North Beach

South Haven, MI 4.5 /5 Stars

Lake Michigan


            North Beach is one of my favorite beaches anywhere! It is a wonderful public city beach that reminds me a lot of Atlantic Ocean beaches I went to as a kid. North Beach captures the spirit of “Pure Michigan” with its beautiful sunsets. So beautiful in fact that I proposed to my wife during a beautiful July sunset (She said yes!). I have been to this Michigan beach more than any other and I plan on going back throughout my life. To top it off, there is a nice light house on the cement pier that protects the entrance to the South Haven marina. On the other side of the pier, is another great beach, South Beach. All and all, it’s one of best beaches in Michigan, my only complaint is that the bathrooms are small, but they do the job.


            Southwest Michigan, Lake Michigan.

Distance from:

  • Chicago 127 miles (2hours 2 minutes)
  • Detroit 182 miles (2 hours 51 minutes)
  • Kalamazoo 39 miles (55 minutes)
  • Grand Rapids 58 miles (55 minutes)

Swimming Conditions:

            North Beach is a great place to go swimming, with a gradual drop off in depth. Waves and currents at North Beach can vary on the weather. I have been there on days when the water is as smooth as glass and I have been there on days where the waves were 3 to 5 feet high like ocean conditions. On the beach, there are signs warning about ripe-tides and the under-toe, the city also has flag poles every 100 feet or so that tell beach goers what the swimming conditions are. Near the shore, the water is a light teal blue shade that turns darker blue further out from shore. The surface of the water is very clear and you can see down in the water a few feet. The best time of summer to go to experience the best water and air temperatures is mid to late summer, when the water is in the mid 70’s and the air temperatures are in the 80’s. In many ways, North beach is like an Atlantic Ocean beach during the summer. There are no life guards at the beach.

Sand/ Land conditions:

            North Beach has wonderful fine grain white sand for the length of the beach, again looking like an Atlantic beach. North beach is a very large beach with plenty of room for beach goers. From the parking lot to the waters edge is about 50 to 75 yards of sand. Then from the cement pier to the end of the public beach is some where between 300 and 500 yards long. There is even room for beach volleyball courts. If you want to play, talk to the snack shack to get a net.


            One of the first things you will notice about the beach is the endless horizon over lake Michigan. North beach is right next to the South Haven marina, so it is a great place for boat watching. There is a small pirate ship that comes in and out of the marina throughout the day. Surrender the booty! The beach is also very popular with local boaters, many drop anchor off the beach. North Beach faces west, making it a perfect place to take in a sunset. It is an amazing sight to see when the sun goes below the horizon and there is still light. During the peak of summer, sunset in South Haven doesn’t happen until after 9:30 PM, Make sure to check sunset time before you go. Surrounding the beach, there are many beautiful beach homes that complete the ocean/ beach vibe.


            North Beach has a bathroom, but it not the best. It is located at the back of the walk-up snack shack on the outside of the building. There are no showers, but there is a foot wash station. This is the only thing I don’t like about North Beach.

Cost / Parking:

            There is no cost to access the beach if you don’t mind walking. There is free street parking a few blocks from the beach. There is parking right along the beach that is $8 for the day. I think it is $8 well spent.  


Beach size: 5/5

Views: 5/5

Bathroom: 3/5

Swimming conditions: 5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

One of my favorite beaches out there! Great swimming conditions, views and atmosphere.

Travel rating:  North beach is a regional treasure. I encountered number of people from the Chicago area and with good reason. If you live and Michigan and you haven’t been, what are you waiting for? Come spend at least a weekend in South Haven.

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