11 Best Resorts on Lake Michigan, MI | PlanetWare (2022)

Written by Carri Wilbanks
Jan 27, 2022

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With about 1,400 miles of shoreline touching multiple states, Lake Michigan is home to numerous beach resorts that really come alive in the summer. The second largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan also has lakefront real estate in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. But for this article, we are focusing on resorts on the Michigan side of the lake.

Whether you are on a romantic getaway or traveling with the family, the Michigan shoreline is home to plenty of wide sugar-sand beaches, rolling dune scapes, and fun small towns. Pay a visit to New Buffalo and Petoskey along Little Traverse Bay in summer, and you'll find a number of good-value lakefront resorts paired with lively downtowns.

Mackinac Island, located at the northern tip of the lake where it joins with Lake Superior, is another top vacation spot. Here, you'll find zero cars and some beloved resorts that have been attracting families for a few generations.

Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan but also one of the most remote. It is home to just a handful of hotels along with pretty beaches and amazing sunsets. And finally there is Traverse City and the resorts along Great Traverse Bay. The largest city on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan, it still maintains a small-town vibe with lots of boutique shops and restaurants in its downtown area.

Below are our choices for the best resorts on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan.

1. Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

11 Best Resorts on Lake Michigan, MI | PlanetWare (1)

Accommodation: Grand Hotel

The most exclusive hotel on this list, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is a historic luxury property. The car-free island at the northern tip of Lake Michigan where it joins with Lake Superior is a summer vacation paradise for families and couples alike. The island can only be accessed by ferry boat or plane and has a quaint vibe and pretty beaches.

The Grand Hotel is a Victorian-style beauty and a stay here feels like traveling back in time to the late 1800s, which is when the property first opened its doors. There are nearly 400 rooms and suites with charming period decor and modern amenities. For families or groups, book one of the cottages that have up to four bedrooms.

All sorts of activities are offered. You can play lawn games like croquet or bocce ball or sign up for a Quidditch match or arts and crafts session. Even horseback riding can be booked. There is also a giant swimming pool and in summer, free snow cones are served by it.

Address: 286 Grand Avenue P.O. Box 286, Mackinac Island, Michigan

2. Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection Hotels, Petoskey

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Accommodation: Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection Hotels

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Tucked into a harbor on Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey, about four hours northwest of Detroit, the Inn at Bay Harbor was designed to resemble the grand lakefront hotels of the 19th century. It is also one of the only 4-star hotels on this side of the lake. The resort is an all-suite property with one-, two-, and three-bedroom options available depending on the size of your family or group.

The resort is set on well-maintained grounds and features a number of amenities. There are multiple on-site restaurant choices. As well as 45 holes of golf, a spa with a full range of treatments, and a swimming pool. In summer, you can roast s'mores by the outdoor fireplace, and there are also bike rentals.

Address: 3600 Village Harbor Drive, Bay Harbor, Petoskey, Michigan

3. Mission Point Resort, Mackinac Island

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Accommodation: Mission Point Resort

On car-free Mackinac Island, which is only accessible by ferry boat or plane, Mission Point Resort is just outside the downtown area and set on 18 acres of manicured grounds with lots of flowers and lush green grass. The family-owned resort has 241 rooms and suites. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and interconnecting rooms are available. The property is also dog friendly.

Amenities are plentiful. There are three restaurants and two coffeeshops on-site. You'll also find a mini golf course, swimming pool, workout room, and a spa. The resort is best known, however, for its Great Lawn facing the lake and strewn with Adirondack chairs.

Address: One Lakeshore Drive, Mackinac Island, Michigan

4. The Homestead, Glen Arbor

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Accommodation: The Homestead

On the shores of Lake Michigan just a 10-minute drive from the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, The Homestead is a 4-star property with a chic vibe. The resort features rooms and suites done up in country elegant decor in multiple buildings. It also has condos that are perfect for families and located right on the lakeshore.

There is plenty to keep you busy on-site and in the vicinity. Borrow a kayak and explore the sandy coastline by boat. You can also go fishing or check out one of the hiking trails in the area. The Homestead has a golf course on-site, as well as a spa. For dining there is a kid-friendly restaurant. There is also a swimming pool, hot tub, and tennis courts. If you are traveling with a pet, the resort is dog friendly.

