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Old 17-08-2016, 06:15   #1
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Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

I'm going to make a trip up to Traverse City from Muskegon in my boat in a few weeks and am looking for anchoring information you may share on ports from Whitehall up to Northport and Traverse Bay.

While I'm OK with getting a transient slip occasionally, I'd prefer to be on the hook as I am travelling with my dinghy and can get ashore if needed. Anyone have any good anchorages in:
  • Pentwater
  • Ludington
  • Portage Lake
  • Arcadia
  • Manistee
  • Leland
  • The Manitous

I draw about 4'6" (Cal 30)

Murph'
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Old 17-08-2016, 07:56   #2
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

I was just up there in July and can comment on a few of those listed.

Portage lake: Good anchorage, excellent depth, but do not go to the east end of the lake, it gets, and stays shallow for quite a while. We anchored just inside the lake along the Northwest shoreline. We anchored right off of Portage Point Inn, an old resort that is coming back to life. We called the manager and he let us row up and tie off our dinghy at their docks. It is a rather all inclusive resort, onsite ice cream shop, and a restaurant that was slated to open soon(licensing)..we were there right after the 4 of July. Depths around 20-30 near shore, it gets really deep...

South Manitou island has a fantastic bay on the Southeast side, with good anchorage very close to shore in a few spots, also gets VERY deep, and fast.

Pentwater was really nice, no designated anchorage, if I recall, but plenty of boats moored, downtown is right there inside the bay. Pentwater Municipal Marine is right downtown, call them for a dinghy dock access. We didn't go ashore, but have walked downtown when driving, very nice.

Charlevoix has a special anchorage on the NE corner of the lake, which is located right off of downtown, lots of shops and dining. I believe there is a yacht club adjacent to downtown, I do not recall the name exactly, but we rowed in and they let us tie off and walk around. Going from memory, so I hope I got this one right.

Manistee didn't have an anchorage, but a good Municipal marina, right along the boardwalk downtown, not many places to eat downtown, we walked a bit and there are some shops. Basically it is a river with a boardwalk.

The others: consult the charts, I hope this helps....
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Old 17-08-2016, 08:46   #3
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

You can anchor in almost all the ports on the Michigan side. Only ones that come to mind that you can't are Leland which is a small man made harbor with no room and Manistee which is a river. You could anchor in Manistee Lake but there's two draw bridges to go through and nobody does that. South Manitou is nice but unreliable. If the wind goes east, you have to leave. The shore is so steep you'll be on the beach before your anchor resets.
We love Frankfort, we were there last month and spent three days.
Where are you in Muskegon? We're on a mooring at Hartshorn.
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Old 17-08-2016, 09:56   #4
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
Where are you in Muskegon? We're on a mooring at Hartshorn.
I am North of you at the best deal on the Great Lakes: Muskegon Conservation Club. We are just west of where the Muskegon River opens into Muskegon Lake.

I had pretty much ruled out Manistee and Leland for anchoring. For anyone going to White Lake, check out the two moorings near the SW corner off the White Lake Yacht club. You are close to the fuel dock and, best of all, they don't charge for mooring overnight (or didn't when I visited).

Did you anchor in Frankfort of get a transient in the Municipal Marina?

Thanks to all for your inputs!

Murph'
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Old 17-08-2016, 10:23   #5
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

We anchored off the east end of the city marina. Good holding at about 18 feet. Gets shallower and weedy as you go east. Another boat that was leaving as we came in said he dragged in the weeds. Between the marina and launch ramps there's a nice dinghy dock, grocery store right there and about 5 blocks to the main shopping area.

I like the Conservation Club too. If we ever move back to a slip I'll be looking there first.
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Old 17-08-2016, 14:32   #6
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

I used to cruise Traverse Bay/northern Lake Michigan every year. going into Charlevoix, you wait for a bridge, then enter Round Lake. Round Lake has terrible holding and lots of trash on the bottom. I usually went on through Round Lake and onto Lake Charlevoix (not very far), turn right and you're in front of Irish's Boat Shop. Good holding; there' grass on the bottom, so be aware of that.

Leland can get crowded.

Northport is a great little port; just south of it is Omena Bay, another great little spot. Omena Bay is a fjord, a shelf runs around it with (from memory) about 10' of depth, then it's deep deep in the middle.

I lived in Suttons Bay for eight years and I'm definitely prejudiced: it's the best place up there. LOts of space to anchor, a great municipal marina, shops and restaurants and a movie theater.

Apple Island on West Traverse Bay is fun too. It's a state park; anchor on the east side.
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Old 18-08-2016, 06:38   #7
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

Manistee Lake, near the public launch, offers excellent anchorage. The bridge tenders are VERY helpful ... almost giddy ... seems that on many days they don't get to open the bridges at all. Just be sure to ask them for a "full opening" if you don't have lots of bascule experience. Less than 10 minute dingy ride to public marina in town where you can tie up for free. Be aware that the river itself has a 4 kt current, but no current where I recommend to anchor. Pentwater also has good anchoring near downtown and a public dingy dock. Personally, I am wary of South Manitou ... lots of debris on the bottom and if the wind is out of any direction with an "E" watch out !!! Leland is a nice town, excellent public marina ... worth the fee IMHO .. and no sheltered place to anchor. Alan
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Old 18-08-2016, 11:19   #8
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

If you head south from Muskegon are there places to anchor?
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Old 26-08-2016, 12:14   #9
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

Go to the active captain website. It has anchorage locations for all those locations with recent reviews by other sailors. except for Leland.
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Old 26-08-2016, 13:13   #10
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Re: Lake Michigan (East) Port Anchorages

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Originally Posted by twig View Post
If you head south from Muskegon are there places to anchor?
Grandhaven tie to the wall downtown no charge.
Port Sheldon not much on shore but sheltered spot to stop. Holland many places to anchor. Saugatuck Anchorage is small but usually room plus dinghy dock by the town park. South of there nothing I know of.
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