Best Beach Getaway: Traverse City, Michigan
There’s no shortage of nice beaches near Chicago. Then again, there are no beaches quite like the absolutely stunning Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Yet one of the most gorgeous locations in the Midwest -- complete with 35 miles of scenic coastline, forests, dunes, bluffs and plenty of massive mounds of sand to roll around in -- is not alone when it comes to eye-popping beach hopping near the charming resort town of Traverse City, located at Michigan’s northern tip. From the popular Clinch Park and Bryant Park beaches to the more remote Haserot and North Bar Lake beaches, stunning views of the Grand Traverse Bay await from a number of locations in town. You’re also within a stones throw of the coastal M-22, one of the most scenic drives in America.
If you find yourself having Wrigley withdrawal, spread out a blanket in the friendly confines of the outfield berm at Pit Spitters Park (formerly Wuerfel Park), home of recently rebranded independent baseball club the Traverse City Pit Spitters. You’ll also find Willy Wonka-approved chocolate vodka at Grand Traverse Distillery as well as one of the finest chef-focused restaurants in the Midwest at The Cooks’ House. In the words of Poison, Traverse City ain't nothin' but a good time.
Distance by car: Five hours