Dozens of beaches dot Front Street/State Highway 37 along Traverse Bay, most of them clean, safe and accessible. Clinch Park seems the nicest and biggest option, and it's certainly the most popular. More than 1,500 feet of sandy shoreline means plenty of room to spread out, and lifeguards, restrooms, grills, a snack shop, a marina, watercraft rentals and active miniature steam train make it a family-friendly destination. The walkable area also connects to a beachfront trail and straight to downtown shops and restaurants.
For a quieter, less-populated scene, West End Beach and Bryant Park Beach are both good choices. (Just be aware, there are no lifeguards on duty at West End.) Bryant Park includes a large playground for the kids and picnic tables shaded by tall pines. As the easternmost beach in Traverse City, it’s also a spectacular spot to view sunsets.
Young adults might want to put the new West End Beach Volleyball Beach on their radar; it sits where a handful of waterfront buildings were removed a few years ago. The courts are easily accessible from the walking path. Though a great spot for sports enthusiasts, but there isn't much for younger kids to do.