Address: 1 Wood Ridge Road, Glen Arbor, Michigan

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5. The Harbor Grand Hotel, New Buffalo

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Accommodation: The Harbor Grand Hotel

The 3-star Harbor Grand Hotel is just a few minutes' walk from the beach, as well as from the shops and restaurants in downtown New Buffalo. The recently renovated hotel features thoughtfully designed rooms and suites with either lake or harbor views. Rooms have soothing color schemes, luxe linens on comfy beds, fluffy spa robes, and Grown Alchemist bath products. Soaking tubs also come standard.

Amenities here include a complimentary breakfast that can be served in-room. There is also an indoor swimming pool and hot tub, a waterfront lawn, fitness room, and bikes for guests to use. The on-site restaurant faces the harbor and serves good food.

Address: 111 W. Water Street, New Buffalo, Michigan

6. Bayshore Resort, Traverse City, Michigan

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Accommodation: Bayshore Resort

One of the best resorts in Traverse City, the Bayshore Resort is a 3-star property that is popular with families and couples alike. Right on the beachfront in West Grand Traverse Bay, which feeds into Lake Michigan, it is also within walking distance of downtown with its many shops and restaurants.

Couples will like the spa rooms here. They come with modern decor and two-person Jacuzzi bathtubs. Suites are another popular option, especially for families, as they have pull-out sofa beds for kids. Jacuzzi tubs also come standard.

Although there is no on-site restaurant, a complimentary breakfast is served in the lobby each morning. There are many dining options just a short walk away. Other amenities include an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, game room, and a workout room. In summer, book Jet Ski and boat rentals from the hotel.

Address: 833 E Front Street, Traverse City, Michigan

7. Marina Grand Resort, New Buffalo

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Accommodation: Marina Grand Resort

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The 3-star Marina Grand Resort in New Buffalo (which is just 70 miles from Chicago) is walking distance from a gorgeous Lake Michigan beach, as well as the village's downtown with some cute shops and restaurants. The resort faces New Buffalo Harbor and has a rooftop sundeck with great panoramic views – head up here for sunset. Afterwards, have dinner at the popular harbor-view restaurant on-site.

The family friendly resort has a mix of rooms and suites. All are modern and comfortable and many have harbor views, fireplaces and outdoor seating. Suites are a great option if you kids as they come in one to three bedroom sizes and have kitchens along with living and dining space.

Other amenities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, game room, and beach chairs and towels for guests to use. If you are in need of a massage, the resort arranges them at its sister hotel.

Address: 600 Water Street, New Buffalo, Michigan

8. Sugar Beach Resort Hotel, Traverse City, Michigan

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Accommodation: Sugar Beach Resort Hotel

On the east side of Grand Traverse Bay, the mid-range Sugar Beach Resort Hotel is set on beautiful sugar beach. The hotel was fully renovated less than five years ago, and today it has a mix of rooms and suites in a variety of price brackets. All have a beach style to them and comfortable beds with pillow-top mattresses.

Suites at this 3-star hotel can accommodate up to six people in a combination of beds and a living room sleeper sofa. Balconies with bay views are available in some room categories.

Head to the beach for splashing and swimming in the lake or check out the indoor swimming pool and hot tub. Water sports equipment can be rented on-site. There is also a game room, fitness center, and even a spa on-site.

Address: 1773 US 31 North, Traverse City, Michigan

9. Beaver Island Lodge

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Accommodation: Beaver Island Lodge

On peaceful Beaver Island, which is only accessible by boat or plane, the Beaver Island Lodge has fabulous views of Lake Michigan and has been hosting guests on this remote isle since 1950. Set on a bluff facing a private section of beach, it is known for its spectacular sunsets – check one out from the aptly named Sunset Restaurant.

The lodge is only open seasonally from mid-May to late October. It caters mainly to adults. There are rooms and suites in the main lodge that are designed for adults. Kids over 10 are allowed to stay in the lodge, but note that they are restricted to the three suites that can accommodate three people. However, there is a two-bedroom cabin on the grounds, where children of all ages are welcome, as well as pets. But it requires a four-night minimum stay.

