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Old 13-05-2024, 08:34   #1
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Lake Michigan Cruisers

Trying to decide what to go check out this summer…

Lake Michigan boaters what’s your favorite ports?
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Old 13-05-2024, 09:31   #2
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Re: Lake Michigan Cruisers

There are so many nice places to stay on Lake Michigan, you can seriously spend a whole month exploring this beautiful body of water.

The Michigan (eastern) shore of the lake has a number of small lakes connected to it by channels, and all have good harbors that afford anchoring and dockage. They vary according to their charm. Some of the most charming, according to my sensibilities, are:

Harbor Springs
Charlevoix
Pentwater
Grand Haven
Northport
Frankfort
Muskegon

Grand Traverse Bay just by itself will give you a week of cruising. Lake Charlevoix is also a place you must see.

Heading south, Saugatuck and South Haven are very nice. The Indiana Dunes, at the very south end, are spectacular. Sand dunes dominate the Michigan shore from Indiana all the way up to Charlevoix. It is the largest system of freshwater sand dunes in the world. Going ashore, you won't find better hiking anywhere in the upper Midwest until you get above the 45th parallel, or over to the north shore of Lake Huron in the North Channel.

Once you get west of Indiana Dunes, the industrial and commercial harbors of Gary, Chicago, Waukegan, and Milwaukee aren't so nice. Heading up the Wisconsin shore, Port Washington is very charming. In general, the Wisconsin shore is flat and not nearly as interesting as the Michigan shore until you get to the Door Penninsula, where the Niagara Escarpment rears up. The north part of Green Bay in particular is very beautiful. The Great Lakes Cruising Club is holding its annual rendezvous this year (2024) in Escanaba, located in Little Bay de Noc, on the north side of Green Bay. See https://www.glcclub.com.

Beaver Island is a must-see, you can rent a bike and ride around the island and see all kinds of historic sites. The island itself is very beautiful and takes you back to a simpler time.
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Old 13-05-2024, 10:12   #3
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Re: Lake Michigan Cruisers

Excellent reply. our home port is in the not so charming part west of the IN Dunes lol, but we like the marina. Very protected, good pricing, and relatively close to the house.

buuuuut... only thing to see outside of our marina is a drive by shooting.

Where do you dock for access to IN Dunes parks?
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Old 13-05-2024, 10:48   #4
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Re: Lake Michigan Cruisers

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Originally Posted by Thomas1985 View Post
Where do you dock for access to IN Dunes parks?
As far as I know, there is no marina at Indiana Dunes itself. Go there on a calm day and anchor off the beach and take the dinghy in or just swim.
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Old 13-05-2024, 11:02   #5
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Re: Lake Michigan Cruisers

Along the same lines looks like you could stay at Michigan City and run the dinghy back down the shore to Dunes parks.

Need to watch weather though... might be a wild ride in a 9' RIB with a 20 knot north wind
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Old 17-05-2024, 12:26   #6
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Re: Lake Michigan Cruisers

Booked a long weekend in Pentwater over 4th of July. Looks relaxing
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Old 17-05-2024, 13:13   #7
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Re: Lake Michigan Cruisers

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Booked a long weekend in Pentwater over 4th of July.
Pentwater is like a Norman Rockwell painting over the 4th, if you know what I mean. A real oldtime bandstand on the Village Green, people strolling Hancock Street with ice cream cones, the walk to the end of the breakwater for sunset, cruising the town docks to see where everyone is from...Used to spend every summer there growing up.
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Old 17-05-2024, 13:16   #8
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Re: Lake Michigan Cruisers

Great information and suggestions by Mich Eric.

I second Charlevoix and Lake Charlevoix... maybe during Venetian Festival if you're looking for some excitement... off-season if you're looking for a bit less traffic.
Beaver Island - fantastic... and yes, Grand Traverse Bay.
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