July 2, 2011

'Dr. Beach' picks top 5 Great Lakes beaches

GLEN HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A gentle breeze ripples Lake Michigan's deep blue surface as a gull circles lazily overhead. The sun is bright, the temperature is a comfy 70 degrees and the view of the water and the distant Manitou Islands is spectacular. The beach is wide and sandy — and almost deserted.

Only a couple dozen people are in sight along a half-mile stretch of lakefront in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan's northwestern Lower Peninsula. This is shortly before the July 4 weekend, when tourist season kicks into high gear. About 30 miles away in Traverse City, downtown sidewalks are crowded and the National Cherry Festival, one of the year's biggest draws, is about to begin. Yet beachgoers here in Glen Haven have no trouble staking out a spot all their own.  More

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