Images of fireworks exploding over lakes, sunsets along Lake Michigan, kids playing in the surf and sand, lighthouses and just about any beach activity you could think of were among the nearly 2,000 entries in the Pure Michigan Beach Instagram Challenge.
The grand prize photograph in the 10-day contest features kayakers on Lake Michigan at Silver Lake Sand Dunes and was snapped by Gina Ferwerda of Silver Lake. The kayakers are her daughter, Ariana, and her friends on their last day at the beach together before high school graduation.
“As I was capturing this moment, I knew how much they would treasure this photo one day thinking back to these carefree days,” Ferwerda said in a press release from state tourism officials. “Pure Michigan to me is the best state for spectacular seasonal activities and I was happy to showcase the beauty of my hometown and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.”
For her efforts, Ferweda won an Ultimate Pure Michigan Beach Day package that includes a beach towel, a fire pit, tackle box, cooler and a sun care kit.
The goal of the 10-day challenge was to showcase Michigan’s variety of beaches and the many activities they inspire among residents and tourists alike. Photos were submitted on Instagram, Twitter and michigan.org. A complete gallery of submissions can be seen at Pure Michigan Beach Challenge.
Daily winners also were announced in various beach categories. Their photos were shared on the Pure Michigan Instagram page and can also be found on the Pure Michigan blog. The daily winning beaches and photogaphers were:
Favorite Beach to Catch a Sunrise or Sunset: Grand Haven State Park Beach, Bob Peskorse Jr.
Favorite Dog-Friendly Beach: Empire Beach, Sarah Hunt
Favorite State Park Beach: Orchard Beach State Park, Deb Neerken
Favorite Beach to Fly a Kite: Manistique, Carrie Shea
Favorite Beach for Watersports: Stony Creek Metropark, Rainie Mills
Favorite Beach for Fishing from the Shore or Dock: Copper Harbor, Matthew Winn
Favorite Beach to Experience Clear Waters: Lake Huron in Rogers City, Rachel Welch
Favorite Beach to Take a Long Walk: Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore, Steve Keighly
Favorite Beach to Hang with Family and Friends: Tiscornia Beach in St. Joseph, Jason McIver
Favorite Beach to Watch Fireworks: St Ignace, Shawn Kellogg
The daily winners received a Personal Sun Care Kit from the Pure Michigan Store. The contest was sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Pure Michigan and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.