The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of fresh water. While you don’t need a large body of water to sit next to in order to sunbathe, it sure can help to complete the ambiance and set the mood for proper tanning. Plus, you can always hop in the water to cool off when the sun’s rays get to be too much. Added fun fact: Detroit is the only area of the United States where you can stand on the shore and look south and actually see Canada. Give it a shot next time you’re on one of these beaches along the Detroit shoreline.
Belle Isle Beach
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 331-7760

Belle Isle Beach has changed in the last few months. Now that the park is state-run after the city’s bankruptcy, more resources have been pouring into the beach area, including a heightened police presence on the island. Along the northwest shore of the island lies a half-mile of some wonderful sand and crisp waters where sunbathers can gather to share the rays and get as crisp as they like, all while looking across the Detroit River at that indescribable city skyline.

William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor
1900 Atwater St.
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 396-0217

With 31 long and beautiful acres of beach and state-owned water facilities, the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is one of only two official Michigan-owned parks set within an urban area. With so much open area and ease of access along the coast, patrons will be sure to find that sunny piece of sand to call their own to catch the sun for hours. Look out south across the water, past Belle Isle, and you’ll notice that Canada is actually south of you. Detroit is the only place in the nation to do this and this area is a great place to take it all in.

Campus Martius Beach
Cadillac Square
800 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-0101

Each summer, the officials who run the Campus Martius Park turn everyone’s favorite inner-city playground into an urban beach experience. Right smack dab in the middle of some of the tallest and oldest skyscrapers in Detroit, park organizers truck in thousands of pounds of sand and beach paraphernalia and give you a sunbathing oasis in the heart of Motown like none other – it really has to be seen to be believed. Maybe you work near Campus Martius and want to use your lunch hour to catch 60 minutes of some personal sun time? Just head to “the beach” and soak up the rays without ever leaving your office park.

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Lake St. Clair Metropark has a long expanse of beach to sunbathe and watch the waters from. (Credit, Michael Ferro)

Lake St. Clair Metropark
31300 Metro Parkway
Harrison Township, MI 48045
(586) 463-4581

If you truly wish to find some private sand for your next sunbathing excursion, try Lake St. Clair’s Metrobeach Park. With over one mile of shoreline and more than 1,000 feet of sandy beaches, you’ll have no trouble finding your own spot to soak up the sun. Annual permits are only $30 and allow you access to all of the park’s features and great activities throughout the summer and fall. There’s a beach shop with concessions and all of your sunbathing needs are located nearby for your convenience.

Stoney Creek Metropark
4300 Main Park Road
Shelby Township, MI 48316
(586) 781-4242

If the large bodies of water along the east coast of Michigan aren’t really your thing, and you crave a more secluded area to sunbathe, perhaps the local-favorite Stoney Creek Metropark is more in tune with your style. This Metropark is all about promoting that “up north” atmosphere, without the long and arduous drives up into the northern country of Michigan. Along with the great wilderness scenery in the park is the 500-acre Stoney Creek Lake, complete with two massive beaches: Baypoint Beach and Eastwood Beach. These two beaches boast a vast and wide area of sand and grassy expanses for sunbathers to do what they love to do without feeling too crowded. Annual permits are $30 and allow complete access to all areas and activities within the park.

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Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at