Best Places for an Inland Lake Vacation in the Great Lakes State

Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State because it is almost entirely surrounded by the massive Great Lakes. These, along with the mitten shape, define Michigan to the rest of the world, but few realize that the glaciers that carved out the Great Lakes also carved out hundreds of smaller lakes that are perfect for a fun summer vacation. You won’t find any towns along Michigan’s coast on this list. This is all about the best places for a Michigan lake vacation without going to the Great Lakes.

Burt Lake and Mullet Lake

These lakes are placed together on this list because not only to both deserve to be here, but they are also right next to each other, meaning you can stay closer to either one while still having the option to head over to the other. Burt Lake is famous for Burt Lake State Park, which straddles the southern end of the lake and offers a campground for a fun vacation option. Miles of hiking trails and a sandy shoreline define the appeal of this lake, and its waterway that connects it to the surrounding lakes allows visitors to explore for a little adventure. Mullet Lake holds the record for largest inland sturgeon caught in Michigan while also boasting large populations of multiple types of trout, which means its fishing opportunities are unparalleled.

Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell

Similar to the above suggestion, Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell are right next to each other in the small town of Cadillac, MI, but these two are separated only by a narrow bridge of land barely wider than the road on it. Between the two are 3,700 acres of pure summer fun, including great fishing, boating, watersports, and beaches. The lakes’ appeals don’t end when summer does, however, as Northern Michigan comes to life in the cold with opportunities for snowmobiling, ice skating, and ice fishing on the lake all winter long. The Mitchell State Park touches both lakes and offers camping, trails, and beaches. Both lakes are also surrounded by vacation homes you can rent for a vacation away from hotels as well.

Lake Gogebic

Lake Gogebic is the largest lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or the UP. Both locals and out-of-towners flock to the lake every summer for its excellent fishing and waterfalls. The lake is famous for its waterfalls, some of which are right on the lake while others require a little adventurous searching to find. To accommodate those who come every year to search for the hidden waterfalls, dozens of hiking trails and paths surround the area for a little extra fun. Water sports are a major aspect of the lake during the summer, but winter also turns the lake into a sheet of ice perfect for ice skating and fishing. The lake is far enough north that it even experiences the northern lights on a regular basis, meaning you can see one of the world’s great wonders while you enjoy your vacation.

Houghton Lake

Houghton Lake is one of the largest lakes on this list and is a major tourist destination because of it. This means there are always exciting events happening on or around like contests, wine tastings, festivals, concerts, classes, and more. The town is also large enough to boast exceptional spas, tasty dining options, great nightlife, and more to keep you entertained all vacation long. Multiple campgrounds surround the lake for easy access, and vacation homes along the shore are always open for rental. The nearby state park has plenty of hiking trails, picnic areas, and fun places to explore while the town offers great shopping and attractions. The lake’s size also means a large number of options for fun on the water like canoeing, boating, skiing, wakeboarding, and much more.

Maple Lake

Maple Lake is just one of several inland lakes that surround Paw Paw, MI, all of which boast great fun and adventure thanks to the town they call home. The surrounding area is full of Michigan wineries and breweries, emphasized and celebrated by the Paw Paw Wine and Harvest Festival. The town offers delicious restaurant options, boutique shopping, and great attractions like galleries while the lake offers sunbathing, watersports, swimming, and more. Some of the most popular lake actives include kayaking and water skiing. Other activities also include multiple golf club options, extensive bike trails, theater, and more.

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