Lord Howe Island, Australia. Ibo Island, Mozambique. Koh Lanta, Thailand. And Grand Haven, Michigan?
Yes, Grand Haven, Michigan! Travel + Leisure magazine named it alongside these other global destinations as one of the best secret beaches on earth. "Trolley cars, a 2.5-mile harbor-front boardwalk and two 19th-century lighthouses give a sweet, old-time feel to this Lake Michigan town," the magazine says. "There are warm shallows for swimming and the soft sand of two public beaches squeaks when you walk on it."
Noteworthy attractions and events in Grand Haven include:
Grand Haven State Park. Includes a beautiful sandy beach plus 174 modern campsites.
Grand Haven City Beach. Nestled between Grand Haven State Park and The Bil-Mar, a beachfront restaurant.
Grand Haven Lighthouse. This 51-foot tall, fire engine-red lighthouse is situated on a walkable pier in Grand Haven State Park.
Rosy Mound Natural Area. This classic Great Lakes dune system includes 1,000 feet of stairs between the high wooded dunes and the beach.
Boating. The most chartered port on Lake Michigan offers charter boat services for shipwreck dives, scenic excursions, cruises and tours, and lots of lots of fishing. Plenty of public boat launches, too.
Shopping and Dining. Historic downtown Grand Haven offers an eclectic variety of boutiques and restaurants, just steps from the beach and boardwalk.
Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. Every summer, the lakeshore community of Grand Haven pays tribute to the men and women of the USCG with a week of fun, fireworks, celebration and tradition.
Salmon Festival. Annual waterfront festival features a gourmet salmon cook-off contest, live music, wine tasting and much more. Sept. 2015.