Dr. Beach named Sleeping Bear Dunes as his number one pick in last year's list of Five Great Great Lakes Beaches. Sleeping Bear Dunes is actually a National Lakeshore, and is protected by the National Parks System.
You can hike the many dunes, or run up and down the Dune Climb, which offers a view of Glen Lake. Or, drive the seven-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive loop to cover the most ground in a short amount of time.
Be warned that the endless sand and lack of any natural markers can make people disoriented on the dunes, so always explore in a group and be sure to bring a map, compass, and lots of water.
Where is it? On the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan. Fly to Michigan's Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (check prices).
Where to Stay? At the extremely charming Sleeping Bear Bed and Breakfast.
What Else Should I Know? Entrance costs $5 per person or $10 per vehicle, unless you visit on one of the National Park Services' fee-free days.
Who's it For? Swimmers who fear the ocean!
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(Photo: Shutterstock/Benjamin Simeneta)