On Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior, this village of 1,400 is more cosmopolitan than many towns 20 times its size it has a performing-arts center, a folk school, an art colony and galleries and restaurants that could hold their own in much bigger cities.
Details: For more, see Four seasons of Grand Marais.
Past fast plans: Riverfront fun in Minneapolis, Summer in Chicago, Pedaling and paddling in Lanesboro, Walking around Lake Geneva, Enjoying spring in Door County
Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg, Wis. During this popular event north of Milwaukee, there's music, kids' games, a rubber-duck race and shortcake-eating and bubblegum-blowing contests. June 2324.
Afton Strawberry Festival in Afton, Minn. This village on the St. Croix River offers an art fair, music, games, raptor demos and a strawberry shortcake-eating contest. June 2324.
Musky Fest in Hayward, Wis. There will be a carnival, crafts, a watermelon-eating contest, games and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday. June 2224.
Swedish Days Festival in Geneva, Ill. This Fox River town on the western edge of Chicago offers music, a carnival, a Swedish cottage walk and a big parade Sunday. June 1924.
For more, see our Events Calendar.
On a summer day in Holland, Mich., all roads lead to the beach.
When we were there one June, people streamed toward this broad swath of sand until the sun fell low on the horizon, making the fire-engine-red harbor beacon glow like an ember. They ate ice cream, they strolled on the breakwall, they took a last dip in Lake Michigan.
But at 10 p.m. sharp, a police cruiser started flashing its red lights to shepherd everyone out of the park.
Except us, because we were sitting on the porch of our camper cabin with cold drinks from our fridge, a bowl of freshly popped popcorn and a killer view of the lake and Big Red, the beloved 1907 lighthouse.
After many years of traveling around this region, I can answer nearly every travel question except one: Can you give me the name of a good lake resort?
No, I cant. Only you and your therapist know what you consider a good lake resort.
Staying at a north-woods lake resort is not like staying at a Marriott. There may be chipmunks living under your cabin, and fish that nibble your legs when you wade. Squealing children may run past your window while youre trying to read.
You may find these things alarming. For you, there are resorts with all-day childrens programs, pools, and new townhouse units on manicured grounds.
Around the Upper Midwest, Door County is the tourist destination that other tourist destinations envy.
Everything a tourist loves, its got: Lighthouses and sand dunes. Wineries and boutiques. Bicycle paths and beaches.
a little bit of New England in the white-frame buildings of Ephraim,
where tourists click photos of Wilsons, a century-old ice-cream parlor.
Theres a little bit of Europe in Sister Bay, where goats graze on the sod roof of Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant. Theres not much that isnt picturesque.
On rivers, only salmon like to paddle upstream.
People like to paddle the easy part, then get a shuttle from friends or outfitters. But there's another way to get back to your car by bicycle.
Rail trails in this region often follow rivers, so it's easy to make a loop.
Here are 10 good places in Wisconsin and Minnesota to use bimodal transportation (otherwise known as two times the fun).