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11 Best Resorts on Lake Michigan, MI

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

Photo Source: Grand Hotel
Photo Source: Grand Hotel

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

Photo Source: Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection Hotels
Photo Source: Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection Hotels

Accommodation: Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection Hotels

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

Photo Source: Mission Point Resort
Photo Source: Mission Point Resort

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

Photo Source: The Homestead
Photo Source: The Homestead

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

5. The Harbor Grand Hotel, New Buffalo

Photo Source: The Harbor Grand Hotel
Photo Source: The Harbor Grand Hotel

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

Photo Source: Bayshore Resort
Photo Source: Bayshore Resort

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

Photo Source: Marina Grand Resort
Photo Source: Marina Grand Resort

Accommodation: Marina Grand Resort

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

Photo Source: Sugar Beach Resort Hotel
Photo Source: Sugar Beach Resort Hotel

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

Photo Source: Beaver Island Lodge
Photo Source: Beaver Island Lodge

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.

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

Photo Source: Beach Haus Resort
Photo Source: Beach Haus Resort

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

Photo Source: Beaver Island Retreat
Photo Source: Beaver Island Retreat

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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