Charlevoix Michigan boasts some of the best beaches found on the Great Lakes. Located on the shores of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan, Charlevoix has numerous beaches and easy access to boat launches on these beautiful freshwater lakes. The beaches in Charlevoix are free, most are pet friendly and open to the public. There are also two state parks located close to town, some restrictions may apply for entry. From family-oriented beaches with snack shacks to desolate dunes for getting away from it all, you will find your favorite beach in Charlevoix!
Here you will find Charlevoix's South Pier Lighthouse, as well as a myriad of family, must haves: playground, snack shack, restrooms, trails, stand up paddle board rentals, picnic pavilion and much more.
Fisherman's Island State Park
Fisherman's Island State Park offers six miles of unspoiled shoreline and numerous hiking trails through forests and sand dunes. This state park is home to numerous hiking and biking trails, try your luck fishing, or head out on the water to go kayaking on Lake Michigan. A state recreation park pass is needed to enter the park.
Mt McSauba Recreational Area
Remote and rustic beach and dune area, this beach is a favorite for locals. With picturesque views of Lake Michigan, this nature preserve has numerous hiking trails, disc golf course, and great cross country skiing trails available.
For information about water safety on Lake Michigan, click here.
Named Depot Beach for the adjacent historic train depot, this beach features restrooms, stand up paddle board rentals, and a pavilion. Make sure to see the incredible garden near the depot!
Families love Ferry Beach as the sandy swimming area gradually deepens. Playground, concession, restrooms, picnic area, stand up paddle board rentals, and pavilions make a day at the beach fun and easy!
Young State Park
This 560 acre state park located on the north arm of Lake Charlevoix between Charlevoix and Boyne City offers a great beach. A state recreation park pass is needed to access this park.
Immerse yourself into the Charlevoix rock hound culture by finding some Petoskey stones. Petoskey stones are actually fossilized coral from over 350 million years ago during the Devonian period when Michigan was covered by warm sea water. Over time the continents shifted from then, Michigan being near the equator to where Michigan now lies in the middle of the freshwater Great Lakes. When you find a Petoskey stone you hold in your hand a fossil of colonial coral which predates humans by about 300 million years.
The Charlevoix area beaches are touted as one of the best places to look for them, though they are found across the entire top third of the lower peninsula in gravel pits and roadbeds. Look for Petoskey stones at Fisherman's Island State Park, Michigan Beach, McSauba Recreation Area/ North Point Nature Preserve.
Choosing a time to go is important because the stones shift with the weather and waves. On windy wavy days the stones may all wash out into the lake or may wash into the shore and litter the beach. Where there are numerous rocks you can usually find Petoskeys. They are easiest to find when wet so the hexagonal pattern is visible. Don't discount going out in your raincoat when it's possible to find them yards away from the water. Remember, each person is limited to a 5 gallon bucket of Petoskey stones to take with you.
Part of the fun is hunting for your own Petoskey Stones, but they are generally for sale at many gift shops in the Charlevoix, Petoskey and Traverse City areas.