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1. Silver Beach
All too often, beach-lovers overlook the clear waters, clean sands and grassy bluffs found up and down the coast of Lake Michigan, sometimes called America's Third Coast. But missing out on Silver Beach in St. Joseph would be a shame. With its wide curve of sand and family-friendly attitude, Silver Beach is easily reachable on foot from the delightful downtown area filled with Michigan-centric boutique galleries, cute ice cream shops and corner cafes and bars.The Beach
Walk through the soft sand down to the waterfront, where families have gathered for picnics, grilling or a little beach volleyball. You'll be surprised at how calm and pristine the water is, though if you're thinking of dipping your toes in, be aware that this lake only warms up later in the summer.
To avoid getting soaked, rent a kayak and paddle through Lake Michigan's cool waters. You can also wander to the end of one of two piers, South Pier and North Pier, to get a full view of the coast and all the beachfront action, not to mention the endless stream of boats arriving and departing from the nearby harbor.
Kids will love the Silver Beach Carousel, a Lake Michigan staple since 1910, with its beautifully detailed, hand-carved horses. When the sun sets and families have packed up and left the beachfront, couples stroll along the water and enjoy the sky's deepening colors.
For the perfect summer snack, head to the Wally & Gertz concession stand, which serves classics like hot dogs, fries, chips and ice cream. Forgot something at home? Wally & Gertz also sells sunglasses, beach towels, T-shirts and sunscreen, among other beach necessities.Tips
Though entering Silver Beach by bike or on foot is free, there is a $8 daily entry/parking fee for vehicles. Pets are allowed, but only leashed and on sidewalks. We recommend trying some locally brewed beer, but you'll have to head to one of the bars downtown; alcohol is prohibited on the beach.
Silver Beach at a glance
City: St. Joseph
Country or State: Michigan
Length of Beach: .5 miles
Access: By car
Best time to visit: Summer - best weather
High Season: June to August
Low Season: September to May
- Boat and paddle sports rentals
- Wally & Gertz concessions; many restaurants and cafes in downtown St. Joseph
- Public restrooms
- Lifeguards during the summer
- Light brown sand