family weekend in western michigan

Old Apr 5th, 2006, 10:42 AM
  #1  
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family weekend in western michigan

I'd like to take my family (me, my wife and two young children) on a three-day trip to Michigan, in August.

Any recommendations for families? We like:

NICE, NICE, NICE faciilities
lakefront

thanks! So many choices, so little knowledge ...


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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 11:14 AM
  #2  
ltt
 
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i stopped for a few nights last year in traverse city. i really loved it. stayed at the sugar beach resort and it was great. nice beach, lots of chairs. they have a sister property there too called the grand beach. when doing research, the sugar beach was one of the more moderatly priced.

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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 11:17 AM
  #3  
JJ5
 
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My house fills all the requirements, but it's not available. LOL!

But you may want to google Mears MI.

It's on the Silver Lake inlet and the Dunes- and for fun with kids it's TOPS.

There are some high end places you will find. Also on www.discoverourtown.com
And on www.duneswaterfrontresort.com

The last is smoke-free. You have lots of levels/choices. There are places at St. Joe, Holland, Sagatuck, etc. all the way up and past Traverse City but in years of experiences, the kids like Mears or Sunnybrook Farm (no lake).

You want nice, nice, nice- some of those are not in a child friendly environment, IMHO.

You can rent houses on little lakes for a week- but for 3 days and kids, IMHO, Mears. They won't forget it.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 11:20 AM
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Have you looked at the michigan.org site yet? It's full of info.

My favorite area now is Pentwater - there's a great beach, but don't think there's much lakefront hotel properties or any at all. The beach is part of a state park - mostly RV camping.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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There's not too many super nice places to stay in either Mears (by Silver Lake) or in Pentwater. The accommodations are mostly resort cottages, private rentals (some of those could be quite nice) or campgrounds. They're both wonderful places for kids though!

One suggestion is possibly the Nickerson Inn in Pentwater. Here's a web site with info:
http://www.bbonline.com/mi/nickerson/
I don't know what the rooms are like, or how kid friendly it is, but I have eaten at the fine dining restaurant inside and that was excellent.

Some other cities nearby that would have nice hotels are Manistee, Petoskey, Grand Haven, Holland & Saugatuck. They're all on the water and are nice resort towns. Here's another web site:
http://www.michiganswestcoast.com/
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 11:39 AM
  #6  
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I was wondering about that myself, travel addict, because that last one looks new and it looks nice.

Have you seen it, what do you think?

www.duneswaterfrontresort.com

I haven't been in awhile because I'm at my own lake, but I also love Mendon. It is on the St. Joseph River, not a lake. Mendon Country Inn

This last is historic, he is a chef and the house is the original Inn and stagecoach stop between Chicago and Detroit. It's the read deal, presidents etc. have stayed here. But it does not have a lakefront- just a riverfront.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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JJ5 - The Dunes Waterfront Resort is a nice place, with nice rooms. But it's located right by a gas station and an ice cream place and all of the big, noisy trucks that drive on the dunes hang out in this area and party. Not to mention, the parking lot of the hotel is usually filled with Dune Monkeys (as I will 'affectionately' call them) partying on the weekends. It's sad, because the place is really nice. I wouldn't recommend it for a family, or anyone who's not crazy about noise - unless you go early or late in the year when it's not so busy. Holidays around there are absolutely insane!(My family has private property near here.)

Heidi
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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JJ5
 
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Thanks, because we didn't stay there- we stayed right on the beach, the hotel with the swing sets and piers etc. and the dune buggies were everywhere you walked there as well.

I think we must be frenetic, because we just loved it. I think in their middle to teen years, it was my kids absolutely favorite place to stay. They would take it over Disney anyday. But you would never get those surrounds from the web pictures.

Thanks, for me too.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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It IS a great place for teenagers, JJ5! For teenagers who want to 'see and be seen', it doesn't get any better. I've been going there since I was a baby, and that's probably when I enjoyed it the most.

Where we stay is back in the woods a bit so it's a little more private and quiet. (Much nicer now that I'm 37!) I love going there in the late fall, winter and early spring. The dunes are beautiful and there's hardly anyone there.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 12:37 PM
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forgot to mention I also love "quiet" ... so a noisy scene wouldn't work

good suggestions here ... thanks!!
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 12:55 PM
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JJ5
 
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Most of the lakefront places on big Lake Michigan in August are not quiet. Saugatuck is especially not quiet, IMHO.

You might want a high end small lake in inland MI resort. In my area there are almost 20 lakes that would have some choices, but I don't or wouldn't consider them VERY quiet because the lakes are active in August. Sorry I couldn't help. I think you need to search the B&B's lakefront MI. I know of rentals but you would need 7 days and you would not have a restaurant or service amenitities as in a hotel on the premises. Lakefront facilities in August in MI - it's just not going to be quiet, IMHO.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 04:01 PM
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JJ5 is right, Robbydee - Michigan comes alive in the summer so most places will be busy and possibly noisy. (We only get 3-4 months of decent weather around here and we take full advantage!)

