If you plan to visit Michigan for a holiday, the best beaches in Traverse City lie in wait for you.
Traverse City has many top-rated beaches, especially during summer, but they are accessible throughout the year.
Are you aware that the beaches in Traverse City are lake beaches?
Keep it here as I have prepared a list of the ten best beaches in Traverse city for you.
Located at the heart of the Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Great Lakes Region in the USA.
The town acts as a social and cultural hub of Northern Michigan.
Surrounded by a fantastic landscape of rolling hills and deep freshwater lakes, the city has a total of 376 km of the continuous shoreline of Lake Michigan that is popular with boaters, swimmers, beachcombers, sailors, and kayakers.
The 100 km long beaches, islands, coves, and surrounding hills have been voted the Most Beautiful Places in America.
Since the beaches are along the lakes, the water is fresh, with no sharks and no tide.
The sand along the shoreline will offer that “ocean beach” feeling coupled with the bright turquoise waters, beautiful sunsets, wooded trails, and a vibrant city.
These features make Traverse City a true outdoor paradise.
The best beaches in Traverse City are easily accessible and dog-friendly too.
Where Can You Find these Traverse City Michigan Beaches?
Traverse City, located in Northern Michigan, is home to the Great Lakes.
The city is located at the bottom of the Grand Traverse Bay and is separated from Lake Michigan by Leelanau Peninsula.
Due to the popularity of the downtown area, most beaches on the main West Bay experience overcrowding.
However, other beaches are unique and do not experience huge crowds, making them among the best beaches in Traverse City.
What are the Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Beaches in Traverse City?
Before visiting the beach, beachgoers consider some factors before deciding where to stay.
❖ Beautiful dunes
❖ Dog friendly
❖ Amenities nearby
10 Best Beaches in Traverse City
Bryant Park Traverse City: Best for Picnics
Located a few minutes drive from downtown Traverse City, Bryant Park is located on the West of the Grand Traverse Bay near the base of the Old Mission Peninsula.
The beach is one of the best picnic sites with great sunset viewing. Its key features include:
❖ Dedicated picnic area with picnic tables
❖ Charcoal grills
During sunny days, there are shady areas under the tall pine trees and after swimming, you can take a stroll across the street and grab something for your tummy, like ice cream at Bardon’s Wonder Freeze.
Only leashed dogs are allowed on the beach, with swimming areas being restricted to pets.
Byrant Park Traverse City is among the best beaches in Traverse City and is popular among families as it experiences smaller crowds and is calmer compared to the other beaches in the area.
Physical address: Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686
Clinch Park: Best for its Location
Located right next to the shopping complexes and dining facilities in downtown Traverse City, Clinch Park has a fantastic stretch of sandy shoreline situated next to West Grand Traverse Bay.
The location makes it among the best beaches in Traverse City, as the nearby shops, coffee bars, and restaurants are easily accessible.
The key features of Clinch Park beach include the following:
❖ Kids splash pad
❖ Snacks area
❖ Picnic pavilion
❖ Volleyball courts
❖ Rental equipment such as kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards
The beach is next to the Old Traverse City Zoo and the Marina.
There are no parking spaces on the beach, but visitors can access parking along Cass Street, which is connected to the beach through a pedestrian underpass.
The TART Trail is also easily accessible through the park. The trail is a 16.9 km – long paved trail popular among cyclists, walkers, joggers, and skaters.
Due to its location, the beach is popular with individuals who love adventure nearby and do not like venturing far.
Additionally, due to its popularity, it experiences enormous crowds.
Dogs are prohibited in designated swimming areas, but in other areas, they are allowed as long as they are leashed.
Physical address: West Grandview Parkway and East of Union Street Intersection, Traverse City, MI
East Bay Park: Famous among Young Families
Located on the East Grand Traverse Bay base, this beach is famed for its shallow and warm water ideal for young kids to play and splash around.
It is located approximately 10 minutes drive from the city, and most visitors with young kids love to visit this beach.
The beach is large and has plenty of room for spreading beach blankets, making it ideal for a day of relaxing. Some of its unique features include:
❖ Ample parking space
❖ Lifeguards on standby, especially in the summer months
❖ Shaded picnic areas
Due to its location, the beach experiences little crowds, making it ideal for families and individuals looking to escape the overcrowded beaches.
The management does not allow dogs on the beach but only on grass areas and paved paths as long as they are leashed.
Physical address: 220 East Bay Boulevard South, Traverse City, MI 49686
West End Beach: Great for Socializing
Located off west of Division Street on the northern end of Grandview Parkway, this beach is among the best beaches in Traverse City.
It is famed for those who love socializing and sunrise watching.
