly obliged as the girls took her for a stroll around the lake. She took a few snack breaks and needed a little coaxing from Ani, but overall it was a success.

Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village

Dutch Village is carefully orchestrated to optimize staff and experience. We spotted the klompen dancers handing out samples and offering cheese demonstrations at the cheese shop {which is a great place for a snack}, and at times in the afternoon you’ll find that one operator is alternating rides. I’d recommend arriving at opening for the best experience.

Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village
Things to Do in Holland Michigan with Kids | Dutch Village

We spent nearly 3 hours at Dutch Village and only did half of what they have to offer. Personally, I think it offers something for all ages, but is a must see for families with kids 10 and under. Other activities include: zip line, maze, pedal cars, and candle carving.

If you find yourself near Holland, Michigan with kids, I highly recommend you take a step back into time.

More Family Travels

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