Good Harbor Beach 651

A white-tipped turquoise wave rolls on a golden sand beach
Beautiful Good Harbor beach.

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Quick Facts

Beach/Water Access, Entrance Passes For Sale, Information Kiosk/Bulletin Board, Parking - Auto, Picnic Table, Toilet - Vault/Composting, Wheelchair Accessible

Good Harbor Beach features wonderful sunset views on Good Harbor Bay. To the west, you can see Pyramid Point and to the north, the Whaleback and North Manitou Island. If you are there on a clear day, the Fox Islands may even be visible.

Leashed pets are allowed to the right of CR 651 when facing the water.
NO pets are allowed to the left of CR 651.

Good Harbor Beach is located in the northern part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Lake Michigan end of County Road 651. Going north from Glen Arbor, turn left onto CR-651.

Parking is available in the lot and along the roadside. The beach is 125 feet from the parking area providing carry-in access for your kayaks and paddle boards.

Village of Good Harbor

You may have noticed a few pilings near the shore. These relics are the only evidence of the historic village of Good Harbor. The village was started in the mid-1870s when a man named Vine built a small sawmill and dock. After 1900, the supply of timber gradually decreased and in 1905 the mill and about 1,000,000 feet of lumber in the yard burned. The mill wasn't rebuilt and most of the villagers moved away. The post office closed in 1907. In 1924, John Peters bought most of the remaining buildings including the barn, hotel, stores, a dwelling, and the blacksmith shop for $475. He and his sons tore the buildings down and sold the lumber.

Is this a shipwreck?

Many boats and ships have been lost in the sometimes treacherous waters of the Manitou Passage-the water trail between the mainland and Manitou Islands. The same natural forces of wind and waves that caused most of the wrecks can quickly uncover a wreck site that has been buried in the sand for over a hundred years. The site may remain visible for weeks or only a few days.
Did you find a shipwreck? Read more about identifying a shipwreck in the Beach FAQs section of the app.

Enjoy the Beach Safely

**Poison Ivy: leaves of three, leave it be!**
Poison ivy grows plentifully in many areas of the Lakeshore as a vine or low shrub. The leaves are red in early spring, shiny green in summer, and an attractive red or orange in the fall. Each leaf consists of three leaflets. Most people are sensitive in varying degrees to the sap of this plant, which makes the skin itch, blister, and swell.
Avoid contact with all parts of the plant. Avoid plants with three leaflets.
If exposed, wash the affected skin with soap and water as soon as possible.

Beach fires
Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over glowing coals while watching the sun go down over the lake is a perfect ending to a fun day at the beach. Beach fire are allowed on our mainland Lake Michigan beaches between the water's edge and where the dunes begin, and away from any vegetation. Make sure you use firewood from park approved vendors to help us protect our forests from pest and disease. And be sure to extinguish all beach fires with water. DO NOT bury fires-hidden embers could burn unsuspecting bare feet!

Take care around plover nesting area
Keep a watchful eye out for a tiny animal friend, the piping plover, a threatened species that breeds here in the spring. Piping plovers find the cobbled beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes an ideal place to find mates, nest, and raise their young. To protect the plovers and their nests, some parts of the beach may be temporarily closed to visitors and pets. Please help us protect these special birds by keeping dogs on a leash and obeying all beach closure signs.

Step around the Pitcher's thistle
Pitcher's thistle (Cirsium pitcher) blooms only once when the plant is seven years old. This native thistle grows only on the shorelines or sand dunes of the Great Lakes and is common in the Lakeshore. It is a threatened species: it is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

Walking through foredunes on your way to the beach may trample and kill these plants before they can reproduce. So please watch out for the Pitcher's thistle: stay on the wooden walkways and established trails.

Swim safe
The Lakeshore's pristine beaches are ideal for swimming, but forceful waves and rip currents can turn a fun visit into a frightening one. Use caution when swimming alone and take special precautions with children: keep a close watch on all children, stay within arm's reach, and be sure they are wearing a life jacket.

Be alert for rip currents
Although they are not common in the Lakeshore, rip currents are dangerous and can occur at any beach with breaking waves.
Lake Michigan conditions can change quickly. Know what to expect before you go in the water. Monitor the weather and check out the swim risk level for the beach you plan to visit. Read more in Safety.

Paddle safe
Before going out for a paddle, check the weather. Have a boating plan and make sure others know it. Always wear safety gear, including personal flotation devices. Buddy up, don't go out alone. Check your boat and make sure it is safe for conditions. And always keep the shoreline in sight.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Last updated: November 7, 2021