The mile-long beach has the shore lined with anchored boats, with many volleyball courts packed with individuals making it perfect for summertime socialization.
The key features of the West End beach include:
❖ Volleyball courts
❖ Ample parking space
❖ Nearby grass park
Leashed dogs are only allowed on the far west part of the beach.
Physical address: 716 West Grandview Parkway, Traverse City, MI 49684
Traverse City State Park – Famed for Sunset Watching
The Traverse City State Park is located 3.2 km from downtown Traverse City on Grand Traverse Bay.
The beach is 0.64 km long and filled with pristine sand. There are camping facilities located just across the street.
It has incredible features that make it one of the best beaches in Traverse City. These features include:
❖ On-duty lifeguards
❖ Fishing area
❖ Hiking trail
❖ Cycling paths
❖ Camping area
There is a TART Trail within the Traverse City State Park for all interested in cycling, jogging, and walking.
Additionally, power boating and sailing are favorite activities visitors enjoy.
For those who love fishing, there is a fishing area for you to catch your fair share.
Some of the popular species caught are salmon, trout, and panfish.
Parking spaces are available, but you must seek a state parking permit to access the parking area.
Some of the features of this park include:
❖ Rental facilities
❖ Cozy cabins
The state park sits on a 47-acre piece of land and is located across the street, making it ideal for camping.
There are approximately 350 campsites within the park, all available for use throughout the year.
On the beachfront are comfy cabins and heated restrooms for visitors. Pets like dogs are not permitted on this beach.
Physical address: 1132 N US Highway 31 N, Traverse City, MI 49686
Power Island: Great for Boating Activities
The approximately 202-acre island is located in West Grand Traverse Bay and has some of the best beaches in Traverse City.
The island is located on the northside of Bassett Island and Henry Ford owned these two islands between 1917 and 1944.
Power Island is famous for its boating lifestyle and boating lovers have identified it as among the islands with the best beaches in Traverse City.
Due to its location, the island beaches are only accessible by boat.
The Old Mission Peninsula is 5.6 km away and has the nearest boat launch.
Some of the features that make this island among the best include:
❖ Large picnic areas
❖ Boat dock
❖ Sandy beaches
❖ Camping area
❖ Wooded hikes
For those planning to extend their stay, there are ten rustic campsites on the island for camping lovers.
Reservations must be made earlier and each camp has a capacity of up to six people.
Visitors camping here are required to check in and out latest by midday.
Features of these campsites include a cooking grill, a campfire circle and a picnic table.
Additionally, the island is blessed with several hiking trails that are over 5 miles in length.
The total beach length is over 3 miles making it among the most preferred beach destinations in Traverse City.
The management allows only leashed dogs on the island. Come and have an unforgettable outdoor experience.
Physical Address: Traverse City, MI 49686
Twin Lakes Park
The rugged beach on Twin Lakes Park is among the best beaches in Traverse City and is preferred by individuals who would love to escape crowds in the other beaches.
The beach is located on the west side of a small community and is popular among the locals.
There is a small swimming area that tends to be deep in some instances and it is recommended that you stay in the designated swimming areas.
The park has several private lakeside spots perfect for relaxation and a number of natural trails perfect for walking around the lake.
The features that make this beach incredible include the following:
❖ Fishing spots
❖ Picnic tables
❖ Nature trails
The pavilion is available from booking and you can book multiple events.
The park organizes several weekly camps for every age group during the summer months.
For those planning to stay longer, cabins, safari-style tents, yurts or lodges are available for booking.
Cabins are designed to accommodate two people.
Therefore, this is the place to be if you are a nature-loving couple or a solo adventurer.
The management only allows visitors to camp for up to 15 consecutive nights.
It is important to note that pets must be kept on a six-foot leash and must be attended to all the time.
Physical address: 6800 N Long Lake Road, Traverse City, MI 49686
Old Mission Peninsula Park: Great for Tagging along Pets like Dogs
Sitting on a 40-acre piece of land, Old Mission Peninsula Park is located a few minutes drive from Traverse City. At the tip of the park is the historic Mission Point Lighthouse, which you can visit.
The beach along the park is famed for shallow, warm waters perfect for wading and rock picking.
The beach is more stony with few pockets of sand and is among the best dog-friendly beaches in Traverse City.
The park also has an extensive trail network perfect for walking
The Historic Mission Point Lighthouse has been around for decades and is located on the northern side of the drive through cherry and vineyard orchards along the M-37.
The lighthouse is representative of Michigan History and offers the visitors a sneak preview of how life was around the city and its critical role in guiding mariners through the West Grand Traverse Bay.
