Crowded beaches can be fun – until you take a frisbee to the noggin. Sometimes it's the lesser-known beaches, the quiet pockets of nature that not many people know about, that can provide the lift you're looking for.
Katie Stepp, marketing manager for the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, is someone that knows a lot about the region and especially good beaches. We asked her if we could share some of her favorite Thumb Coast spots and, lucky for us, she agreed.
Here's a list of seven beaches that you may or may not have known about, perfect for a quiet day in the sun and sand – with photos and captions from Katie Stepp.
Ballentine is on Ballentine Street in a residential neighborhood of Port Huron. This small, private-feeling beach area is the closest to Downtown Port Huron and still boasts incredible views of passing freighters heading in and out of the St. Clair River, south of the beach. The proximity from street parking to open water is about 100 ft., making it an easy drop-in spot for paddle sports.
Kraft Road Beach
Kraft Road Beach has an adventure built into it: Getting to the beach this year requires a short trek through an ankle deep puddle between the grassy park area and Lake Huron. On a hot day it's a nice cool down mid-walk. This access point is only a few hundred feet north of where the Black River Canal meets Lake Huron. This canal feels very tropical with birds chirping and gorgeous Caribbean-like blue waters that are great for paddle sports.
Keewahdin Beach is unofficially the world's tiniest beach this year. If you aren't into the leg exercise involved with carrying beach gear in the sand, this is the beach for you. It's no-nonsense, quick-dip kind of beaching. Located in Fort Gratiot Twp. just a few miles from Downtown Port Huron.
Lakeport State Park
Lakeport State Park Day Use Area beach is not uncommon for some visitors but have you taken the mystery path at the north end of the park? Follow the short dirt path with the blue horizon and you'll find a secluded section of public beach echoing the sound of waves against the dense treeline. Being on the sunrise side of Michigan's coast, you'll mostly only get morning sun in this location. The day use area is south of Lakeport Campground about 1.3 miles, where you see the footbridge going over M25.
Burtchville Township Park
Burtchville Twp. Park beach area has plenty of parking, a close playground, and little walking on fairly flat terrain from the lot to the water's edge. This is a great spot to launch paddle sports with usually calmer waters and plenty of beach glass hunting on the shore. Located off Harris Rd. and 13 miles north of Port Huron.
Forester Park Campground
Forester Park Campground has a public day-use area that is not just for campers, but not many people know about it. The beach has a great playground close to the water with a nice viewing deck platform overlooking Lake Huron. To get down to the beach there are a few steps but plenty of sandy areas to sprawl out and safely distance from others this year. Located on N. Lakeshore Rd. in Carsonville, 39 miles north of Port Huron.
Forestville/Stephens Park is an MDOT roadside park 53 miles north of Port Huron off Cedar Avenue. The Village of Forestville has a population of 127 (2019 US Census) making it a quiet up-north park starting at the top of a steep bank with expansive views. There is parking at the top for those looking to exercise before hitting the beach or park down at the beach for a laid back day.
For a map of these beaches and more, visit the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau online.