Grand Marais, Minn.
Nestled on the shore of Lake Superior 40 miles from Canada, Grand Marais may not seem to be an apparent alternative for a seaside trip: The lake is frigid, and the shore is rock-strewn and wild. But what Grand Marais lacks in sand and cabanas, it greater than makes up for with awe-inspiring magnificence — there are few issues as stunning as a glittering Lake Superior dawn, particularly from Artists’ Point. The city is located on the harbor, which supplies the primary entry to the water and features a pebbled shoreline that’s typically full of children skipping stones and blissed-out mother and father watching the waves roll in. Make positive to cease in to Drury Lane Books or the North House Folk School, the place you’ll be able to take courses in something from boat constructing to basket weaving.
Who goes there: The major street into city might be busy on weekends, as crowds flock from the Twin Cities.
Must Eat: For the love of God, go to World’s Best Donuts. PETER GEYE
Sometimes drolly known as the “Iowa Great Lakes,” Okoboji, a resort area made up of a series of lakes and a handful of cities close to the state’s northern border, affords the proper antidote to the “Midwestern work ethic.” The motion is on West Okoboji Lake, the place you’ll be able to stroll previous retailers and eating places, seize a tavern sandwich and onion rings and go to the classic Arnolds Park Amusement Park, full with a wood curler coaster, the Legend, which opened in 1930. The park’s free seaside is small however properly cherished, filled with toddlers, excessive schoolers and grandparents wading, strutting or strolling within the sand. I’ve been returning to Okoboji since I used to be a child, and now I take my very own youngsters right here — there’s a reassuring enjoyment of returning to waters you’ll by no means develop out of.
Who goes there: Farm youngsters, suburban households, boaters and different landlocked Midwesterners from Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota.
Classic memento: Gear emblazoned with the emblem of the (fictional) University of Okoboji.
Must eat: The signature chocolate-dipped, peanut-encrusted ice-cream pop from the Nutty Bar Stand, open since 1945. ANNA BAHNEY
Sister Bay, Wis.
Door County, which juts out into Lake Michigan like a finger, nonetheless retains a powerful vibe of the low-key artists’ retreat that it was within the 1960s, when my grandparents first visited and started a household custom of spending summers there. Sister Bay, on the west aspect of the peninsula, appears like a wholesome mixture of the midcentury and the brand new. The seaside, within the coronary heart of the village, is pocket-size (600 ft of shoreline), with a retro floating dock for diving into the bracing waters of Green Bay. Steps away is a nautical-themed playground, an outside band shell and a wood-fired pizza place, Wild Tomato. Get a pizza margherita to go, a bottle of glowing rosé from the Door County Creamery and have a B.Y.O.B. feast at one of many picnic tables by the water. (This is Wisconsin. Outdoor consuming is totally advantageous.)
Who goes there: Families with younger youngsters driving up from locations like Madison and Chicago; day-trippers from Green Bay; retired locals who can take care of crowds.