Palm trees brighten up Lake Michigan beach

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Palm trees line the Lake Michigan shore in Racine, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: producerjb via Panoramio

Palm trees in Wisconsin? Yes, it’s true, North Beach in Racine, Wisconsin, is looking more like South Beach in Miami, Florida, these days. Well, not exactly, but it does have what few beaches north of the Carolinas have: palm trees.

Thanks to a Kenosha, Wisconsin, company called Northern Palms, you will find about 25 palm trees planted in the sand around the Beachside Oasis concession stand, allowing beach-goers to at least pretend they are sunbathing in an exotic beach paradise.

Northern Palms owner Tom Barnhill told the Racine Journal Times that he stores palm trees in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse at 65-degree temperatures year-round. Anyone can lease a tree for a mere $140 for the summer, he said.

Several restaurants decorate their establishments with palm trees for the summer, and at least one person has planted them around the outdoor pool in his backyard. Northern Palms takes care of planting and treating the trees; the owners merely have to water them regularly.

A small price to pay, northerners might say, compared to the cost of flying to the Caribbean. With the bright summer sun, warm breezes, cool refreshments and the swaying palm trees in the sand, Racine beach lovers can sit back and escape to a tropical dream vacation right in their own hometown.

“I tell my friends it’s like going to the Bahamas or Bermuda,” Mary Tyler told the Journal Times. “It just reminds me of that — I love them.”

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