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Old 29-12-2016, 08:24   #1
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Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

Hello, so I am on the verge of purchasing a boat, ( have seen a couple, and I think I found the one). Its going to be a small weekend/coastal sailor with some live aboard amenities. Anyway Im going to be sailing out of Monroe in Chicago. I know there are a ton of harbors I can explore and call home for a night, but are there any spots where I can drop anchor and live off the boat for the weekend before sailing back? If I have to move the boat farther north to reach parts like this I am open to it, but I'm curious if they exist. Any places you guys suggest I check out?
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Old 29-12-2016, 13:29   #2
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

The west side of Lake Michigan doesn't have much. The east side has a nice harbor about every 7 miles. It has to do with the formation of the lake and the rivers that emptied into it. IMO, the Michigan side of Lake Michigan is 10 x better than Wisconsin, except Door County, which is nice.

Use Google Earth. That's the easiest way to check the harbors out.
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Old 29-12-2016, 13:43   #3
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

Cool thanks for the heads up, I already a forming a list of harbors I would like to visit. The question Im trying to clarify is there anywhere on lake Michigan where you can drop anchor for the night, that isn't a developed harbor. I know there is a better term for it but Im having a brain fart.
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Old 29-12-2016, 13:53   #4
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

Not many on the actual lake. There is a bay on the South Manitou, a few on the west arm of Grand Traverse bay, a couple around Beaver Island.

But none that I'm aware of South of the Manitou's and Door County. But MANY of the harbors have great anchorages. The best harbors start at Whitehall and then go North. Portage Lake, Arcadia, Leeland - all excellent.
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Old 30-12-2016, 08:04   #5
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

Have you tried ActiveCaptain?
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Old 30-12-2016, 08:11   #6
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

There are tons of places to stay up and down the coast of Michigan, but it will take you a little while to get there! From Chicago, plan on sailing all night to get to the west coast of Michigan. There are lots of places to stay, on the hook. I think you will find most of the inlets pretty well developed with houses, etc. but there are some rustic places too. I'm in Holland, and it's on Lake Macatawa. Go to the back bay of Lake Macatawa and drop your hook on the north side. Paddle on over to Boatwerks Restaurant, and enjoy a great meal. Or take it up the coast to Pentwater, or up to Grand Traverse Bay. There are literally dozens of harbors and coves to explore up the coast. But it won't be a weekender.... since you are an average of 50 - 70 miles away... and it's open water sailing to get here. Also, don't overlook the Michigan DNR harbor slips. They are relatively cheap, can be gotten by reservation, and are really nice.
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Old 30-12-2016, 08:34   #7
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

I anchored seberal nights last summer off the sandy beach just north of the Port Washington breakwater. Beautiful at night and easy walk into a very nice harbor town. Just can't do it if the lake is rough. Good luck.
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Old 30-12-2016, 08:36   #8
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Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

I would 2nd Active Captain, in 2014 I delivered a boat from the Mississippi to the Detroit river. Out of 19 days I anchored out except for 3 stops in marinas for fuel or provisions I used Active Captain to identify free walls to tie up to and anchorages. The free walls were great because we could get of the boat walk around and visit some of the local watering holes. We went up the Michigan side of the lake, I think I added a screen shot from my iPad of 1 of the stops. Good luckClick image for larger version

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Old 30-12-2016, 08:47   #9
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

Look at places like New Buffalo, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor. All on the South end of the Lake Michigan on the Michigan shore. When you have longer than a weekend all of the Michigan coast is full of towns with inland lales,and rivers that connect to Lake Michigan. Write,if you get up to Charlevoix.
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Old 30-12-2016, 08:59   #10
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

Grand Traverse Bay Area:

West Side:
Northport Bay
Omena Bay
Suttons Bay
Bowers Harbor
Bottom of the Bay off the Traverse City Beach

East Side:
Old Mission Harbor
All along the west shore of the Old Mission Penninsula

Little Traverse Bay Area:

Round Lake & Lake Charlevoix
Harbor Springs

Beaver Island

The security and comfort of many good anchorages can change with the wind. Michigan maintains an excellent network of public marinas - call ahead or go on the state website for reservations. Marina facilities, showers, etc. are available for a small fee for anchored boats.

Invest a few bucks in the Great Lakes Cruising Guide (Amazon, West Marine. Have fun!
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Old 30-12-2016, 09:38   #11
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

Check Michigan for website, download able detailed pictures of harbor s
Good luck and good sailing
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Old 30-12-2016, 09:39   #12
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

That would be michigan Dnr website.
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Old 30-12-2016, 10:50   #13
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

In Chicago, the only place it is legal to anchor is "The Crib." Transient docking is available but can be expensive.
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Old 30-12-2016, 11:26   #14
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

About 5 miles north of Holland, MI is a small cove suitable for anchoring. I forget the name, but there are a couple of tall smoke stacks that make it easy to find. I think anchoring is permitted.

Better yet, Muskegon has a couple of areas. On the northwest of Lake Muskegon is an area near a beautiful state park.
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Old 30-12-2016, 11:54   #15
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Re: Lake Michigan, any place to anchor for a night?

You should look into Great Lakes Cruising Club, they have an extensive list of harbors and anchorage's. I always use their harbor reports along with Active Captain.
I'm also in Chicago and can tell you there is not much closer by for overnight anchorages.
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