Michigan features shorelines on four out of five Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie. Filling in the land surrounding the Great Lakes is rich, fertile farm land where blueberries, cherries, asparagus and grapes flourish. Along the coastline of these lakes are varied beach communities that welcome visitors all year long with ice skating and ice fishing popular in the winter months. Choosing the right town to start your search for the ideal Great Lakes vacation rental for your family is a challenge, but here is a cheat sheet to the top 10rental locations near the Great Lakes.

1. Grand Haven

Located along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, Grand Haven has one of the best beaches on the Great Lakes, where you and your family can enjoy boating, kayaking, and swimming. Take a walk down the Grand Haven pier to cast your line and catch dinner for a meal back at your vacation rental and then stroll down to the historic lighthouse at the end. In the winter months, visit nearby Mulligan’s Hollow for some time on the ski slopes.

2. Empire Beach

Find a vacation rental that allows dogs and brings your best friend along on this family vacation. Empire Beach is a town that welcomes dogs and their owners to stroll down the streets and enjoy a beverage at an outdoor cafe. Let your dog and kids run in the sand and chase the surf at the town’s beach. Load everyone in the car for a slow drive along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive with its amazing views and stunning scenery.

3. Glen Arbor

When you decide to stay in Glen Arbor, your family is just minutes from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Spend your days hiking through the trails in this national park and find stunning views as you stand on a sand dune that towers 400 feet above Lake Michigan. Rent a boat and make your way out to the island that’s included in this national park, and let the kids climb and then roll down the sand dunes over and over again before taking a stroll around the island’s lighthouse.

4. Manistee

On Lake Michigan in the friendly town of Manistee, you and your family can kick back and relax in a low-key beach town with the popular and beautiful Orchard Beach State Park. Spend your days soaking up the sun on this small pristine beach while the kids try their hand at kayaking or paddle boarding on the lake. Stroll along the pier to the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse, and then let the kids burn off some energy at the playground next to the pier.

5. St. Ignace

Nestled between Lakes Huron and Michigan, the town of St. Ignace offers stunning fireworks over the lake each year. If you don’t make it for the Fourth of July, take the ferry from here to Mackinac Island State Park. As you stroll along the island, have lunch at the Grand Hotel. You might recognize this hotel from the 1980s movie ‘Somewhere in Time’ with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour. The island doesn’t allow cars, so treat the family to tour in the back of a horse-drawn carriage.

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6. Manistique

Enjoy a day on the beach flying kites with a vacation rental along Lake Michigan in the town of Manistique. To learn more about the local area, take the kids to the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse for a tour and the Fayette State Park and Historic Town Site to hear more about what life was like in this area in the 1800s. In Palms Book State Park, you and your family can take a hike and see the Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest spring.

7. Copper Harbor

Catch a mess of fish on at one of the best towns on the Great Lakes for fishing, Copper Harbor. Take a guided tour at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park to learn more about the area’s military history and check out the lighthouse that dates back to 1844. After the tour, hop on your bikes and ride around the trails of this historic site. Stroll along the beach at Hunter’s Point Park or hike one of the trails for beautiful views of the lake.

8. Rogers City

Located on the shores of Lake Huron, Rogers City is also known as the Salmon Capital of Michigan, so make sure to find a new favorite restaurant each evening and enjoy the bounties of the Great Lakes. Visit Hoeft State Park for a hike through the woods that leads to a mile of beaches with crystal clear water that beckons your family to cool off with a swim.

9. St. Joseph

Spend time reconnecting with your family on the Tiscornia Park in St. Joseph along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and enjoy a picnic lunch under the sheltered area. For a break from nature, take the kids to the Curious Kids’ Museum, where they can let their imaginations flourish as they play television news desk and run a pretend vet clinic.

10. Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area

Get outside and active when you choose a vacation rental in the Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area with its towering sand dunes along Lake Michigan. Fill your days with fishing, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and spending time with the kids. Hitch a trailer to your car and bring your ATVs for some fun trail rides.

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