Finding a great beach getaway in the Midwest is not impossible, you just have to know all the best spots and be willing to drive. The Midwest is blessed with miles and miles of beach, some of it sandy and other parts forested, but there is a lot of it that is open to the public and protected by state park status. The Great Lakes area of the Midwest give you the chance to take a beach getaway to the Lake for a day, weekend or the entire summer, and the small towns, access to wildlife and time spent on the water are all part of the deal.
Check out these top 5 Midwest beach getaways that are worth a visit from spring through fall, and even in the winter when the Lakes have frozen over. We even shared a perfect vacation rental for each location.
The Indiana Dunes region includes the lake towns of Hebron and Chesterton, Indiana, along with 15 miles of sandy beaches that are part of the National Parks system. A getaway to Indiana Dunes can be done in any one of the hotels, resorts or private lake rentals, but the best way to getaway is to pack a tent and camp out at the beach. Named for the very tall sand dunes that line the southern portion of Lake Michigan, the park system welcomes guests and campers to bike, hike, boat and sunbathe in several different areas of this pristine park. Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, head to town for casual dining options, Kouts is great neighborhood for farm to table options, or stroll through the art-infused town of Chesterton.
Saugatuck, Michigan is often referred to as one of the Midwest beach towns that time forgot, even though it does tend to fill up with guests and tourists during the summer months. Still, it never feels crowded or touristy, there is enough small town, lakeshore charm to keep Saugatuck quaint. Oval Beach, the towns popular, public beach has actually been rated nationally as one of the best beaches in the country, and its easy to see why once you spread out in the sand and take in the view. The biggest draw for most though, and definitely a must-do during your getaway, is the water and the marinas full of boats. Charter a boat for a day from any of the many rental companies and head out on the lake for a day of sun, water and relaxation.
Door County, Wisconsin includes over three hundred miles of shoreline, most of it secluded and pristine. Spread out over five state parks, the entire county is centered around the natural beauty and preservation of the area. No matter what type of getaway you have in mind, from luxury to rustic, you can find it in Door County. Every season has something to offer, but the summer months are the best for hitting the beaches, some of which are only accessed via boat or a long hike. The best way to spend a getaway here is to pack a day bag and make your way to any one of the more secluded beaches for the day.
Duluth, Minnesota is home to the world’s longest freshwater sandbar and it sits near the quiet town of Duluth where one can just get away from it all. Almost seven miles of sand spread out for your enjoyment, and all of it is public, and there are dedicated recreation areas for guests and locals to enjoy. Planning a getaway here requires a stay in a hotel or other rented accommodations, which are plentiful and you can easily walk over from place to place or stroll down the beach just like the locals do every day.
The national Cherry Festival is what Traverse City, Michigan is known for, but during the rest of the year it makes a pretty great beach getaway too. Beach in one of the popular city beaches, or head out to find something that offers a little more solitude further out of town. Traverse City is not as small or secluded as some of the other beach getaways on this list, but it also offers a vibrant community and entertainment options for any taste. Sunbathe, climb dune, bike along Lake Michigan and then head out to the Casino in the evening or dine in a casual or elegant restaurant. Even if you can’t make the Cherry Festival, summer here is filled with festivals to celebrate and get together.