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Best Secret Beaches on Earth

Grand Haven, Michigan

Trolley cars, a 2.5-mile harbor-front boardwalk, and two 19th-century red lighthouses give a sweet, old-time feel to this Lake Michigan town. Boaters and fishermen flock here, and hikers like the short-but-strenuous climb to Rosy Mound that includes 1,000 feet of stairs up and down the sand dunes to the shore of Lake Michigan. There are warm shallows for swimming, and the soft sand of two public beaches squeaks when you walk on it. After sunset, the local restaurants, ice cream parlors, and shops come alive. Retire to a Victorian B&B like the 1873 Khardomah Lodge (616-842-2990; doubles from $70), or a rental A-frame or bungalow with your own beachfront, as listed at Lake Michigan Cottages (800-870-3393).

David A. Keeps

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