We asked our readers to share their favorite spots to take young children to cool off (bonus points for places with playgrounds, restrooms, and picnic tables). These are their picks for best Northern Michigan beaches for kids.

Clinch Park

Clinch Park, Traverse City

Earn everlasting adoration from your favorite wee ones at this free energy burner. Clinch Park beach is staffed with lifeguards daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from mid-June until approximately Labor Day. Bonuses: The splash pad is perfect for little kids who aren’t ready for the Big Lake just yet, plenty of picnic tables and close to downtown!

Empire Beach

Lake Michigan Beach Park, Empire

The beach, located west of the downtown area, has a playground, pavilion and one of the newest working lighthouses on the Great Lakes. If Lake Michigan is too cold, scoot over to South Bar Lake—just east of the parking lot—for warmer water and no waves.

Veterans' Memorial Park, Elk Rapids

Veterans’ Memorial Park, Elk Rapids

The waters here are shallow and warm, and kids love playing where the mouth of Elk River empties out on the beach. Other features: basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic tables, play area, grills and shade trees provide respite from the sun.

More great Northern Michigan beaches for kids:

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Photo(s) by Kelly Hofman