You don't need an ocean to be a great beach town. All you really need is a soft-sand beach and water to stick your toes in. Those boxes are definitely checked in Michigan, which offers two huge peninsulas that dip into the waters of not one, not two — but four Great Lakes.
Located due west of buzzy Grand Rapids, Grand Haven is indeed grand. It has a big, beautiful, sugar-sand beach at Grand Haven State Park, with a lighthouse pier where people may or may not take thermos cocktails out to sit on the edge and see if they get knocked off by the massive waves. The state park is among Michigan's best, and the beach was named AAA's favorite in the state. There's plenty to do and see and eat and drink downtown—breakfast at Morning Star Café, rooftop cocktails at Snug Harbor, pizza at Fricano's Pizza, beer at Odd Side Ales, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and wellness shots at Bodhi Tree—but none of it takes away from what is ultimately the primary focus and your raison d'être: that big, beautiful beach, and those thermos cocktails. And yes, there's also a dog beach.