Top Traverse City Beaches for Families, Boaters & Picnickers

The best part of living (or visiting) in Northern Michigan is time spent outdoors at the beach. Though you can’t go wrong with any Northern Michigan beach, our handy guide to the coves and bays around Traverse City helps you find the perfect beach for your family.

– Your Guide to Traverse City Beaches – 

West End Beach

Running in a sandy arc from Traverse City’s Open Space a mile west to M-72, West End Beach has long provided a measure of summer’s vital signs. Locals and visitors stake out space on shore, while boaters anchor nearby, creating a boat-to-shore social scene. The region’s most active volleyball action fires up here as well, with teams competing nearly every evening all summer long. An easy walk to downtown delivers Traverse City restaurants, cafes and a break from the sun.

Bryant Park Beach

With its fat strip of sand, playground equipment on the grass, a plenitude of picnic tables (with grills) and a nice bathroom, Bryant Park, ranks high on family beach favorites. Smaller crowds seal the deal for those looking for a quieter beach scene than what’s found downtown. Plan a late afternoon gathering followed by picnic dinner and sunset, and you’ll have a day to remember. Located at the southeast corner of West Grand Traverse Bay, where Garfield Avenue meets Peninsula Drive.

Bryant Beach

Haserot Park Beach 

Tracing the shore of the diminutive bay at Old Mission Village, the Traverse region’s first European settlement, Haserot Park beach presents a sequestered piece of classic summertime: playground equipment, picnic tables and grills but also modest sailboats moored in the bay, cottages running along the shore, and an old-timey souvenir shop a short walk up the two-lane. Another bonus: the bay opens to the southeast—protected from the north and west winds.

Long Lake Beach

Families, especially those with little kids, appreciate the warm inland lake water that Long Lake offers. Shade from towering fir trees in the park offer respite for naps and for when the sun gets too hot. Picnic tables keep the meals easy. A small market a half mile away fills in what you forgot. And of course, there’s that fall-in-love-with-it Long Lake view. About 6 miles west of Traverse City on North Long Lake Road.

Clinch Park Beach

Next to the old Traverse City zoo and adjacent to the Clinch Park Marina, Clinch Park beach is a great place to get your tan on while squeezing in some quality people watching. Over 1500 feet of sand along West Grand Traverse Bay, Clinch Park features picnic tables, lifeguards from mid-June to August (great for younger swimmers) and is just a short walk from downtown Traverse City restaurants and coffee bars. Head east of Union Street on Grandview Parkway.

Clinch Park

East Bay Park Beach

Located on East Bay Boulevard, Easy Bay Park has a lot going for it. Views of the glass tower of the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, a pleasant park area with grills and bathrooms, and a small playground all make this beach ideal for families with young children. The water of this Lake Michigan bay remains very shallow for a long distance out, allowing new swimmers as well as those who are more inclined to wade than free-style, to splash to their heart’s content.

Traverse City State Park Beach

On the other side of busy U.S. 31 from the sprawling Traverse City State Park campground lies a long strech of peach and quiet. The Traverse City State Park Beach, which is accessible via an elevated walkway over the traffic, is one of Traverse City’s most popular beach spots. With picnic tables, restrooms, on-duty lifegaurds and an outlet of Mitchell Creek at the west end of the beach, it is the perfect place to bring a lunch and spend the day. A state park permit is required should you want to park your car there, but foot access is free.

Bayside Park Beach

Bayside Park is more than just a sandy beach with clear shallow water, with picnic tables, a playground, basketball and shuffleboard courts, this is the go-to answer to the constant summer vacation question, “What should we do today?”. Just south of the intersection of U.S. 31 North and M-72 in Acme, Bayside is a short distance from Traverse City on East Grand Traverse Bay.


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