The Great Lakes region of the US is home to some of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. With all of this shoreline, there are bound to be some fantastic sunsets in the area. This article highlights the best sunset spots in Michigan and around the rest of the US shores of the Great Lakes, too.
We’ve visited so many spots that claimed to have stunning sunsets. While some lived up to the hype, others were disappointing to say the least. We hope to provide you with the best of the best!
There is so much natural beauty and plenty of exciting attractions scattered around the state of Michigan and the rest of the region. From the shores of the Great Lakes to the forests of the Upper Peninsula, there’s something for everyone.
Here are just a few of the best sunsets you’ll find on a trip around this amazing region.
Best Sunset Spots in Michigan
How do you choose a favorite spot when so much of the state borders water facing west? There are even a few great spots more inland, with views of sunsets over rolling hills, city skylines, and inland lakes. There is so much variety in Michigan that you are sure to find a view to suit any taste.
Lake Superior Sunsets
Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and is home to a stunning shoreline. With that comes beautifully painted skies.
Miner’s Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Miner’s Beach is one of the best sunset spots in Michigan. Located in the heart of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Miner’s Beach has a view of the sunset over both Lake Superior and Grand Island in the distance.
Alternatively, head up to the Miner’s Castle Overlooks for a different perspective. There are so many beautiful spots in Pictured Rocks, but Miner’s Beach is a spot where you could spend an entire day.
You won’t want to miss the colorful show that is the sunset here.
McLain State Park on the Keweenaw Peninsula
A small park with a rocky little beach, this park is a hidden gem that can be found in the northernmost region of Michigan.
The Keweenaw Peninsula was historically the site of the first US mining sites for copper. Today, McLain State Park is one of the most beautiful sunset spots on Lake Superior.
This area certainly requires a little more effort to reach. 8 to 9 hours of driving separate this area from many of the major cities in the lower peninsula.
Madeline Island, Wisconsin
Although this spot is not in Michigan, it is still relatively close! Michigan doesn’t have all the stunning Lake Superior sunsets.
About 2 hours from the state line in the UP, you’ll find this gem! Look back towards the mainland and Bayfield as the sun sets over the bay in Lake Superior.
Ride a bicycle around the beautiful island and finish with a gorgeous sunset.
Sunsets on Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake located entirely within the US. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful sunset spots in Michigan.
The shores of Lake Michigan are dotted with beaches, parks, and lighthouses perfect for sunset viewing. Some spots offer views of skylines while others look directly west over the vastness of the lake itself as it reflects shades of orange and pink into your eyes before disappearing below the horizon. Use these spots as inspiration!
Sleeping Bear Dunes
You’ll have a difficult time finding a bad spot to view a sunset in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The tall sand dunes, low beaches, and everywhere in between faces the gorgeous blue Lake Michigan.
Drive to one of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive viewpoints, hike Empire Bluff or Sleeping Bear Point, or stop at Empire Beach. You won’t regret this stop.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington
Maybe sometimes you just want a visual element to make sunset photos more intriguing.
This lighthouse in Ludington certainly provides an extra flair to the view. There is a small beach near the lighthouse area, and a path leads around to a boardwalk jutting out over Lake Michigan.
Watch boats sail away as the sunset reflects off the water in beautiful colors.
Warren Dunes State Park
This state park near the very southwest corner of Michigan has stunningly unique features. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the Chicago skyline popping up in the distance over Lake Michigan.
At certain times of the year when the air temperature above is cooler than that near the lake, an optical phenomenon known as a mirage occurs. What you’ll see is that the buildings appear to be inverted above themselves.
Combining this view with colorful evening views makes it both a beautiful and unique spot to watch the sunset in Michigan.
Lake Huron’s Sunsets
There aren’t many options to watch sunsets over Lake Huron that are within the US. You’ll have to head out to one of the islands to be able to face west in most cases, as the vast majority of the Huron lakeshore in Michigan is facing towards the east on the mitten.
The Canadian shores have some of the best sunset viewing locations on Lake Huron.
With that being said, there are still a couple of Michigan sunset spots on Lake Huron.
Sleeper State Park
Near the tip of the thumb of the mitten, about 2.5 hours north of Detroit, sits this bayfront state park with an old dune forest.
