Sometimes the best beaches aren’t anywhere near the ocean. Just asks the folks living in the Midwest. Next time you’re heading toward the center of the country on vacation, make sure you pack your bathing suit and sunscreen; you’re still going to need them.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana
In a state primarily known for its seemingly endless rows of cornfields, you might be surprised to stumble upon some of the most pristine beaches in the country. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is home to 25 miles of trails that run along Lake Michigan. It’s also home to many of the state’s unique wildlife that like to relax along the lines of dunes and crystal clear waters.
Peterson Road Beach, Lake Michigan, Michigan
Peterson Road Beach lies tucked away on a gravel road, but it’s becoming increasingly popular among residents of Michigan and Chicago in recent years. On a clear day, you can see and swim all the way to South Manitou Island or simply lie out and relax on the bluffs.
Presque Isle State Park, Lake Erie, Pennsylvania
Presque Isle State Park is the only official seashore in the state of Pennsylvania. The area encompasses 3,200 acres of sand on a peninsula that juts into Lake Erie. It’s home to many of the state’s migratory bird population, but throughout the summer it’s also home to an array of beach activities like swimming, boating, fishing and waterskiing.
Bliss Beach, NevadaBliss Beach isn’t the type of beach you’ll want to take a dip in as the water stays pretty cool year-round, but it is a beautiful place to sit and relax with the family. The sandy shores are located along Lake Tahoe and you can view the snowcapped Sierras in the distance while you bask in the heat. If you’ve got a wetsuit, you might enjoy a scuba session in the lake’s crystal clear waters.
Tenaya Lake East Beach, California
Yosemite is home to some of the country’s most awe-inspiring geography and Tenaya Lake East Beach is no exception. The surrounding wetlands have undergone repairs in recent years due to damage from heavy traffic, but the beach is still covered with pristine sands and you’ll enjoy spending your day nestled among the mountains.
Antelope Island State Park, Utah
Bison, bighorn sheep and antelope all call the area surrounding Antelope Island State Park home, so don’t be surprised to find them there in the waters taking a dip while you soak up the rays on the sands. If the waters bore you, there’s plenty of horseback riding, mountain backing and hiking to keep you occupied. There aren’t any hotels nearby, but there are plenty of camping activities for a true Utah experience.
North Beach, Racine, Wisconsin
Thanks to some serious landscaping efforts, North Beach in Racine looks more at home on the Florida coastline than in Wisconsin. Even so, the miles of clean sand, blue waters and palm trees are only part of the reason North Beach has shown up on Parents magazine’s Top 10 Family Friendly Beaches list. In all, there are 50 acres of sand to lay your towel on and the summer months see weekends full of revelers enjoying live music and volleyball.