What Beaches to Visit along Lake Michigan

The eastern shore of Lake Michigan, which stretches from Wisconsin to northern Illinois, contains some of the most beautiful and serene beaches you’ll find in the entire Upper Peninsula, and with this detailed travel guide from Travel + Leisure, you’ll be sure to enjoy miles of uninterrupted white sand beaches to your heart’s content.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, Michigan

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore consists of miles of sandy beaches, lush forests, crystal clear inland lakes, unique flora, unforgettable fauna, and mesmerizing bluffs that tower some 450 feet about Lake Michigan itself. This is truly a place that needs to be seen to be believed. There are more than 60 miles of hiking trails within the park, including several that provide access to some of the most beautiful sights in all of Michigan.

Located on the northeastern shore of Lake Michigan, this National Lakeshore encompasses a total of 71,187 acres of a diverse array of landscapes, including both the North and South Manitou Islands. Both islands, which are accessible by ferry, feature otherworldly sand dune formations, 10 miles of pebble beaches, and a beautiful grove of old-growth white cedars that date as far back as over 500 years ago.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore became the 50th National Park area with a designated Wilderness area in 2014 on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The wilderness area of this National Lakeshore encompasses 32,557 acres that are both open for recreation, but it is also protected forever. The most famous feature of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is undoubtedly its namesake sand dunes, which are among the tallest on Earth. These dunes were formed over thousands of years as the wind blew sand up against the North Country Trail, and they make for an unforgettable sight on your next vacation.

Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer, Michigan

Located only 20 miles away from the Indiana border and acting as one of the most picturesque and peaceful gateways to Southwest Michigan, Warren Dunes State Park is a breathtakingly beautiful state park that offers an abundance of activities for people of all ages, as this State Park has everything from popular hiking trails to relaxing swimming areas.

The massive dunes that are found at this State Park are one of its most engaging attractions, as visitors of the park are often seen climbing up the dunes and sand boarding down their slopes. Outside of the towering sand dunes, the beach at Warren Dunes State Park is one of the other more popular attractions at this park. Additionally, if you love hiking or biking, then you will definitely enjoy exploring some of the hiking trails available, or you can pursue theseveral picnic areas throughout the park where you can sit down with friends and family while enjoying a meal together. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life then Warren Dunes State Park is definitely worth checking out!

 Holland State Park in Holland, Michigan

Simply stated, Holland State Park is the perfect place to spend a day in Michigan this summer, as it’s less than an hour from Ann Arbor, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids, making it an excellent spot for at least a Michigan day trip. The park has so many different activities that it can keep you busy all day long; for instance, you can swim at the beach or rent a canoe or kayak to paddle around the lake. There are also bike trails throughout the park that wind through the woods and along the lakeshore.

One of the greatest attractions at Holland State Park is Tunnel Park, which is a concrete tunnel that literally cuts through a sand dune and provides easy access to Lake Michigan for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking activities.

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US Towns to Visit To Feel Like You’re in Europe

What if you could take a leisure trip to Europe without having to leave the country? Thankfully, this article from CountryLiving provides an overview of 35 American towns that offer European-style attractions and activities for people who want to travel to Europe without traveling internationally. America is home to numerous towns that mimic the European style through their historical architecture, restaurants serving traditional dishes, and unique recreational activities that are sure to satisfy any traveler.

St. Augustine, Florida (Spain)

The historic city of St. Augustine is located in the northern part of Florida, and it’s one of the top tourist destinations in the Sunshine State. St. Augustine is home to historic sites and attractions that reflect its Spanish colonial history,including the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a spectacular fortress that was built in the 1700s and is still standing today. This attraction has been carefully restored, preserving many of its features while adding modern amenities like restrooms and barrier-free access areas, allowing visitors to explore this historic gem with self-guided or history-laden tours with experts.

Vail, Colorado (Switzerland)

At 10,000 feet above sea level, Vail, Colorado is a quaint mountain town that many travelers flock to during the winter season, as it’s home to a wide variety of unique Swiss-inspired architecture. This town, which is home to spectacularresort experiences, five-star dining, and diverse shopping options, is also an architectural mecca for those who appreciate the work of Swiss architects and their work in Zermatt, Switzerland, a town located at the base of the Swiss Alps.

Hermann, Missouri (Germany)

Located in the heart of Missouri wine country and tucked away in the Missouri River Valley is the town of Hermann, Missouri, a German-influenced town that’s rich in culture and history. In the present day, you’ll feel instantly transported to a German town beside the Rhine River when visiting Hermann, and this is because this town was flocked to by German immigrants in 1837 and founded by Hermann Mannheim. The town not only offers architecture that is reminiscent of Germanic buildings, but it also hosts festivals throughout the year that celebrate German heritage like Das Fest and Maifest, offering an authentic taste of Germany without the international travel.

Charleston, South Carolina

Named after King Charles II of England, the city of Charleston, South Carolina is a historic destination with a rich, distinct Southern charm and ever-present English influence. Charleston is a city that is known for its classic architecture that reminds tourists and residents of England due to its colorful, short buildings and Europe inspired streetscapes. From stately churches, such as Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church, to colorful, short buildings such as Leon’s Oyster Shop, both of which are set alongside charming cobblestone avenues, you’ll be instantly reminded of England once walking about Charleston.

Holland, Michigan (Netherlands)

Located in Michigan’s Ottawa County, is Holland, a city famous for being reminiscent of the Netherlands, as it was founded by Dutch settlers in 1847. Known as the “Dutch Capital of North America,” the city of Holland serves as an authentic reminder of the Netherlands with its historic sights such as the Settler’s House Museum, a small family home that has been lived in by a series of working-class families over the course of its long history. After surviving the Great Holland Fire of 1871, the house has been restored to its original Dutch architecture. Other attractions in the city that are potently reminiscent of the Netherlands are the annual Tulip Time Festival, the Nelis’ Dutch Village Theme Park, and the 250,000 tulips and Dutch-style DeZwaan Windmill at the Windmill Island Gardens.

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