Haute Top 5: Best Beach Getaways Around Chicago

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There are few assets more prized to Chicagoans than the miles of public beachfront at our collective doorstep come summer. But, there’s also something to be said for beaches in the idyllic sense: ones with rolling dunes and not a skyline to be seen. If you’re searching for a spot to spend a weekend outside of the city, these beach getaways around Chicago offer beautiful beachfront, plus enough shopping, dining, and lodging options to keep your retreat relaxing, but not a bit boring.

1 Saugatuck, Michigan

Saugatuck is one of the most popular destinations on the Lake Michigan coastline for good reason. It's quaint downtown is packed with New England-style charm, dotted with ice cream shops and art galleries, and surrounded by marinas full of boats. Spend a day on Oval Beach or at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, or head to one of dozens of nearby wineries for a change of pace.

2 Port Washington, Wisconsin

Just over 100 miles north of Chicago sits pristine Port Washington, Wisconsin. Besides the town's two main beaches, North Beach & South Beach (the latter being the smaller of the two), you'll find a vibrant (yet oh-so-charming) Main Street, a weekly farmer's market, fishing charters, paddleboat rentals, and most of everything else that's synonymous with summer.

3 St. Joseph, Michigan

St. Joseph is paradise found for kids and parents alike. Set up shop at Silver Beach in the morning, then head to the adjacent Silver Beach Pizza for lunch before sunburn sets in, Finish it off with an afternoon at the carousel and small-but-entertaining discovery museum across the street. Directly across the river in Benton Harbor you'll find an up-and-coming arts district, quaint cafes, and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

4 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

No list of midwestern beach towns would be complete without one of the regions's most beloved spots: Lake Geneva. While the beaches on this inland lake might not be quite as spectacular as the ones toward the coast, you'll find calmer waters just right for boating, waterskiing, tubing, or simply floating about with a good book. Off the beach, take a stroll along the historic Shore Path for views of the area's antique estates (the area is known as the Newport of the midwest).

5 Michigan City, Indiana

One of Michigan City's biggest draws, of course, is its proximity to the city: It's just 60 miles away. But the faint Chicago skyline, which can be seen from the Michigan City Beach on a clear day, is the only indicator that you're anywhere close to the city. Spend some time on the beach (Indiana Dunes is also nearby), visit a local brewery, or take a drive along the scenic Red Arrow Highway towards the plentiful antique shopping just over the state line in Michigan.