The Most Criminally Underrated Beach In The Midwest Is This Gorgeous Spot Along A Great Lake

What the Midwestern United States lacks in ocean coastline, it makes up for in lakeside wonders. Along the U.S. border with Canada are the Great Lakes. Together, they make up 20% of the world's surface-level fresh water and greatly contribute to the area's economy. Among the notable cities and attractions on the lakes are Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Split Rock Lighthouse, Chicago, Milwaukee, Toronto, and Cleveland to name a few — not to mention the close proximity of Niagara Falls in between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Another type of attraction that should come to mind when thinking about the Great Lakes are beaches.

Located in the small town of Duluth, Minnesota is Park Point Recreation Area. At seven miles jutting out into Lake Superior, Park Point is the longest freshwater sandbar in the world. Given the size of Lake Superior, views from this park look like ocean views. The park also has a hiking trail, wildlife, boat sailing, and plenty of sand to enjoy.

Try kiteboarding on Lake Superior

The Aerial Lift Bridge gives cars access to the long strip of land which leads to Park Point Recreation Area. There are multiple lakeside hotels on each side of this bridge, such as The Inn on Lake Superior and Solglimt Bed & Breakfast. Park Point lies just four miles from the bridge, giving easy access to its peaceful beach. At the beach is Park Point's Beach House, which is available for private event rental, as are the nearby pavilions. Aside from lounging, visitors to the beach can play sand volleyball, go for a swim, cook on the grills, and cruise around in boats thanks to the boat launch. Park Point Recreation Area also has lifeguards, a parking lot, and restrooms.

While Park Point Recreation Area is not on an ocean, kiteboarding (or kitesurfing) is possible here. Kiteboarding entails a steerable kite propelled by wind attached to a board. The kite stays attached to the rider with a harness, which makes it less strenuous to control. However, the water stays cold year round, so bring a wetsuit.

Spot wildlife all over Park Point Recreation Area

Just a few minutes from the Beach House is the Park Point Trailhead, a gateway to the vast Minnesota Point Pine Forest Scientific and Natural Area. This space is home to dozens of species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and ferns. Be cautious of your interactions with the environment while hiking in this area, however. Migratory birds stop here and more than one dozen species of birds like piping plovers nest in the sand during summer.

The southwestern corner of Park Point Recreation Area is home to the Duluth-Superior Sailing Association, a nonprofit aiming to help anyone learn and enjoy sailing. The organization offers lessons for all ages and adaptive sailing for people with disabilities. Those who already have experience with sailboats can become members to gain access to the association's motorized boats. Memberships can be for one day or for longer periods of time, making it worthwhile for vacationers and locals alike.