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First trip to Michigan Coast

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My husband and I an East Coast transplants living in Chicago. We've grown up spending time on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Watch Hill, Rhode Island and we are craving some small-town beach time this summer.

We've heard that the Michigan coast is perfect for this, but we're confused by all of the options out there. We like charming small towns where we can go for long walks, and enjoy lounging and swimming on the beach and have great meals at night. We aren't into the junky souvenir shops or fried-food dives that so many beach towns have. We'd like to find someplace that's an easy drive from Chicago -- maybe 3 or 4 hours.

So, with all of this, where should we go?

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