The Great Lakes come by their name honestly. The largest chain of freshwater lakes anywhere, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario hold a fifth of all the world's fresh surface water. come by their name honestly. The largest chain of freshwater lakes anywhere, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario hold a fifth of all the world's fresh surface water.

AARP MEMBER DISCOUNTS
Travel Discounts for AARP Members

Savings on hotels, car rentals, cruises, tours and airfare

SEE MORE

Subscribe to the AARP Travel Newsletter and get inspired for your next trip

They also have a cumulative shoreline of about 10,500 miles, providing hundreds, if not thousands, of terrific spots for summertime fun. Here are five of the sweetest to visit.

1. Lake Huron: Mackinac Island, Michigan

The granddaddy of Great Lakes destinations, Mackinac still delivers. Glorious Victorian architecture — including the 1887 Grand Hotel — dots this 3.8-square-mile island. Motorized vehicles have been banned here since 1898 and everyone gets around by foot, bike or horse-drawn carriage. But it's not just a quaint throwback to earlier times. More than 80 percent of the island is within the Mackinac Island State Park, a stunning preserve of high limestone cliffs, forests and lake vistas.

2. Lake Michigan: Door Peninsula, Wisconsin

Boasting 300 miles of shoreline, five state parks, 19 county parks, 53 public beaches, a host of historic lighthouses and a handful of charming towns, Door County juts like a slender finger into Lake Michigan. Fishermen come here for the walleye, pike and bass; culture vultures come for the art galleries and music venues; and just about everyone comes for the cherries, cheese, microbrews, ice cream and other locally produced treats that show up on county menus. The peninsula is also one of the Midwest's premier kayaking destinations.