One of the biggest draws for summer vacationers to Traverse City, Michigan is the number of crystal clear lakes and beautiful beaches in the area. Most people tend to stay around the main, downtown area, leaving the main beaches on West Bay overcrowded and often trashed by the end of the day. But the good news is that there are plenty of other beaches you can visit if you want a little more space and an off the beaten path beach experience in Traverse City. Here are some of the best beaches in Traverse City for escaping those summertime crowds!
East Bay Park
This quiet beach on East Bay has lots of sandy space to spread your beach blankets. The area is quiet, with a shady grass area. The water is shallower and calmer than the beaches on West Bay, making it a great beach for families with young children. There is also lots of parking, a playground, and a bathroom with basic changing facilities. It’s the closest of the best beaches in Traverse City for escaping the crowds, located just a bit outside of the downtown area, within an easy 10-minute drive.
220 East Bay Boulevard S
Lots of warm sand to relax on
A small wading area just before the Bay
Twin Lakes Park
On the west side of town is a small community recreation area called Twin Lakes Park. This beach is a good place to visit if you’re wanting more to just be in nature. There is a small swimming area, but it gets deep quickly and is highly recommended that you do not swim outside of the designated areas due to the water depth. There are nature trails that go around the lake, with lots of opportunities to score a private lakeside relaxation spot. This is a great spot for nature-loving couples and solo adventurers.
6800 N Long Lake Road
One of the best beaches in Traverse City to set up a hammock for the afternoon
Taylor Park, Long Lake
Taylor Park has one of my favorite beaches in Traverse City. This park has a large, shady picnic area, a sandy volleyball court, and a small stretch of beach area. But the best part is the large swimming area. Swimmers of all skill level can enjoy this park, with waters that ease from shallow to deep. There is also a small docking area if you want to launch your kayaks and other small watercraft on Long Lake. There is a small rustic restroom on site. Taylor Park does have the potential to fill up with locals during the warm days, but luckily there’s another beach just down the road at Gilbert Park. These two parks are especially great for families!
9339 N Long Lake Road
This beach is definitely off the beaten path in Traverse City. While many visitors like to take the drive on M-37 up the peninsula between East and West Bays, they seldom stop at this hidden gem. Haserot Beach is a quiet beach tucked in a small harbor on the east side of the peninsula. The water here is calm, and there is a long stretch of sandy beach to enjoy. There are also restrooms, a playground, and a small boat launch. There is a lot of swimming space, and the beachgoers are primarily locals who live on the peninsula. As a bonus, the drive to this beach is filled with drop-dead gorgeous scenery. This beach is great for everyone!
Take M-37 north for about 16 miles, and turn right on Swaney Road
A gorgeous day for a trip to Haserot Beach!
North Bar Beach
If you’re wanting to spend a few hours on the beach without being elbow-to-elbow with other travelers, consider taking a day-trip out to Empire. North Bar Beach is another hidden gem frequented by locals, located just a 40-minute drive from downtown Traverse City. It does require a little hike from the parking area, and a parking fee for the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore Park Pass, but this beach is worth it!
The path will bring you to North Bar Lake itself. This is a smaller lake that feeds into Lake Michigan. There is a small beach area here and the water is very calm and typically much warmer than Lake Michigan. Just around the sand dunes from this lake is public access to Lake Michigan. This is where you’ll find lots of beach area to set yourself up for the day. This beach is best for travelers who have several hours to devote to beach time. And if you get bored of the beach, there are plenty of other scenic activities to enjoy in the area!
1030 North Bar Lake Road
Beautiful Lake Michigan
When you visit Traverse City, Michigan you can’t miss out on the beach life and the stunning water in the area. There are many beaches in Traverse City that you are more than welcome to enjoy, but depending on the time of year, they may or may not be crowded with tourists. However, if you know of Traverse City’s best beaches that are off the beaten path, you are likely to find plenty of space to stretch out on the sand!
Do you have another suggestion for one of the best beaches in Traverse City for escaping the crowds? Share in the comments below!
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