Top Beaches near Sleeping Bear Dunes
The high water levels of the Great Lakes have reduced the size of all the beaches. As the water levels rise the sandy beach areas become narrower leaving less space to set up umbrellas and chairs for a day at the beach. We like the Esch Road Beach, Frankfort Beach, North Bar Lake and Traverse City Beaches for an all day beach day. Vans Beach in Leland is a great spot for a beach day too but it’s a little farther of a drive from Sleeping Bear Resort. For long walks on the beach to look for Petoskey Stones we like County Road 651 Beach.
Esch Road Beach
This used to be a well kept secret but the word is getting out on this beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes Beach. The Otter Creek empties into Lake Michigan at Esch Road and there are nice views of the dunes. Take M22 three miles south of Empire to Esch Road. Turn right on Esch Road and head west about a mile to the parking area at the end of the road. Click here for more information about Esch Road Beach.
North Bar Lake
You can get to North Bar Lake by taking LaCore Street north out of Empire to Voice Road and then Bar Lake Road. You can swim in North Bar Lake or Lake Michigan at this prime beach spot. The waters of North Bar will be much warmer than Lake Michigan! If you’re going to North Bar, get there early as it does get busy during the peak season. Click here for more information about North Bar Lake Beach.
This is our favorite beach to watch the 4th of July fireworks. It’s a large beach with a pier going out to the Frankfort Light. You can walk out to the light depending on wind and waves. It’s walking distance from downtown Frankfort which a charming little village that is bustling with activity during the summer.
Traverse City Public Beaches
This is where you’ll want to bring the teenagers! Beach volleyball, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, jet skis, kite surfing and lots more to do at the downtown Traverse City beach. It’s a short walk to the downtown shops and restaurants and the TART recreational bike trail goes right through this area. Click here for more information about Traverse City Beaches.
Van’s Beach in Leland
This public beach located in Leland is a local favorite. The trail head to the beach is just beyond Van’s Garage at the end of Cedar Street – downtown Leland. Click here for more information on Van’s Beach.
Platte River Point
This beach is always very busy because of the Platte River kayakers and canoers. It’s a beautiful beach but if you’re going, make sure to get there early to get a parking spot. The Platte River empties into Lake Michigan here and there is swimming in both the Platte River and in Lake Michigan. The Lake Township Park is also located here and they have barbecue grills available for use. Click here for more information on Platte River Point.
Empire is known for their beautiful beach and their sunsets over Lake Michigan. The beach is just west of the downtown district. There’s swimming in Lake Michigan and also swimming in South Bar Lake which is accessible from the same parking area as for the Lake Michigan Beach. Parking is $1/hour and there are play structures for the kids.
Good Harbor Bay Beach
This is a popular beach for sunset beach bonfires. The swimming is great here too. It’s located in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and you can take long walks along the lakeshore. Click here for more information on Good Harbor Bay Beach.
County Road 669 Beach
This lesser known beach is located on Good Harbor Bay. It has beautiful views of Pyramid Point and Whaleback. The swimming is good and it’s one of the closer Sleeping Bear Dunes beaches to the resort. Click here for more information about County Road 669 Beach.