Enjoying the Good Life

Lake Superior beach near Marquette
Natural Habitat: My son the human pogo stick is bouncing as the sun sets over a Lake Superior beach near Marquette, Michigan. Photography by Aaron Peterson.

“A simple life is good with me. I don’t need a whole lot. For me, a T-shirt, a pair of shorts, barefoot on a beach and I’m happy.”
— Yanni, Greek composer/musician

Lake Michigan pier at Grand Haven
Sunset Pier: Beachgoers often enjoy the sunset on the Lake Michigan pier at Grand Haven. Photography by Johnny Quirin.

What is it about Michigan beaches that draw us to them? Is it the feel of warm sand between our toes, the reassuring sound of waves washing up the shoreline, the quiet of wide and open spaces, the cries of soaring seagulls, and the fresh breeze on our faces?

Beaches are temples for some, a place to relax and reflect in peace. They provide the perfect diversion for others, a long-awaited getaway with family and friends, a needed change of environment, a break from routines, a place to let their hair down, to bask in the sun.

Oval beach in Saugatuck
Riding Waves: Michael Henneberry enjoys skimboarding thrills as the waves kick up at Oval beach in Saugatuck. Photography by Johnny Quirin.

“I think no matter how crowded, they provide an escape from our everyday world,” muses Sally Laukitis, executive director for Holland Visitors Bureau and a founding member of Michigan Beachtowns (beachtowns.org), a coalition of West Michigan shoreline communities from St. Joseph north to Silver Lake Sand Dunes at Hart. “People dress differently. They splash in the water and don’t wear shoes. Whether they are 5 years old or 75 years old, all their cares go away.”

Sun, sand and water; it’s always a pleasure. And Michiganders have plenty to enjoy. With 3,288 miles of shoreline, Michigan has more freshwater coastline than any state in the nation. Sandy beaches stretch for hundreds of miles along lakes Michigan and Huron. There are delightful beaches on Lake Erie and dramatic beaches on the Lake Superior coast.

For beach lovers, Michigan is a treasure. In summer, they beckon. And we go, leaving cares behind. In this issue of BLUE, we celebrate Michigan beaches, the quiet remote places and those that draw crowds. There is little that beats their remarkable capacity to make people smile.

Grand Haven lighthouse
Full Sail: Summer visitors on the Grand Haven pier have a close encounter with a sailboat going by the Grand Haven lighthouse. Photography by Johnny Quirin.
AuTrain Beach
Quiet Evening at AuTrain Beach: Even during the height of beach season, solitude can be found for those willing to explore the early and late hours of the day. Photography by Aaron Peterson.
Beach at Grand Haven
Gold Coast: Sunbathers, swimmers and boaters enjoy the beach at Grand Haven. Photography by Michael Buck.
Holland State Park
The Freighter: Holland State Park beachgoers are treated to the sight of a large outbound freighter heading into the fog on Lake Michigan. Photography courtesy Holland CVB/ The Holland Sentinel.
Holland’s “Big Red” lighthouse
Sail Away Sunset: Leaving Holland’s “Big Red” lighthouse behind, sailors head out on Lake Michigan to enjoy the pastel hues of the sunset. Photography courtesy Holland CVB/Carolyn Stich.
Beach Traditions: This Lake Michigan beach
Beach Traditions: This Lake Michigan beach area allows fires, and there is no better way to connect with friends than by sitting around a small campfire. Photography by Aaron Peterson.

Howard Meyerson is the managing editor of Michigan BLUE Magazine.

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