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Bikes are available to rent here. Canoeing, hiking, and fishing excursions can all be organized. There is a shared lounge space, outdoor furniture, and a picnic area on the grounds as well.

Address: 38210 Beaver Lodge Drive, Beaver Island, Michigan

10. Beach Haus Resort, Traverse City Michigan

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Accommodation: Beach Haus Resort

Set on one of the nicest beaches along Traverse City's "Miracle Mile" of lakefront property, on the east end of Grand Traverse Bay, Beach Haus Resort has been welcoming guests since 1968. The resort has 200-feet of gold-sand beachfront reserved for its guests, and there are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas set in the sand and on the grassy lawn beyond it.

The 2-star resort features just 31 rooms in a Bavarian-inspired building. Rooms are nothing fancy, but they are clean and relatively comfortable. All have microwaves and refrigerators, and some also come with bay views from furnished balconies. There is a free breakfast in the morning, a hot tub, and barbecue facilities.

Address: 1489 N US Highway 31 N, Traverse City, Michigan

11. Beaver Island Retreat, Beaver Island

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Accommodation: Beaver Island Retreat

Beaver Island is Lake Michigan's largest inhabited island, but it is still sparsely populated and home to just a handful of resorts. Beaver Island Retreat is one. It offers lodging in safari-style glamping tents. These are actually quite cool with A-frames draped in canvas that can be opened onto a wood porch for an indoor/outdoor vibe.

Even though you are technically inside a tent, you will have a proper mattress on a raised wooden platform. The tent floors are also wood, and tents come with electricity and charging ports, as well as bluetooth speakers. There's even Wi-Fi. Bathrooms are outside and shared, but there are only 10 tents on the property so they stay clean.

There is a communal kitchen guests can use, with a large fridge to store your food. There is also a charcoal grill outside each tent, and charcoal, ice, and firewood are all provided free of charge. The retreat is also dog friendly.

Address: 34195 Kings Highway, Beaver Island, Michigan

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FAQs

What is the nicest beach on Lake Michigan? ›

12 Best Lake Michigan Beaches With White Sand, Rolling Dunes, and Stunning Views
  • Petoskey State Park, Petoskey, Michigan.
  • North Beach, Racine, Wisconsin.
  • Warren Dunes State Park, Sawyer, Michigan.
  • Holland State Park, Holland, Michigan.
  • Silver Beach County Park, St. ...
  • Rosewood Beach, Highland Park, Illinois.
10 Jul 2022

Is Lake Michigan a good vacation? ›

If you're looking for a gorgeous place to vacation and enjoy the best of Michigan, look no further than Lake Michigan. This natural wonder is home to a diverse range of water sports, stunning scenery, and crystal-clear waters.

Where is Lake Michigan? ›

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It covers portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Lake Michigan is connected directly to Lake Huron, into which it drains, through the broad Straits of Mackinac.

What is the number one beach in Michigan? ›

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. With more than 60 miles of shoreline and majestic sand dunes that you will remember for a lifetime, the beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are some of Michigan's most prized gems.

What beach has the clearest water in Michigan? ›

Torch Lake Beach

It's also famous for having the clearest and bluest water, so pack your beach essentials and plan an outing here! As Michigan's second-largest inland lake, several places are great for swimming and sunbathing, including the little beach at the Torch Lake Township Bill Good Day Park.

What is the prettiest part of Lake Michigan? ›

Named the “Most Beautiful Place in the United States,” Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-on any Lake Michigan travel bucket list.

Where is the best place to go in Lake Michigan? ›

Saugatuck/Douglas is one of the best Lake Michigan vacation spots to spend a day on the beach. Pristine Oval Beach has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in the nation by travel magazines and TV shows, making it an avid beach-goer's must-see Lake Michigan vacation spot.

Is Lake Michigan safe to swim in? ›

Swimming in Lake Michigan is an ' at your own risk' activity. All beaches managed by Milwaukee County parks do NOT have lifeguards. For current water quality reports along Lake Michigan visit the Wisconsin Beach Health website for water-quality reports. Break the Grip of the Rip!