Have you narrowed down an area of Michigan you'd like to visit? Are you driving in, and how far are you willing to drive? There are places farther north that might be quieter, or smaller inland lakes. Most of the really nice rentals right on Lake Michigan only rent for the week too.

Another option to consider is Mackinac Island. There are some great condo rentals away from the downtown area, which will be noisy and busy, but always fun. Stonecliff, or the condos near it, overlook the Mackinac Bridge, which is a beautiful site itself. They cost some $$ but I hear they're beautiful.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 04:42 PM
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JJ5 and travel-addict -

I'm enjoying your banter...I grew up in Michigan (Midland) and visit in August to escape the Dallas heat.

I've never been able to find a nice hotel (it can be small; not necessarily a resort; but a boutique-hotel would be nice) right on Lake Michigan. I understand it would tick-off all the property owners along the lakeshore, but sheesh...what about the rest of us??

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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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Pepper-
VERY small world, I grew up in Midland also and then moved to Texas. Have many fond memories of vacations to Travese City and Petoskey.
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Old Apr 5th, 2006, 08:11 PM
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kwil -

Y'know what's funny???

I was in Austin at Uncommon Objects, a store I love to death. I came upon a rock and I asked the guy at the counter if he knew what it was...
He said: "Fossilized coral".
I laughed and said: "Dude, it's a Petoskey Stone; they are the prized possession of a Michigan vacation".
I forgot what the price tag was.
I mean...really???

So...I went to Dow and graduated in '88. Mr. Williams (total Ginsberg look-alike) was my favorite teacher.
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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 07:20 AM
  #16  
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pepper131, you've got that right. It does leave "all the rest of us" out- A LOT. The property owners and state parks/ forests keep it pretty much status quo purposely.

I had found in my "looking" years some high end B&B's in South Haven. The one I went to the frequently was Pebble House but it is no longer in operation, and most of those did not have on site restaurants or other expanded hotel amenitities. They did have their own beaches/Lake Michigan. All of these get very crowded with Chicagoans in August.

All the very high end spa-like hotels and resorts that I have used in the past have been within the countryside itself in Michigan- and none of them had Lake Michigan lakefront locations. It is possible on small inland lakes, most of size would be in the middle of the state on the larger acreage lakes.
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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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Hi Pepper & Kwil - glad to hear you're still thinking about us here in Michigan! And that's funny about the Petoskey stone too!

As for luxury resorts on the water - there are some - but Robbydee is looking for a quiet one in August, and other than Stonecliff on Mackinac Island as I mentioned before, none are really coming to mind. Towns like Traverse City, Frankfort, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Grand Haven & Saugatuck have some nice places on or near the water, but those are all busy summer resort towns and there's no guarantee of quiet. Have you considered visiting after Labor Day instead, Robbydee? Maybe for a fall color tour?
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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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robbydee - Hope you don't mind if I jump in here a little....

But...JJ5, travel_addict -
Do you know the names of the nicer places along the inland lakes?

I do love Lake Charlevoix and have fond memories of the boat parade and how decked-out everything was...we would motor up from Boyne City where my dad kept his boat.

And isn't Glen Lake considered the best in the state? I'll bet there are no hotels or any type of accomodations.

I've been wanting to take my husband and kids up to MI and let them experience the fun we used to have...I just don't have any family members with lakefront property anymore. It's so frustrating. My mom suggeted an old motel in Manistee...ugh! We're going in August too.
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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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JJ5
 
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I'm out of the loop, pepper, but I hear you. There was one East and North of my lake- it was on a string of spring fed lakes with a huge man-made addition that also was starting to develop into a very high end subdivision. I think this had a ritzy hotel. But this was in the period when I was traveling to different lakes constantly and I knew this one was going to be too social and upscale for me, plus it was too far. I'll look into some searches and get back to you here or start a new thread when I find something exact.

In the meantime if you want rental- I have found that NOT big hotel but upscale is available within semi-resort towns with nice dining in town or close, but not on the premises. I remember one when you had your own spa- hot tub and deck, overlooking the lake.

If you are interested in rentals, one of the biggest realtors in the area has as a boon for those looking for real estate only on lakefronts (for staying in while you search) he has attached a links list to his web site that may help you with upscale rentals- he does NOT rent- but his brother does on Indian Lake near Dowiagic- this you may like, pepper. It does not mean you have to look at lake property or be in the market at all. Scroll down to the end of the entry page and go to cottage rentals for links.

www.jerdon.net
What you are looking for is more of a Lake Lawn Lodge, as in Delaven, WI., robbydee, with elegant dressing for dinner etc. Those are not the norm in MI, but I'm sure there are some out there.

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Old Apr 6th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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JJ5
 
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I found the excellent one (url) I used for great on-lake hotels when I was looking 5 years ago.

www.hm-usa.com/states/mi.html

Page down to lodgings, hotels on lakes and there you go.

I've been to Captain Jack's Redwood Inn and its a good experience for kids but NOT NICE, NICE, NICE- more typical of Michigan lake living though. If you are coming from the South, it would be an easier drive, but I think there are far more elegant East and North of this area.
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