20 beaches that are under a three-hour drive from Detroit

Despite all our rage, we're still just rats in a cage — and we're breaking out, baby. Pale skin? No problem! Hairy legs? Let them breathe! No beach bod? Um, excuse us but aren't all bods beach bods as long as they're at the beach? That's what we thought. Bask and splash at some of these incredible — and incredibly local — beaches and waterfront parks.

Just because some of our restrictions have loosened up state-wide doesn't mean we should overwhelm some of Michigan's most beautiful beaches and hidden natural getaways. Keep in mind that some of these state parks and beachfronts have restricted access to camping, lodging, restrooms, and other amenities. However, state park recreation areas, trails, boating access sites, forests, and other public land remain, well, public. These spots may also have their own staff to better assist you and your family in having the safest possible outing, so feel free to give them a shout (from six feet away, duh) if you're worried.

Other than that, get your feet wet. You, er, we, deserve it

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W. J. Hayes State Park
1 hour, 17 minutes
1220 Wamplers Lake Rd., Onsted; dnr.state.mi.us
Nestled within the gorgeous Irish Hills, Hayes offers visitors more than just a beach. Come for the shore, stay for the wide range of activities and facilities. Recreation passport required.
Photo via W.J. Hayes State Park/Facebook

W. J. Hayes State Park

1 hour, 17 minutes
1220 Wamplers Lake Rd., Onsted; dnr.state.mi.us

Nestled within the gorgeous Irish Hills, Hayes offers visitors more than just a beach. Come for the shore, stay for the wide range of activities and facilities. Recreation passport required.

Photo via W.J. Hayes State Park/Facebook
Rosy Mound Natural Area
2 hours, 57 minutes
13925 Lakeshore Dr., Grand Haven; miottawa.org
Honestly, we kind of feel wrong saying "Rosy Mound" in public, but the beach is so sequestered that it’s bound to feel like a private getaway. 
Photo via Screen Grab/YouTube

Rosy Mound Natural Area

2 hours, 57 minutes
13925 Lakeshore Dr., Grand Haven; miottawa.org

Honestly, we kind of feel wrong saying "Rosy Mound" in public, but the beach is so sequestered that it’s bound to feel like a private getaway.

Photo via Screen Grab/YouTube
Wabasis Lake Park
2 hours, 34 minutes
11220 Springhill Dr., Greenville; kentcountyparks.org
Despite its small size, this Kent County beach is rarely crowded. Not only that, but trips to Wabasis’s 300-foot shoreline are completely free. Feel like turning a day trip into a long weekend? They've got camping, too.
Photo via Wabasis Campground/Facebook

Wabasis Lake Park

2 hours, 34 minutes
11220 Springhill Dr., Greenville; kentcountyparks.org

Despite its small size, this Kent County beach is rarely crowded. Not only that, but trips to Wabasis’s 300-foot shoreline are completely free. Feel like turning a day trip into a long weekend? They've got camping, too.

Photo via Wabasis Campground/Facebook
Kirk Park Beach
3 hours
9197 Lake Shore Dr., West Olive; miottawa.org
Comprised of high bluffs and wooded dunes, Kirk Park is one of the quieter stretches along Lake Michigan. The water appears endless from its scenic shoreline.
Photo via  Screen Grab/YouTube

Kirk Park Beach

3 hours
9197 Lake Shore Dr., West Olive; miottawa.org

Comprised of high bluffs and wooded dunes, Kirk Park is one of the quieter stretches along Lake Michigan. The water appears endless from its scenic shoreline.

Photo via Screen Grab/YouTube
Camp Dearborn
50 minutes
1700 General Motors Rd., Milford; campdearborn.com
Though it’s owned by the city of Dearborn, this 626-acre park is actually located in Milford. It contains several lakes and ponds, along with a half-mile swimming beach. 
Photo via Camp Dearborn/Facebook

Camp Dearborn

50 minutes
1700 General Motors Rd., Milford; campdearborn.com

Though it’s owned by the city of Dearborn, this 626-acre park is actually located in Milford. It contains several lakes and ponds, along with a half-mile swimming beach.

