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dina4 Feb 23rd, 2008 08:17 AM

Lake Michigan: please help me pinpoint a vacation spot
I'm looking for a really beautiful place to spend some time on Lake Michigan. (the michigan side) We are a family of four (kids 15 and 18). We have never been to Michigan. We would be traveling in mid August or posssibly mid June.

I've been overwhelmed reading through all the posts here, and am hoping for some specific advice. here are some things we're looking for:

1. excellent golf
2. cute/quaint town
3. shopping opportunities
4. kayak or other water sports
5. natural beautiful surroundings

big question -- i keep reading about the great beaches and swimming... how COLD is the water?


tomboy Feb 23rd, 2008 06:26 PM

If you're willing to take Holland/ Saugatuck as an indicator, you can see the water temperature offshore for the last year on the following website:
Just pick your date. Pick the temp right offshore, as the temps further out will be lowered by the upwelling of cold water from the depths.
Mid August might be more fun, as the salmon might start schooling by then (if you'd be interested in a charter).

ruwithme Feb 24th, 2008 04:44 AM

Check out The Homestead in Glen Arbor. I always rave about this place.

My family of 4 went in August and we hated to leave!

We stayed in a condo 1 bdrm condo, with a full kitchen, deck & fireplace.

We did everything on your list except golf. We even rented bikes and took a 12 mile bike ride through town.

The water was about...79-80 degrees and yes we swam in Lake Michigan. It is actually quite refreshing.

Let me know if you have any other questions, I would be glad to answer.

jallard Feb 24th, 2008 08:26 AM

We love the Charlevoix, Bay Harbor, Petoskey and Harbor Springs area.
You'll be fine to swim in the lake. We love staying at Bay Harbor. You can stay at Bay Harbor Resort and Marina or the Bay Harbor Renaissance resort. Both are wonderful and it is a short drive to a national park beach, just gorgeous. All four towns are great and just a few minutes drive either way. Harbor Springs is super cute! Let me know if you need more help. We go to Bay harbor every summer. There is also lots of golf, from very expensive to inexpensive. Our favorite course is Little Traverse Bay in Harbor Springs. It has a great restaurant as well.

annesherrod Feb 24th, 2008 09:11 AM

The further north you go the prettier the scenery.

Not sure what your budget is but there is a beautiful area called Epworth Heights in Luddington - about 2 hours north of Douglas. Gorgeous large cottages. There are some great restaurants and cute shopping.... However you probably would have needed to rent by now. You may run into that problem at many on the nicer areas.

I agree with what Jallard says too - those areas are some of my favorites too!!!

YOu will probably need to book soon - as some of the places we like book a whole year in advance.

SuzieTrue Feb 24th, 2008 09:49 AM

If you plan to swim in Lake Michigan, pick August over June.

I also like the Glen Arbor area. Besides Lake Michigan, you have the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Glen Lake for activities. Also Traverse City is just a short drive.

Have fun deciding!


dina4 Feb 24th, 2008 10:33 AM

Thanks so much!

unfortunately, I won't know for sure if we can do this trip until mid or late April, so it sounds like it might be difficult to book something that late.

Either way, i am compiling notes and ideas.

Sounds like we can't go wrong with either the Glen Arbor area or the Charlevoix, Bay Harbor, Petoskey and Harbor Springs area. Also glad to hear the water is warm in august!

two questions, though:

1. I kept reading posts from 2006 about polluted water from some factory leakage? Are things better now?

2. Anne - is there a resort/hotel in Epworth Heights in Luddington, or are the cottages you mention private rentals?

Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiastic comments. Sounds like a very beautiful and beloved area of the country.

I will come back with more specific question after i research a bit...


annesherrod Feb 24th, 2008 11:16 AM

The cottages are private rentals. Many of these areas have realestate co's that help with rentals and/or the local newspapers can provide ads with info ...

In our local newspaper in STL there are always ads for rentals because soooo many people who live here have vacation homes up there. That is how I have found rentals - Maybe your city/town has the same??

Enjoy planning - that is half the fun!

jallard Feb 24th, 2008 12:23 PM

About the water issue - a few years back the Detroit Free Press printed a large article on the front page about their being contamination.
We have been there several times and it is all cleaned up.
The area is beautiful, no worries.
You could also look into The Perry Hotel in Petoskey. It is very cute and has a nice restaurant. The hotel is a Stafford property and their are other Stafford hotels in Charlevoix and Bay View. You can also look into renting a home in these cities. Have you tried VRBO?
Also, Boyne Highlands is a nice resort with lots of rental condos, homes and there is also a hotel with a nice pool.

cpe031756 Feb 24th, 2008 01:07 PM

hello! ...i have lived in michigan all my life amd i must say please do not miss going to macinac island!!! or ...and i have to agree will jallard -->my family loves the Charlevoix(, Bay Harbor(, Petoskey (, and Harbor Springs ( ck out the website: and
depending on how much time you have you might want to look into seeing frankenmuth, michigan as a nice side trip (,, i do not live in frankenmuth but truly enjoy the town! hope this helps!

leelanaulover Feb 24th, 2008 09:10 PM


Definitely plan for August, as the weather is PERFECT for a vacation! You can't go wrong with anyplace around Traverse City for all the activities you are looking for.

cd Feb 25th, 2008 05:27 AM

If you can take a day trip and ferry over to Mackinac Island you will never be sorry. It fulfills your request for a quaint town! No cars allowed. Your can rent bikes and ride around the entire Island or take a horse drawn carriage or just walk.

dina4 Feb 25th, 2008 07:10 PM

Thanks again, everyone!!

kelliebellie Feb 27th, 2008 06:17 AM

Yes, I was definitely going to suggest a day trip to Mackinac Island. I got married there. :)

Are you driving or flying? Where are you coming from?

Sleeping Bear Dunes are an amazing natural phenomenon that needs to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

Excellent golf is found everywhere. Michigan has tons and tons of wonderful courses. My absolute favorite is Little Traverse Bay Golf Course.

Basically you play downhill with sweeping views of Little Traverse Bay. It is amazing.

If you don't want to go too far north, Saugatuck is very cute and lots of shopping.

The golf course on Mackinac Island is wonderful too. You might want to do an overnight there. There are tons of b&b's. They fill up, but you could find something mid-week.

The area is popular in the summer of course, but still not terribly crowded. You should still easily be able to book things in April.

Also try for a condo rental directly on the lake.

A cool thing to do in Cheboygan is tour the Coast Guard ship. If it is docked, all you do is pull up and ask for a tour.

If you want to go even farther north, Tahquamanon (sp) Falls is beautiful to see. I haven't been to the Pictured Rocks, but that is supposed to be amazing too.

It is an amazing area and you will fall in love with it.

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