Hike through the wooded area and end the day at the lake’s shore for the colorful show. Stay late and enjoy the dark night sky and its stargazing opportunities all night.
There is a wooded campground here to stay and enjoy all of these views.
Caseville County Park
Just about 5 miles down the road from Sleeper State Park, you’ll find the beautiful small town of Caseville.
The county park just extends the small-town feel with a fantastic little beach.
Enjoy this Michigan sunset over some food at the beachfront grill or near the pier extending out into Lake Huron.
Sunset Rock, Mackinac Island
Take the ferry over to Mackinac Island and take advantage of the views of the mighty bridge behind.
The Mackinac Bridge connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, so you either need to cross it or head around the lake to get to the UP. As you’re traveling by, stop and enjoy the views. Mackinac Island is quite unique in that there are no cars here.
Head over to the island’s west side at the end of the day and watch a summer sunset behind the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere.
Best Sunset Spots in Michigan’s Inland
With so much shoreline in Michigan, it’s easy to forget about some of the sunset views inland.
However, there are some great spots here to take advantage of the sunset too!
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness
The largest state park in Michigan, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness has around 60,000 acres of terrain to explore.
Head up to the areas overlooking Lake of the Clouds on the east. These spots create some of the most stunning sunset spots in Michigan. The lake, the forested land, and the mountainous terrain combine for fantastic spots.
This one will require a little more effort to reach, but it will certainly be worth it.
Back over on the Keweenaw Peninsula, you’ll find Brockway Mountain.
Here, you can drive up toward the top, and there are multiple pull-offs where you can stop and take in the views. Some include places where you can see out over Copper Harbour to the north.
The best sunset views are from the top, though. There are hiking paths, too, but you can just drive your vehicle to the top and park along the road near sunset.
Sunset Point, Belle Isle Park
If you’re looking for a Michigan sunset with the Detroit skyline silhouette in the view, this is your spot!
Belle Isle is out in the middle of the Detroit River, and Sunset Point provides the perfect view to watch as the colors set behind the city. Pack some snacks or a picnic, and enjoy the big city sunset!
Although some of the other island sunset views we’ve mentioned require a ferry ride to reach, you will be able to drive to this one. Just head out over the MacArthur Bridge
Best Sunset Spots on Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the five Great Lakes in North America, and it borders New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
The lake is shared by Canada and the United States, which each have a coastline along its southern shoreline.
There are plenty of spots to watch beautiful sunsets over Lake Erie, but these are a couple of great ones.
Presque Isle State Park
Located in Erie, PA, Presque Isle State Park is popular with both locals and weekend visitors.
The park is home to the only wave action beaches in the state of Pennsylvania, and there is so much room to explore. The beaches provide some of the best sunset spots around the Great Lakes.
Spend the day biking, kayaking, or jogging around the peninsula, but don’t leave before the sunset paints the sky!
South Bass Island
You may not really recognize the name of this island, but it’s fairly well-known as a weekend party destination in the summer.
People from around the region head to Put-in-Bay for their summer getaway.
There are a few sunset spots around the island, including the top of the Miller Ferry and South Bass Island State Park, where you can watch a sunset over Lake Erie.
Best Lake Ontario Sunset Spots
Although Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes, there are lots of spots to enjoy a sunset along the shores. These are a couple of local favorites.
Fair Haven Beach
Between Rochester and Syracuse, this little white sand beach is a hidden gem.
Because Lake Ontario is smaller in size, the water warms up in the summer much more quickly than the larger counterparts like Lake Superior.
Enjoy the summer sun in the warmer waters and stay for the colorful sunset over the treeline on the edge of the bay in the distance.
Selkirk Shores State Park
Less than an hour north of Syracuse, this state park has beautiful bluffs to sit and catch a sunset.
There are also camping and hiking trails to enjoy, so you can spend the day exploring and finish off with sunset at the top of a bluff.
The hiking trails and camping areas are well maintained and a great place to explore before ending the day with a Lake Ontario sunset.
Every state has its own unique and beautiful sunsets.
Michigan is no exception, with many beautiful spots to catch a glimpse of the sunset over the Great Lakes.
Which of these sunset spots in Michigan and around the Great Lakes are you most looking forward to checking out next?