Let’s get this out of the way: The lake can be cold. You snap on a pair of water shoes on a warm summer day and step gingerly into the clear Lake Superior waters of Madeline Island’s Big Bay. Edging ever deeper, though, is a process. You inhale sharply with every step, advancing to your waist, your chest, your shoulders — and finally, full submersion. But once your body adjusts to the shock, the feeling is completely invigorating. Curative. As summer vacation returns with a vengeance, the Midwest’s best beaches will provide a no-frills escape this year. These aren’t the Gulf Stream waters, and this certainly isn’t the Caribbean. But from the Great Lakes to the 10,000 Lakes, the best beaches of the “North Coast” are collectively like our Caribbean. So don’t let the coastal elites tell you that the Midwest has no beaches. They have no idea. Here, we share 12 of our favorites.