There is a museum there that is free of charge, but to catch a glimpse of the fantastic views, you will pay a small fee to access the tower. The charges are:
$5 for individuals over 13 years
$2 for children aged 6 to 12 years
Free for children aged 5 years and below
The park has several places to explore, including wineries, cherry orchards, hotels and restaurants along the peninsula. The hotels and inns offer accommodation at a fee.
Other Things to do Along the Peninsula
The Old Mission Peninsula is home to 10 wineries located on the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail. You can take a day off and visit the wineries in the area.
The majority of them have stunning views and wine-tasting rooms.
For food lovers, try out Jolly Pumpkin. Their food is tasty and they have a casual pub atmosphere.
The park is also home to several bird species and presents a perfect opportunity for bird-watching lovers.
The scenic beauty of this park presents fantastic photo opportunities too.
The park allows dogs and they will enjoy a walk through the extensive trail network.
Physical address: Old Mission Point, Traverse City, MI 49686
North Bar Lake
Do you feel like taking a trip further out of the town to a serene and quiet beach and spending a day there?
Then North Bar Lake is the place to be. Located within a 40-minute drive from Traverse City, this lake has a beach to die for.
Situated in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this beach has tall dunes that offer shelter during windy days.
The water is much warmer and calm, making it perfect for families and kids.
The distance between the park and the beach is considerably huge, meaning there is a bit of walking to get to the beaches.
This distance makes the beach not as busy as the other beaches in Traverse City.
Parking spaces are available but at a fee.
The management allows dogs in the park on condition that they are leashed all the time.
Physical address: 1030 North Bar Lake Road, Empire, MI 49630
This beach is located along Old Mission Peninsula.
Its unique park is among the best in the city and does not experience huge crowds compared to other beaches.
The beach is located 18 miles north of Traverse City and is a hidden gem due to its location and amenities.
The Old Mission Harbor offers protection from the wind.
Haserot beach is famed for its relaxing atmosphere, clear, calm and crystal waters and a long stretch of sandy beach.
Some of the features that make this beach incredible include:
❖ Picnic area with grills
❖ Boat launch area
The shore is lined with beautiful cottages that make the scenery beautiful.
Due to its unique location, the beach is sheltered from the wind making it among the best beaches in Traverse City.
The management does not allow downs in picnic or swimming areas, but in the other parts, they are allowed as long as they are on a leash.
Physical address: Swaney Road, Traverse City, MI 49686
Other Fun Places to Visit in Traverse City with Kids
Apart from the best beaches in Traverse City and all the state’s related activities, there are other fun places you can visit with kids and have fun. These places include:
Cognition Science and Discovery Center
The Cognition Science and Discovery Center is a museum full of many exhibits and has fun-filled learning opportunities suitable for children of all ages.
Physical address: 232 N Michigan Ave, Beulah, MI, 49617
Center Ice Arena
The Traverse City North Stars play their games at Center Ice Arena and provides a perfect place if you feel like cooling off.
You can watch the team play at the arena during match days.
The arena has a public ice-skating rink perfect for kids.
Physical address: 1600 Chartwell Dr, Ste A, Traverse City, MI, 49696
Crystal Mountain is a family-owned resort located approximately a 40-minute drive from downtown Traverse City.
The resort has swimming pools, a golf course, an alpine slide, pickleball and tennis courts and skiing trails.
Children aged three and above can ski, golf and sleep for free.
Physical address: 12500 Crystal Mountain Dr. Thompsonville, Michigan 49683
Conclusion on the Best Beaches in Traverse City
Best beaches in Traverse City have something for everyone. Traverse City is blessed with several beaches because it is located in the Great Lakes Region.
Summer is the busiest period of the year as individuals flock to the beaches to have a good time.
No matter which beaches you visit, I can guarantee you that you will enjoy your time there.
The beaches further away from the city offer plenty of space and a quieter environment for a good time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Traverse City beaches nice?
YES, Traverse City has nice and beautiful beaches. They provide breathtaking views of Grand Traverse Bay, the Grand Traverse Islands, and Lake Michigan. The beaches are clean and well-equipped, with picnic areas, playgrounds, and other amenities. Of course, the water is crystal clear and ideal for swimming, boating, fishing, and other activities.
Can you swim in Traverse City Michigan?
Yes, you can swim in Traverse City, Michigan. Traverse City is located on Lake Michigan's shores and is home to popular beaches and public swimming areas such as Clinch Park Beach and East Bay Park. There are also numerous resorts and hotels in the area that provide swimming and water activities.
Which is the prettiest beach in Traverse City?
Clinch Park Beach is the prettiest beach and one of Traverse City's popular beaches, and it's only a short drive from the city center. There are restaurants, coffee shops, and shops nearby this lovely sandy area of West Grand Traverse Bay.