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Traverse City makes National Geographic's Best Summer Trips

Traverse City, Michigan

Photograph by Carlos Osorio, AP

Traverse City is the biggest little beach town on the “Third Coast”—the U.S. shores of the eight-state Great Lakes coastline. The region’s 180 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline basically trace the upper left edge of Michigan’s “mitten.” Add another 149 inland lakes that are 10 acres or larger and you get a rambling Cape Cod-on-freshwater summer playground: quaint port villages, sandy beaches, historic lighthouses, rolling orchards, family-friendly festivals (including the National Cherry Festival, July 7-14), and summer-only Traverse City Beach Bums pro baseball games (team members bunk with local families). Head northwest from Cherry Capital Airport to the Leelanau Peninsula and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (pictured here). Michigan’s monumental sandbox is best known for its 150-foot Dune Climb (or roll), but there’s also 35 miles of pristine Lake Michigan beach. Take the 7.4-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive loop in time to watch the sunset from Lake Michigan Overlook observation deck, perched 450 feet above the water.

>> Check out our Family Trip: Lake Michigan Dunes

Photo: Tourists climb sand dunes.

Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 8:50 PM by Jon Becker
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