Why is Lake Michigan so popular? ›

Appreciating Lake Michigan

Extensive beaches, towering sand dunes, vibrant cultural attractions, and crystal blue waters await you in the Lake Michigan watershed. Chicago is a very popular tourist destination.

What's on the bottom of Lake Michigan? ›

Nearly 1,500 shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Lake Michigan. However, only a few hundred have been identified. What is this? The first recorded wreck dates back to November 21, 1847.

What beach in Michigan has clear blue water? ›

Torch Lake is known to Michiganders as both a summer party lake and a vacation destination for the rich and famous of Michigan. The crystal clear turquoise waters of Torch Lake, Michigan. Its famous sandbar is the location of summer parties, with boats anchoring alongside the sandbars.

What is the most popular beach on Lake Michigan? ›

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — Empire. Sleeping Bear Point Beach is on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and has been named among the 21 best beach destinations in the world by National Geographic.

Where is the warmest water in Lake Michigan? ›

If you're ready to play in Lake Michigan, know that water temperatures can vary quite a bit along a stretch of coastline. In West Michigan, the beach near Duck Lake State Park in Muskegon County is warmest spot.

Where is the blue water in Michigan? ›

Michigan's Thumbcoast extends along the easternmost shores of our state from Clay/Algonac to Port Austin. Every charming community has panoramic views of the blue waters of either Lake Huron or the St. Clair River, places to watch freighters up-close, and plenty of space to sprawl out.

What's the clearest lake in Michigan? ›

Big Glen Lake is one of the cleanest and clearest lakes in Michigan. It is near the small town of Glen Arbor in northeast Michigan. Big Glen Lake and its sister waterway, Little Glen Lake were once a part of Lake Michigan during the ice age.

Why is Torch Lake So Popular? ›

Torch Lake is famous for its sandbars and turquoise blue waters. Its color is often compared to the Caribbean, which is a fair comparison, from what we saw. When you are on the sandbar, the turquoise water and bright sand are definitely reminiscent of a tropical paradise.

What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Michigan? ›

According to a list compiled by the U.S. News & World Report, the most popular tourist attraction in all of Michigan is Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is known for its famous fudge and Native American historical sites.

What is the best month to visit Michigan? ›

The best time to visit Michigan is between the months of May and October. Michigan observes its spring and autumn seasons during this time, making it ideal weather to enjoy the host of outdoor activities that Michigan has to offer.

Is there a scenic drive along Lake Michigan? ›

Explore M-22 Scenic Drive with our recommended route map

This one-of-a-kind scenic drive takes you along the Lake Michigan shoreline through the beautiful rolling landscape of Northern Michigan.

Which Great Lake has the clearest water? ›

Lake Superior is the Cleanest and Clearest Great Lake

As the coldest (it's refreshing!) and most northern of the lakes, Superior is also the clearest. Because of its somewhat isolated location and long cold winters, not much farming is done along Superior's shores.

Are there nice beaches on Lake Michigan? ›

Lake Michigan is home to some of the Great Lake's best and most unique beaches. Miles and miles of golden sand run up and down the east and southern shorelines, drawing summer visitors looking to escape the heat. Beaches on Lake Michigan's east coast are frequently backed by sand dunes, making them fun to explore.

Which Great Lake is the prettiest? ›

1. Lake Huron. Lake Huron, the second-largest of the Great Lakes, tops the list for its pristine turquoise waters, unparalleled shoreline sunrises, numerous lakeside parks, gorgeous beaches, and historic lighthouses. French explorers proclaimed it La Mer Douce, “the freshwater sea.”

Which Great Lake has the prettiest beaches? ›

The 5 most beautiful beaches in the Great Lakes
  • Long Point (Lake Erie)
  • Bluffer's Park Beach (Lake Ontario)
  • The Grotto (Lake Huron)
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lake Michigan)
  • Pancake Bay Beach (Lake Superior)
15 Aug 2018

What is Saugatuck MI known for? ›

Known as Michigan's Art Coast, Saugatuck was awarded Best Beach Town 2020 by Midwest Living Magazine. Art lovers can find many galleries and studios here to explore. The area is also known for its pristine Lake Michigan beaches, award-winning wineries and breweries, and LGBTQ community.

