I can honestly say that one of the best things about living in Chicago is Lake Michigan. We make it over there A LOT during the summer and it is always the best time ever. Getting all the necessary gear ready and tagging it along as close to the water as possible maybe tiring but digging holes in the sand, sharing food, relaxing and coming back home for the naps is SO good. I grew up at the Baltic Sea...Sort of... I remember my parents packing loads and loads of beach gear and getting us and our cousins on the bus to Krynica Morska... 45 minute drive on the bus with tons of other kids and grown ups looking forward to spending a day at the beach. So much fun...! I sometimes wonder how did they do it ? With all this stuff ?? And we didn't own a car at that time... I remember visiting the beach often and I can admit that I am more of a 'beach person' not a 'hiker'. And for that the same reason for most of the summer my children will be growing up at the beach. Sand stuck in every part of their little bodies.