Photo via Camp Dearborn/Facebook
Belle Isle State Park/ 'Hipster Beach’
5-15 minutes
99 Pleasure Dr., Detroit; belleisleconservancy.org
Not only is this low-key spot just minutes away from the city, but it feels like an entirely different world. Plus, it’s free to the public (as long as you have a recreational passport) and dogs are allowed; a total win-win.
Photo via Belle Isle Park/Facebook

Belle Isle State Park/ 'Hipster Beach’

5-15 minutes
99 Pleasure Dr., Detroit; belleisleconservancy.org

Not only is this low-key spot just minutes away from the city, but it feels like an entirely different world. Plus, it’s free to the public (as long as you have a recreational passport) and dogs are allowed; a total win-win.

Photo via Belle Isle Park/Facebook
Kensington Metropark
40 minutes
4570 Huron Valley Pkwy., Milford; metroparks.com
Kensington Metropark’s beach is proof that you don’t have to travel far to escape. If you travel an hour north you'll find yourself in a sleepy, picturesque town of Milford, home to a beautiful 4,481-acre Metropark. Kensington Metropark surrounds Kent Lake and offers abundant wildlife, waterfowl, and wooded hiking areas. In addition to taking in the natural sights, Kensington also offers opportunities for biking, boating, and beachfront fun, as well as a splash zone, golf course, disc golf course, nature and farm center, and plenty of opportunities for a cute little picnic, because who doesn't love a picnic?
Photo via GoogleMaps

Kensington Metropark

40 minutes
4570 Huron Valley Pkwy., Milford; metroparks.com

Kensington Metropark’s beach is proof that you don’t have to travel far to escape. If you travel an hour north you'll find yourself in a sleepy, picturesque town of Milford, home to a beautiful 4,481-acre Metropark. Kensington Metropark surrounds Kent Lake and offers abundant wildlife, waterfowl, and wooded hiking areas. In addition to taking in the natural sights, Kensington also offers opportunities for biking, boating, and beachfront fun, as well as a splash zone, golf course, disc golf course, nature and farm center, and plenty of opportunities for a cute little picnic, because who doesn't love a picnic?

Photo via GoogleMaps
Pinckney State Recreation Area 
1 hour 
Silver Hill Rd., Pinckney; dnr.state.mi.us
At a whopping 11-thousand acres, this one can get a little overwhelming. But once you’ve chosen your preferred lakeshore, you’ll be sure to enjoy the park’s quiet seclusion. Recreation passport required.
Photo via GoogleMaps

Pinckney State Recreation Area

1 hour
Silver Hill Rd., Pinckney; dnr.state.mi.us

At a whopping 11-thousand acres, this one can get a little overwhelming. But once you’ve chosen your preferred lakeshore, you’ll be sure to enjoy the park’s quiet seclusion. Recreation passport required.

Photo via GoogleMaps
Caseville County Park
2 hours, 45 minutes
6400 Main St., Caseville; huroncountyparks
Located on the Saginaw Bay shore, Caseville contains picnic and camping spots, a playground, and swimmer-accessible water. Everything within the park is a mere bike ride or walk away. 
Photo via Huron County Parks/Facebook

Caseville County Park

2 hours, 45 minutes
6400 Main St., Caseville; huroncountyparks

Located on the Saginaw Bay shore, Caseville contains picnic and camping spots, a playground, and swimmer-accessible water. Everything within the park is a mere bike ride or walk away.

Photo via Huron County Parks/Facebook
Weko Beach
3 hours
5301 Lake St., Bridgman; michigan.org
Weko's sunny Lake Michigan shores are impressive, as is the solitude they offer. The park includes dune boardwalks with observation decks, and picnic areas. 
Photo via Weko Beach & Campground/Facebook

Weko Beach

3 hours
5301 Lake St., Bridgman; michigan.org

Weko's sunny Lake Michigan shores are impressive, as is the solitude they offer. The park includes dune boardwalks with observation decks, and picnic areas.

Photo via Weko Beach & Campground/Facebook