“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
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.
“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.
Howard Meyerson is the managing editor of Michigan BLUE Magazine.