K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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Lake Michigan offers the opportunity to enjoy a beach vacation without heading to one of the coasts or beyond. Look forward to the sand, waves and a wealth of water sports along with spectacular scenery at picturesque beaches nearby. In fact, surfing is even possible too. Whatever the reason you plan to go, consider booking one of these top resorts to make the most out of your stay.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore sits along Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline and also includes the North and South Manitou Islands. It’s been called the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America, home to lush forests, vast sand dunes and spectacular beaches. The dunes tower over the lake, some over 450 feet high, making the Traverse City area perfect for a weekend getaway. Bayshore Resort is located here along the cool blue waters of Traverse Bay, offering opportunities to rent a boat or jet ski and, after a day of play, come back and relax at the indoor pool and whirlpool. The Victorian-style rooms feature balconies overlooking the bay, jetted spa tubs and fireplaces.
Resort in “Most Beautiful Place in America”
Sleeping Bear Dunes nearby
Summer jet skis and boat rentals
Victorian-style rooms with balconies, spa tubs, fireplaces
Set on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan just a short drive from downtown Saugatuck, Lake Shore Resort has its own private beach exclusively for guests to enjoy. The property also hosts an outdoor heated pool, 2 miles of wooded walking trails and a putting green, along with complimentary kayaks and bicycles for exploring. At the end of the day, look forward to spectacular sunsets over the water and then enjoy relaxing around the flames at the lakeside fire pits. Families should be aware that this isn’t a destination for little ones, however, with only kids 13 and older welcome. Accommodation includes air-conditioned rooms that all come with mini-fridges, cable TVs and coffeemakers.
Blue Harbor Resort sits right at the edge of Lake Michigan, offering a ton of fun directly on-site, including an indoor water park that makes it ideal for family reunions. There’s an indoor miniature golf course, multiple pools, cabanas, waterslides and the Riptide Double Surf Simulator, along with water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. Scheduled activities are offered for the kids, like arts and crafts, sandcastle-building contests and ice cream sundae parties; teens can enjoy an arcade and nightly campfires. There are four diverse dining options while accommodation in guestrooms and villas all feature flat-screen TVs, patios or balconies, mini-fridges, microwaves and coffeemakers.
Tamarack Lodge of Traverse City sits along the waterfront, providing direct access to a private beach. A swimming dock, BBQ area and water sports rentals make it fun to spend the whole day on the sand. After dark, relax in the comfy Adirondack chairs while roasting s’mores on a bonfire. There are billiard and board game tables too. Accommodation includes one, two or three-bedroom condos, all of which come with beautiful lake views, full-size kitchens, Jacuzzi tubs, sitting areas and fireplaces.
Direct access to private beach
Swimming dock, BBQ area and water sports rentals
Condos all with lake views, full kitchens and fireplaces
Just a 5-minute walk from the beach, Marina Grand Resort overlooks New Buffalo Harbor on Lake Michigan and offers an ideal escape for relaxing and taking part in activities on land and water. Beach towels, beach chairs and even bicycles can all be borrowed, and the property hosts both indoor and outdoor pools. Rooms all include a patio or deck overlooking the harbor and gorgeous sunsets. Complimentary breakfast is provided and there’s also a waterfront bar/grill and a coffee bar that serves snacks. The rooftop deck is a popular place for sipping refreshing drinks, especially while watching the sun go down, although all rooms have water views, outdoor seating, and fireplaces.
The 5-star American Club sits within a brick Tudor-style 1918 building that once served as a dormitory for immigrant workers at the Kohler Corporation. Tucked into a cove, it’s part of the Destination Kohler Resort and is famous as a golfing hotspot. Its massive sports facility is home to the Whistling Straits and the Blackwolf Run golf courses, offering a beauty that rivals even Scotland’s famous courses, along with pools and tennis courts. There are 13 dining options on-site and a lavish spa featuring a wide range of treatments and services. Rooms feature classic wood furnishings, down comforters and minibars.
Water surrounds the city of Holland, but just one hotel here fronts it, the seasonal Lake Ranch Resort. It overlooks a marina, made up of a collection of condos, many of which offer plenty of space for families. Everyone in the family will love the outdoor heated saltwater pool, and there’s also a play area for the kids and a shuffleboard court. Guests can cook their own dinner on the gas grills in the gazebo and enjoy spectacular sunsets too. Standard rooms offer cable televisions, minifridges and microwaves. Upgraded rooms add bunk beds and/or kitchenettes, while one and two-bedroom units come with separate living areas and sofabeds.
Mackinac Island offers a trip back to another time when locals and tourists get around on foot, bicycle or horse and carriage, with no motor vehicles allowed. Here you’ll find the historic Grand Hotel, which opened in 1897 and became famous worldwide thanks to the 1980 film “Somewhere In Time.” One of the best all-inclusive resorts in the United States for families, you can enjoy the 220-foot-long swimming pool, two nine-hole golf courses and a full summer schedule of children’s activities. The five-course dinner hosted in the Main Dining Room is a definite highlight and is included in the all-inclusive rates, along with a breakfast and lunch buffet. Guestrooms offer a wide variety of sleeping options including the opportunity to stay in one of seven suites named after and designed in collaboration with First Ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson.