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Old 21-01-2014, 10:26   #31
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

appick said, "Manistee and Portage Lakes: I've never been too yet..."

Manistee - You'll be on a river here without any really suitable anchorage, but the municipal (MI DNR) marina was recently rebuilt and is now quite nice. You can walk to the state beach on Lake Michigan from the marina along the boardwalk or cross the bridge to go into town. Manistee has an old town feeling, but is reasonably nice. You're limited how far up river you can go by low bridges, so you'll likely be staying at the municipal marina if you visit. It can get crowded during fishing tournaments.

Portage Lake: We've stayed multiple times both the Portage Point Inn marina and anchored off the marina on the opposite shore. The marina is newer with wooden floating docks and nice water. Portage Lake itself is quite nice, but the Inn seems to have gotten a little more and more rundown each time we've visited over the last 3 or 4 years. Still, there's a decent restaurant and beach as well as a short trail across the street that will get you to the Lake Michigan beach. We've never been further down the lake to Onekema, so I can't say how the marina/facilities are over there. Watch the channel entrance to the Portage Lake coming in from Lake Michigan carefully as shoaling can be a problem (A Mac racer ran aground and sunk here a few years ago escaping a storm).

Arcadia: We've only ever anchored here and never used the marina or went to shore. The anchorage in Arcadia Lake is quiet and suitable for a quick duck in off the big lake if you need rest or shelter.
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Old 21-01-2014, 15:19   #32
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

Somehow you have all overlooked one of the nicest places to stop, SOUTH HAVEN. With multiple municipal marinas (including a brand new North side marina facility), easy access to downtown, fuel, repairs, restaurants, great ice cream and the hospitable South Haven Yacht Club, immediately available, it's a great place to park for a week. For kids, there are dedicated playgrounds, skate parks and beaches all within 2-3 blocks. Yes, it's my home port but it's not to be missed.

Let me add something about Arcadia. It's a nice place to anchor and the small municipal is very hospitable, but there is not much there. If you like to fish, Lake Arcadia is great for kids, but that's about it. The closest restaurant is about 1/2 mile away.

This year I don't think that water depths will be a problem. Between the cold weather (which formed ice and retarded evaporation) and the snow, we should have increased depths at all marinas.

The bottom line is that Lake Michigan offers the opportunity for fabulous sailing along with great places (on both sides of the Lake) to visit. A Catalina 30 is an excellent choice for a first boat for a family of 4. The Pearson 30 is probably more solidly built but less spacious inside.

Remember, don't postpone Joy!
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Old 21-01-2014, 15:36   #33
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

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Originally Posted by svHannabel View Post
Thanks. Nope, didn't get any crayfish but wish we would have since we love Etoufe! Had lots of poutine in Little Current, though.
Naturally - Ya sure, eh?
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Old 21-01-2014, 15:52   #34
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

We did an entire summer on Lake Michigan a few years back with me and my wife, our 12 year old daughter, and two of her friends in a Pearson Vanguard 32. It was the best cruise ever. The only suggestion I would make is to not try and cover too much water. I would second the White Lake Yacht Club. You can anchor out and visit the club. It is like going back in time. Pentwater is nice and Frankfort is fun for kids. Great Beach. Stop at South Manitou Island, Leeland, Beaver Island. From there you can head across to Door County or head north to Mackinac Island and the North Channel. The winds can be light in the summer so if you don't want to motor a lot you may want to leave the North Channel for another time. Take your time, have fun, and don't try and keep to a specific itinerary.
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Old 21-01-2014, 16:01   #35
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

If you cross the lake, we have really enjoyed our time in Milwaukee. Great world class art museum (building done by the Sydney opera house architect), Great river walk, lots of nice bars & restaurants. 2-1/2 hour high speed ferry to Muskegon and courtesy shuttle from the ferry dock to downtown. River boat tours and a large protected harbor with marinas and anchoring out.
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Old 21-01-2014, 16:05   #36
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

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If you cross the lake, we have really enjoyed our time in Milwaukee. Great world class art museum (building done by the Sydney opera house architect), Great river walk, lots of nice bars & restaurants. 2-1/2 hour high speed ferry to Muskegon and courtesy shuttle from the ferry dock to downtown. River boat tours and a large protected harbor with marinas and anchoring out.
I agree completely. Milwaukee is our home port and you could spend a lot of time there. We will be cruising north this summer so if you need a free mooring send me a pm and you can use ours.
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Old 20-06-2016, 09:36   #37
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Re: Family cruising the Great Lakes

anyone own a Starwind ?
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