Making my way back to the beach

Summer always seems as short as winter is long, and scheduling a weekend for sun and fun at a Lake Michigan beach can sometimes be problematic. The calendar in June, July and August often is packed with fairs, festivals, baseball games, picnics and family cookouts. And with the weather nearly picture-perfect during those months, the desire to venture elsewhere often wanes.

Still, I finally managed to head west on a recent weekend, traveling two-plus hours despite a gloomy forecast. The bigger challenge was choosing a beach. New Buffalo, St. Joseph, South Haven, Holland and Grand Haven are all great beach towns and home to inviting stretches of sand, but I settled on Oval Beach in Saugatuck, consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States.

Rain showers and thunderstorms dampened my arrival, but I held out, waiting for the skies to clear. And when they did, I remembered why the desire to escape to the beach begins pulling at me each June like the ocean’s tide. There’s something truly comforting about returning to a favorite beach and finding the landscape unchanged. It’s a homecoming of sorts. The sensation of sand shifting between your bare feet and the chill of the water ” even in late summer ” evoke memories of childhood beach trips.

Even as the day ends and the sun begins to slip below the horizon, it’s hard to muster the will to leave. You vow to return again — soon, but it always takes longer to come back. Lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun and the views, you just wonder why.

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.