Europe North America Travel

3 Unexpected Beach Vacations

Make sure you check out my suggestions to have a super awesome day at the beach, and now let’s explore 3 unexpected beach vacations. Other activities and travel might bring you to these places, but there’s no reason you can’t soak up some rays and hang out for a day at the beach!

Unexpected Beach Vacations

1. Great Lakes Region, USA

I would be remiss without giving the biggest shout-out to my current city and region. GREAT LAKES, yo! There are so many communities dotting the shores of the Great Lakes with great food, festivals, beaches, and people! Seriously, come hang out. It will be cool. From a Nantucket-esque experience with whitefish livers and kayaking in the Apostle Islands National Park in Bayfield, to Summerfest and brewery tours in Milwaukee, to the whitest, sandiest beaches you’ve ever seen in Grand Haven, to seriously remote country in the Upper Penninsula. Oh and yeah, you can go all the way to Toronto and New York State and STILL be in the Great Lakes region!

Bradford Beach, Milwaukee

Bradford Beach on 4th of July

An old IG post taken on July 4th before the crowds emerged!

Beach volleyball, bars, bathrooms, bros. But in the best way. This beach boasts tens of thousands of visitors on hot summer days. It can get really rowdy–not exactly a family atmosphere, but it can be quite fun, if that’s your jam. Bradford is just steps away from all the best Milwaukee has to offer–like Brady St., with eclectic shops, unique bars, and great tapas/small plates dinning (don’t miss La Masa and Balzac, or the patio at The Garage in the summertime. I especially recommend going to Milwaukee for Summerfest–the world’s largest music festival, held every late June into July. It closes down for Independence Day, July 4, so that’s a perfect day to come to the beach! (I’ll probably be there: come say hey!).

Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse city is a neat town in the Great Lakes region. It boasts that it is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States, and due to the maritime climate from Lake Michigan, it is the center of wine production for the Midwest. Since your beach visit probably is happening in the summer, be sure to check out the cherry harvest during the National Cherry Festival which is the first full week of July… but make sure you aren’t giving up any Milwaukee/Summerfest time to be there. Just kidding–all love for the Midwest! Traverse City has multiple beaches to suit your needs, whether you are looking for a family-friendly beach to relax or something more adventurous with hiking and nature. Familes should head to East Bay Park for its shallow water + great amenities: playground, lifeguards, picnic areas, and restrooms.

2.  New York–Coney Island

I thought about looking up the statistic of how many visitors flock to NYC, especially in the summertime, but suffice it to say, there’s a bunch. Maybe you have an extended stay in New York and are looking to cool your jets and spend a day away from the skyscrapers and audio guides? Look no further than the southernmost part of Brooklyn–Coney Island.

Coney Island is easily accessible by train, bus, or car. Be ready to enjoy all that the carnival atmosphere has to offer: skeeball, hot dogs, rollercoasters, oh my! There are fireworks on the beach at 9:30 p.m. every Friday during the summer season, though Coney Island is accessible year ’round. And it is also the birth place of the iconic American hotdog. So you cannot miss that. There are no less than 3 miles of beach for you to take in and enjoy–find a list of businesses and vendors available here: And tag me in a pic on Instagram (@adventureyonder). I’m really curious if the Coney Island Hot Dog is all it has cracked up to be!

3. The Netherlands


More touristy than I usually recommend at Adventure Yonder, but fun nonetheless

I couldn’t round out the list without waving to our friends across the pond. I have had some wonderful experiences in The Netherlands learning about their intimate relationship with their waterways. It makes for such a unique sense of place. There are so many cities to see throughout the small country–venture beyond Amsterdam! If you find yourself wanting a beach day, there are multiple opportunities for this from Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) to Ameland and the other islands in the north–(camping??? anyone??) The opportunities abound for people watching and relaxing, though I do caution for entering the water as it is f.r.e.e.z.i.n.g.


My personal recommendation would be the beaches in Den Haag (The Hague). Spend your day doing all there is to do in Den Haag–including Madurodam, which is especially fun for children. Head for a half-day to Scheveningen beach. There is a two-level pier that closed due to construction issues in 2013, but reconstruction has begun and it is now partially reopen. However, all along the beach, there are multiple establishments to stop and savor a Heineken or a glass of wine and some bitterballen. I especially recommend trying to be there for the sunset–spectacular.

Beach season is just about to start! Make sure you connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see what sandy shores I find this summer.

You Might Also Like