If you live or grew up in the Midwest, you know the summer has no shortage of hot and humid days. One of the only respites from the summer’s heat here is a nice swim in the Great Lakes. Luckily, there are plenty of good beaches around to do just that—here are a few of the best Midwest beaches.
Headlands Beach Park – Mentor, Ohio
Located east of Cleveland, Mentor is a popular Cleveland suburb. Headlands Beach Park is a mile-long stretch of natural sand located nearby the Headlands Sand Dunes. Summer bursts alive with swimmers and jet skiers that is when Lake Erie is not over-populated with algae. Lifeguards patrol several areas of the beach and don’t miss walking to the Headland’s seaside lighthouse.
Oak Street Beach – Chicago, Illinois
As the Midwest’s busiest and most bustling city, escaping downtown Chicago is easy since the city was built on Lake Michigan. Oak Street Beach has been operating since 1890 and is near the Gold Coast neighborhood. Locals claim the atmosphere has a tropical feel with its white sand and believe it or not, palm trees dotted along the beach. The Chicago skyline serves as the backdrop and its by far one of the coolest city beaches in the Midwest.
Bradford Beach – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Located on the west side of Lake Michigan, Bradford Beach is Milwaukee’s lakeside gem. After a complete makeover and hours spent revitalizing the seaside, Bradford beach is a popular hangout spot. From volleyball tournaments to sandcastle contests, you can find activities for families as well as beach-junkies. Apparently the vanilla ice cream at North Point Food Stand is out of this world.
North Beach – Racine, Wisconsin
When in Racine, explore the 50 acres of North Beach, just minutes away from the downtown. Crowded during the summer, North Beach puts off a similar Huntington Beach vibe that has everything such as beach volleyball, triathlon tournaments and imported palm trees. The summer is an oasis of entertainment with free music concerts and the Bikes, Boards and Beaches Series. North Beach is Wisconsin’s first Certified Blue Wave clean beach so expect nothing but a sparkling clean beach and boardwalk.
Lake Calhoun Thomas Beach – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Located near the trendy Uptown neighborhood, Lake Calhoun is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Thomas Beach attracts a younger crowd, but don’t let that stop you from exploring this popular vacation spot. Paved walking and biking trails surround the lake and the beach contains designated picnic areas. If you dislike young crowds, head to North Beach. There you’ll find a more mature and tame crowd.
Presque Isle – Erie, Pennsylvania
Presque Isle is Pennsylvania’s only “sea” shore. Situated near Erie, Pennsylvania, it’s easy to find yourself secluded in natures as if you were alone on a remote island. The long and meandering shoreline stretches for 3,200 acres. Here, visitors experience biking, hiking, boating and everything outdoor-related. The beaches are open between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend.