Growing up in Chicago, Saugatuck was one of many beach communities where folks who went to beach communities went. My childhood summers were spent in the cement pond rather than a sandy lakeside beach. In my 20s, I discovered Saugatuck and its sister city Douglas located on the Lake Michigan side of …. well … Michigan.
At that time it was a sleepy, arty town with tons of vacation home rentals and B&Bs, that earned the nickname the Provincetown of the Midwest. Today, it’s become quite a bit more upscale and professional-level touristy. But the beaches are still great (and shark-free!). In 2010, Budget Travel named it one of the ten coolest towns in America.