With national vacation destinations like Traverse City and Petoskey right in our backyards, Metro Detroit’s array of freshwater beaches don’t always get the love they deserve.

But whether you’re a nature-lover, waterslide fan or just someone who enjoys swimming in a hazmat suit, you’ll find a Detroit beach to satisfy your summertime cravings — without requiring a trip Up North.

Did we skip your favorite beach? Upload your own favorite beach pics and local tips to our Summer Splash slideshow below:

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  • Kensington Metropark

    For the active Detroiter, it’s hard to beat the range of fun-in-the-sun options at Milford’s Kensington Metropark. Two major beach locations (Maple and Martindale) thin the crowds. Most of the kiddies hang at the Splash and Soak Waterpark’s wave pool and waterside. More adventurous park visitors can hop on a paddleboat or enjoy a guided pontoon boat ride around the lake. We suggest renting a kayak to explore those little islands scattered throughout the park.

  • Belle Isle

    The largest island park in the nation was designed by Frederick Olmstead (architect of New York City’s Central Park). Just north of the lighthouse, the little sliver of sand called Hipster Beach is young Detroit’s place to drink beer and tan during the summer months. Belle Isle Beach has a waterside and lifeguards. And no other swimming locale has such terrific skyline views.

  • Lake St. Clair Metropark

    Located at the end of Metropolitan Parkway and once known as “Metro Beach,” this is the grandaddy of Detroit-area beaches. The Metropark is designed as a 750-acre peninsula jutting out into Lake St. Clair, boasting seven miles of shoreline and a 1,600-foot boardwalk stretching along the lake. Unfortunately, this beach has more than its fair share of closings due to water quality issues.

  • Gull Islands, Lake St. Clair

    Topless free-for-all Jobbie Nooner is scheduled for June 22, 2012. Did you know that you can sign up for a quarterly paid membership to watch the Jobbie Nooner video feed? That’s pretty much all we have on the Gull Islands.

  • Camp Dearborn

    Young fishmongers will swarm this weekend’s Kids Fishing Derby (June 10) at Camp Dearborn, a family-owned getaway in Milford owned and operated by the city of Dearborn. Kids at heart will enjoy tanning by the pool, traversing the half-mile swimming beach or playing a round of putt-putt.

  • Stoney Creek Metropark

    While Eastwood Beach is known as the place for families, la plage a la Baypoint is the beach for young adults on the weekends. There’s disc golf and a 6.2 mile track around the lake that’s perfect for a long walk or workout — but who are we kidding? We were sold on Stoney Creek as soon as we heard about their waterslide, “The Rip Slide.” This baby is reportedly 3 1/2 stories tall and 175 feet long.

  • Zug Island

    We recommend Rust Belt industrial types bring fishing poles, binoculars and possibly a hazmat suit to this man-made isle in the Detroit River. Straddling the city limits of River Rouge and the Motor City, Zug Island has been pegged as the possible source of the mysterious rumblings plaguing Canadians in 2011 — as well as the adopted home of the once-endangered Peregrine falcon.

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