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Michigan beach towns for families to explore

Michigan beach towns for families to explore

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Top Michigan Beaches

Let me give you some advice

I've asked an expert and Michigan native, Lindsay Parker Williams, to share some of the best Michigan beach towns for families to explore. She writes her own family travel blog here

All nestled on the east side of Lake Michigan, here's the five best southwest Michigan beach towns for families to explore!

St. Joseph

St. Joseph’s attractions are perfect for family fun, both inside and outside. Silver Beach offers plenty of beach amenities like restrooms and concessions. When you need a break from the sun, head to the nearby Curious Kids Children’s Museum and Curious Kids Discovery Center, or The Silver Beach Carousel.

Your kids can also play in the giant Whirlpool Compass Fountain (see picture below) just across the street from the beach.

St. Joseph's charming downtown area offers restaurants and shops for parents to explore and there are several affordable hotel options for families in this bigger town. 

Chow Down: Silver Beach Pizza

Related post: St. Joseph Michigan with kids


South Haven

The quintessential family-friendly lakeside town. South Haven is full of charm that will delight you and your kids.

Stroll through the farmers market to grab fresh local produce and browse the sweet shops along main street. Then, make your way out to South Beach and a walk along the pier to see the red lighthouse of South Haven.

Spend more time exploring the many city beaches or the Kal-Haven bike trail. And don’t forget to stop by historic Sherman’s Dairy Bar for delicious homemade ice cream.

Cottage rentals abound in this summer tourist town, but book early since many places fill up quickly. Check out my full list of things for kids in South Haven

Chow Down: Taste or Brix Corner Oven


The biggest of all the towns, Holland takes pride in Dutch heritage with its annual Tulip Time Festival (May) and cultural attractions like Nelis’ Dutch Village.

For beach access, head out to Holland State Park to see Big Red, the famous lighthouse. This beach is busy during the summer, so arrive early. For less crowds, you can visit Tunnel Park a few miles north, with a great playground and shaded picnic area for families.

When you’re done at the beach, wander through the shops downtown and grab dinner at one of the many family friendly restaurants. Many places are not open on Sunday, so make sure you check hours before making plans.

Chow Down: New Holland Brewing Company or The Windmill  

New Buffalo

Closest to Chicago, New Buffalo has long been a playground for those escaping the city. You’ll hear the train coming into town, bringing weekenders to the shore, and you can watch boats coming and going on the channel out to Lake Michigan.

Nearby Warren Dunes State Park, offers lots of hiking and beach access and you’ll find wineries and antiques all throughout the area. For the deal hunters in your group, check out the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets just across the border in Indiana.

Chow Down: Redamaks



An artist’s haven, Saugatuck (and neighboring town, Douglas) offers galleries and unique shops plus a mix of upscale and family friendly restaurant choices.

This town is situated further back from Lake Michigan, on the Kalamazoo River, so you’ll need to head to Oval Beach to catch breathtaking views of the water and magnificent dunes.

Let your kids burn off some energy in the shaded town square park before strolling through both downtown Douglas and Saugatuck for fun shopping. 

Chow Down: Blue Star Café or Crane’s Pie Pantry (in nearby Fennville)

Looking for more tips on traveling through Michigan? Here’s a free comprehensive guide on the 50 best things to do in Michigan.

Lindsay William Let me give you advice

A little more about Lindsay

Follow my friend, Lindsay Parker Williams! She is full of fantastic advice, especially regarding family travel in the Midwest.  

Lindsay is the founder of the travel and family lifestyle blog, Let Me Give You Some Advice. She helps curious families explore more, live intentionally and try new things. Her husband and two boys provide non-stop entertainment on family road trips and, to maintain her sanity, Lindsay often disappears into a good book or new podcast. She firmly believes you can always learn something new. Stay inspired with ideas for family adventures both at home and on the road when you sign up for her newsletter or follow along on Facebook.  

All photos belong to Lindsay Parker Williams, except the ones of the tulips and the beaches houses (courtesy of

Have you visited beach towns in Michigan? What were your favorite spots and why? Comment below, we'd love to know.  And feel free to share this post with a friend who just might be visiting Michigan soon. Thanks!

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