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Great Escapes//5 Beachy Keen Spots

Michigan Lighthouse

During the summer months, the West Coast has no monopoly on surf and sun. Check out St. Joseph, Michigan, for a Midwest beachy treasure.

Nice, France
This sparkling gem on the Côte d’Azur curves along four miles, between the foot of Castle Hill and the airport, hugged by the wide, paved Promenade des Anglais, known for its blue chairs set facing the water. Beach shoes are more essential than a bathing suit top here, as Nice is no exception to the rocky-beach topless sunbathing typical of the French Riveria. Prefer sand and thinner crowds? Try out a nearby village, such as VilleFranche.
Fly into: Nice (NCE)

St. Joseph, Michigan
Don’t overlook the Midwest’s many diverse Great Lakes beaches. One standout: Silver Beach in St. Joseph, with 22 sandy acres on Lake Michigan bordered by a paved path and two piers. It’s an easy walk to cute downtown St. Joe for souvenirs or lunch. If you have time, explore the various small towns, antiques stores and beaches south along the Southwestern Michigan coastline, dubbed “The Midwestern Riviera.”
Fly into: South Bend, Indiana (SBN, 30 minutes), Kalamazoo (AZO, 50) or Chicago (ORD, 90)

Railay, Krabi, Thailand
Thick jungle separates Railay from Thailand proper. Visitors must put in a little extra effort to get to this particular stretch of paradise in Southern Thailand’s Krabi Province, known for hundreds of islands and coastline beaches. (And it’s where Leo DiCaprio filmed The Beach.) A couple-buck, 15-minute longboat ride rewards with a pretty Andaman Sea cove and relaxed island atmosphere. The sun drops between the limestone cliffs that punctuate the cove each night.
Fly into: Bangkok (BKK)

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Manteo, North Carolina
Imagine a beach activity. Odds are it has taken place somewhere along Cape Hatteras, a 70-mile strand of sandy islands, trickling from South Nags Head down to Ocracoke in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This pristine barrier-island beach was designated America’s first national seashore in 1953. Tip: Crabbing with the kids requires only a spot on a pier and a piece of string tied around a chicken neck.
Fly into: Norfolk, Virginia (ORF)

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
With more than 115 public beaches, odds are you’ll find your perfect match on The Cape. One tactic: Skip the popular National Seashore in favor of bayside town beaches near cities such as Orleans and Wellfleet. Their sheltered shores offer calm, warm and swimmable waters and peaceful little tide pools to investigate. At Nauset, drive your car right out on the beach for a picnic overlooking the crashing waves.
Fly into: Boston (BOS)

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