When I decided to do a series of posts about the photos in my header, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with this photo. With every other photo, I’ve told you about how you can experience that destination yourself. This one’s a little tougher because it was taken at a relative’s house. Unless Uncle Ray starts renting rooms, you are not going to be able to take a picture of your kids sitting on this wall looking at the boats on Lake Erie. So, I’m going to expand the subject of this post to beaches on the Great Lakes. After all, the message I want to convey is that it isn’t just the coasts that have great beaches and water activities; don’t forget about the Great Lakes and other lakes in the interior of the country.
I’ll start with the public beach that is closest to where my photo was taken, Sterling State Park in Monroe, Michigan. When most of us think about lakes that create the border of Michigan, we probably think of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, or even Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula. But there is a small stretch of Michigan between Detroit and Toledo that is on Lake Erie, and Sterling is the only Michigan state park on that stretch. I haven’t been there myself, but the reviews I’ve read sound good. Sterling has over one mile of beach and plenty of amenities for families: a playground, picnic area, camping, biking, fishing, hiking, and more.
As I mentioned, Michigan is surrounded by lakes, so there are plenty more beaches to discover. In fact, Michigan has over 3200 miles of shoreline. Today I’m looking to my fellow family travel bloggers and friends to help us uncover some future beach vacation ideas. All of the beaches recommended to me are on Lake Michigan. We’re going to start at the southern end of Lake Michigan and head northward.
Indiana Dunes State Park, Chesterton, IN - I’ve wanted to go there for years, but haven’t made it yet. Who would expect to see sand dunes in Indiana? Fortunately, Nicole at Arrows Sent Forth has been there and blogged about it. I think my kids would love to hike on the dunes.
South Haven, MI – Another beautiful beach. Nicole at Arrows Sent Forth went in November and it was gorgeous at a time of year when most of us wouldn’t think about going to a beach in Michigan.
Jessie also made a great list of her Five Favorite Places for Kids on Michigan’s Sunset Coast. Saugatuck was #1. Here are the rest:
Grand Haven, MI
Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI
Traverse City, MI
I also found a website that ranks beaches using criteria such as water quality, sand quality, safety, and services. Check out Dr. Beach’s list of 5 Great Great Lakes Beaches. Sleeping Bear Dunes is #1 and Grand Haven was an honorable mention.
My friends, Mark and Carol Jones, spent a very relaxing vacation in Petoskey, MI, the northernmost beach on today’s tour. Petoskey sits on Little Traverse Bay, which opens up to Lake Michigan. Carol particularly enjoyed the paved bike and walking trail that ran along the bay. They could ride their bikes to the marina and the ice cream shop instead of driving. They also enjoyed exploring the marina and watching the boats go in and out of the bay. Mark also happens to be a ridiculously talented photographer and has granted me permission to post some of his pictures. You can check out more of Mark’s work on his website: Mark Jones Photography. Here is their daughter playing on the beach:
And I can’t think of a more perfect way to end this post than with some of Mark’s gorgeous photos that show you why the west side of Michigan is called the Sunset Coast.
Update: Julie from Road Trips for Families contributed a link to the Top 5 Beaches for Skipping Stones in Door County, Wisconsin.
What Great Lakes beaches are your favorites?
Looking for more beaches? Check out Alabama – Seashells by the Seashore