Does Lake Michigan have nice beaches? ›

Our. Beaches. Each town has its own vibe and unique attractions, but all boast pristine miles of sugar-sand beaches and spectacular sunsets along Lake Michigan. Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

Where is the prettiest part of Lake Michigan? ›

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Empire, Glen Arbor)

Named the “Most Beautiful Place in the United States,” Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-on any Lake Michigan travel bucket list.

Where is the best place to go in Lake Michigan? ›

Saugatuck/Douglas is one of the best Lake Michigan vacation spots to spend a day on the beach. Pristine Oval Beach has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in the nation by travel magazines and TV shows, making it an avid beach-goer's must-see Lake Michigan vacation spot.

Are there any white sand beaches in Michigan? ›

Warren Dunes State Park Has The Whitest, Most Pristine Sand In Michigan. Longing for a getaway? You owe yourself a trip to an amazing white sand beach in Michigan. With so many gorgeous beaches to explore throughout the Great Lakes State, it would be nearly impossible to visit each and every one.

What is the most popular beach on Lake Michigan? ›

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — Empire. Sleeping Bear Point Beach is on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and has been named among the 21 best beach destinations in the world by National Geographic.

Where is the warmest water in Lake Michigan? ›

If you're ready to play in Lake Michigan, know that water temperatures can vary quite a bit along a stretch of coastline. In West Michigan, the beach near Duck Lake State Park in Muskegon County is warmest spot.

What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Michigan? ›

According to a list compiled by the U.S. News & World Report, the most popular tourist attraction in all of Michigan is Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is known for its famous fudge and Native American historical sites.

What is the best month to visit Michigan? ›

The best time to visit Michigan is between the months of May and October. Michigan observes its spring and autumn seasons during this time, making it ideal weather to enjoy the host of outdoor activities that Michigan has to offer.

What's the prettiest lake in Michigan? ›

In Roscommon, Higgins Lake sits in central northern Michigan and is one of the most beautiful lakes in the state. With crystal clear water and soft sandy shores, Higgins Lake is much more like a sea than a lake and despite its glacial origins, the water manages to get quite warm in the summer.

Which Great Lake has the prettiest beaches? ›

The 5 most beautiful beaches in the Great Lakes
  • Long Point (Lake Erie)
  • Bluffer's Park Beach (Lake Ontario)
  • The Grotto (Lake Huron)
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lake Michigan)
  • Pancake Bay Beach (Lake Superior)
15 Aug 2018

What is Saugatuck MI known for? ›

Known as Michigan's Art Coast, Saugatuck was awarded Best Beach Town 2020 by Midwest Living Magazine. Art lovers can find many galleries and studios here to explore. The area is also known for its pristine Lake Michigan beaches, award-winning wineries and breweries, and LGBTQ community.

Can you swim in Lake Michigan? ›

Use caution when swimming in Lake Michigan. The bottom is uneven with holes and deep drop-offs. These inshore holes are very dangerous to small children and non-swimmers. The only beach with lifeguards is West Beach.

What beach in Michigan has clear blue water? ›

Torch Lake is known to Michiganders as both a summer party lake and a vacation destination for the rich and famous of Michigan. The crystal clear turquoise waters of Torch Lake, Michigan. Its famous sandbar is the location of summer parties, with boats anchoring alongside the sandbars.

Where is the blue water in Michigan? ›

Michigan's Thumbcoast extends along the easternmost shores of our state from Clay/Algonac to Port Austin. Every charming community has panoramic views of the blue waters of either Lake Huron or the St. Clair River, places to watch freighters up-close, and plenty of space to sprawl out.

Why is Torch Lake So Popular? ›

Torch Lake is famous for its sandbars and turquoise blue waters. Its color is often compared to the Caribbean, which is a fair comparison, from what we saw. When you are on the sandbar, the turquoise water and bright sand are definitely reminiscent of a tropical paradise.

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