The Best Beaches in the Midwest
Have you heard of the United States’ third coast? The coast that is located in the Midwest of course! With thousands of miles of shoreline, there are bound to be some incredible beaches in the Midwest. We’ve traveled around to find some of the hidden gems as well as some of the very popular beaches located in the midwest. In no particular order, we have list 15 beautiful beaches to explore on the Midwest coastline.
Before you hit the road and start exploring, check out our waterproof bag collection too keep your valuables dry!
1. Park Point Beach (Duluth, MN)
From the perfect lake view picture to finding the best spot for a picnic, Park Point Beach is ready to handle it all. Find grills, a playground, and plenty of beach to entertain the entire family.
2. Oak Street Beach (Chicago, IL)
Nestled within the big city of Chicago, experience beautiful views of Lake Michigan as skyscrapers tower above you. Beat the hustle and bustle of the city just steps from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
3. Big Bay State Park (Madeline Island, WI)
Madeline Island is the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands located in Lake Superior. Big Bay State Park is 2,350 acres with picturesque views all around you. From the sandstone bluffs, caves, and 1.5 miles of beach you’ll find it difficult to sit still and not explore the entire shoreline.
4. Clinch Park Beach (Traverse City, MI)
Popular activities at Clinch Park Beach including fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and even sailing. Traverse City has been called the “Caribbean of the North”; come find out why!
5. Bde Maka Ska (Minneapolis, MN)
With a view of downtown Minneapolis, you’ll feel like you’re looking at a postcard. Rent kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes right from the shoreline. You are also within walking distance of great eats and shopping. There are paved walking and biking trails around the entire lake, too. You can easily make a day out of visiting this lake!
6. Cave Point County Park (Sturgeon Bay, WI)
Venture through the park to find cliff jumping at the Devil’s Bathtub and hiking along the cliffs hanging over Lake Michigan. Although only deemed a county park, do not underestimate the beauty and magic you will find along the shoreline. After exploring the cliffs and hiking trails, grab your bags and head to Whitefish Dunes State Park and sunbathe along the sand dunes.
7. Presque Isle Park (Marquette, MI)
From sunbathing to cliff jumping, this beach has something for all types of adventurers. This park sits on a 323 acre peninsula and is perfect for picnics, hiking, cross-country skiing in the winter, swimming, and snowshoeing. Don’t forget to spot the Upper Harbor Lighthouse after grabbing an ice cream treat from the concession stand!
8. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Maple City, MI)
This hidden gem is a sight to see. Unlike other beaches on our list, the real attraction is the sand dunes reaching heights of 450 feet. With 65 miles of Lake Michigan shore, there are opportunities to camp and hike here, too.
9. Kohler-Andrae State Park (Sheboygan, WI)
This spot is popular not only in the summer but also in the winter for snowshoeing. The sand dunes and sandy shoreline can transport you to the oceanside. Bring your camping and hiking gear to make a weekend of the trip.
10. Oval Beach (Saugatuck, MI)
Another great beach to rent kayaks and go fishing. From the sand dunes and paddleboats, you’ll find yourself keeping busy here.
11. Ohio Street Beach (Chicago, IL)
This beach gives you great views of downtown skyscrapers. With other beaches in Chicago being more popular destinations, Ohio Street Beach is a quieter option to relax and enjoy the views of Lake Michigan.
12. Holland State Park (Holland, MI)
As one of Michigan’s most visited state parks, you may find yourself enjoying the scenery with quite a few other people. That being said, there is plenty of space in this 142 acre park to find some solitude. Enjoy views of Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan. Don’t forget to check out Big Red Lighthouse from the beachfront! There are also campgrounds and boardwalks nearby to make a weekend out of your visit.
13. Lundington State Park (Lundington, MI)
With several miles of shoreline and beaches, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a quiet spot for your family to lay out their beach towels for the day. From this beach, you can visit the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, but you’ll first have to walk two miles along the shoreline to reach it. Don’t forget to check out the Lundington Beach House.
14. Bradford Beach (Milwaukee, WI)
Featuring dozens of sand volleyball courts and a tiki bar, Bradford Beach sits along the shore of Lake Michigan. When taking Lincoln Memorial Drive to the beach, you’ll pass the Milwaukee Art Museum, several marinas, Veterans Park, McKinley Park, and McKinley Beach. McKinley Park is perfect if you’ve got little ones with you. Head over to Veterans Park to visit the Gift of Wings Kite Store and to rent a bicycle to fit the entire family!
15. Schoolhouse Beach (Washington, WI)
This is one of only five beaches in the world that are naturally comprised of limestone. Schoolhouse Beach is one of them and the sight is magnificent. Once you make it through the treeline, you’ll find a shore lined with beautiful pebbles that continue on through the very clear water. This beach has been named one of the most romantic spots in Wisconsin by Travel + Leisure. Pack a picnic and head up to Washington Island and step into a dream when you visit Schoolhouse Beach.
Have you visited a Midwest beach on the Great Lakes that's missing from this list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Instagram! Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Instagram! Don't forget to check out the our WaterSeals collection on LewisNClark.com by clicking here.