The charming coastal towns that surround the Great Lakes may be some of the most underrated beach destinations in the U.S. Because of the variety of locations that these bodies of water stretch across the activities range from the best outdoor adventures to great drinks and beautiful sunsets. We explore the most stunning areas and their exciting activities.

Two Harbors, Minnesota

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Geoffrey Kuchera

Settled on Lake Superior’s north shore, Two Harbors is a quaint coastal town with enchanting views. The Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the most photographed areas on the Great Lakes, and for good reason, the sight of it is majestic. Visit the Superior Hiking Trail that runs adjacent to the lake for an outdoor adventure and beautiful sites of the winding hills.

Grand Marais, Michigan

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KLJ Nature Photos

Grand Marais enters into Lake Superior’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The area is is a mixture of inlets, sand dunes, forest and beach. Hike up to Log Slide Overlook for the best views of this freshwater body of water.

Hart, Michigan

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Caitlin Tyner Photography

Silver Lake Sand Dunes are the main attraction in Hart. The dunes line the coast of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake. Visitors can explore the water or rent dune buggies for an exciting ride. This area is kid friendly and boast some of the best views Lake Michigan has to offer.

Petoskey, Michigan

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Soft maritime vibes

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Take a ride down the rapids at Bear River Valley or stroll through the Historic Gaslight District. The Petoskey Area offers an amazing vacation escape along with beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The claim to fame is both Petoskey as Ernest Hemingway’s summer home as well as Petoskey stones, fossilized corral only found in Northern Michigan.

Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario

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Love 😀

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Sitting at the cusp of Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-lake is known for wineries, beautiful sunsets and the nearby Niagara Falls. The town has a historic style that makes for an even better day touring wineries. Another big hit with tourists is the Shaw Festival, the show that hosts award-winning theater from April-November.

St. Joseph, Michigan

This south Michigan beach town has cute cafes, shops and amazing views of Lake Michigan. Downtown St. Joseph has winery tasting rooms and a lovely carousel. Silver Beach is the best place to get some sun in the quaint city. Lastly, the sunset is best watched from the lighthouse area at Tiscornia Park.

Rogers City, Michigan

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#rogerscitymi #seagullpointsunsets#puremichigan

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Forty-mile point lighthouse and Ocqueoc Falls are the two prominent points in Rogers City. The setting of the lighthouse on Lake Huron is an old-time style with beach trails around the estate. There are also remains of a shipwreck from __ on the beach, this area gives visitors a taste of Michigan history. The Ocqueoc Falls are not large, but they are fun to basque to cool off. The views of the falls are picture perfect as well.

Sackets Harbor, New York

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Pre-fireworks Harbor

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On the coast of Lake Ontario, Sackets Harbor holds the history of the War of 1812. The town has craft breweries and 200-year-old buildings along with its beautiful lake view. this is the place to go for a relaxing getaway with a touch of history.

Lakeside, Ohio

This historic community backs up to Lake Erie. 19th century summer cottages center the town adding a whimsical experience. Check out the live music scene as well as author readings throughout the town.

What is your favorite Great Lakes view? Let us know on Gone Beachin’.

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  1. Jen

    Sleeping Bear Dunes allow for some amazing views. The tallest dunes on Lake Michigan let you get an entirely different perspective!