5 Lesser-Known Michigan Lakes, Perfect for Summertime Fun

One of the best things to do during a Michigan summer is to head out to your favorite lake and relax on the shore, ride around in a boat or cool off with a swim. So which watering hole should you head to?

Don’t just consider the more famous ones like Torch Lake, Lake Fenton and Lake Michigan (the third-largest of the Great Lakes). There are actually lots of lesser-known options that have all the fun without the crowds. Here are five under-the-radar lakes from the Upper Peninsula to the thumb where you can spend a day of boating, paddle-boarding or kayaking:

  1. Spider Lake – Traverse City
    About 20 minutes south of Traverse City, Spider Lake is a great escape from the crowds that often fill the northern town. It has 450 acres of water, so it’s big enough for boating, and the shores are ideal for sunbathing.
  2. Big Star Lake – Baldwin
    With RV parks and campgrounds conveniently located along the coastline, Big Star Lake is perfect for an outdoor family getaway. And the little towns around the lake often have fun events going on, like boating parades and fishing competitions.
  3. Lac La Belle Lake – Keweenaw County
    For explorers looking for a more secluded experience, Lac La Belle in the Upper Peninsula is perfect. It’s a long drive there, but totally worth it for the beautiful view. Lac La Belle is also conveniently located near beautiful hiking trails for adventure seekers.
  4. Crystal Lake – Benzie County
    Though Crystal Lake is one of Michigan’s largest lakes, it somehow avoids becoming overrun with tourists. Crystal Lake happens to be a short drive from Stormcloud Brewing Company in Frankfort, so you can quench your thirst at the end of the day with locally brewed beer.
  5. Higgins Lake – Roscommon
    A shorter drive for people living near Detroit, Higgins Lake is surrounded by two state parks, including South Higgins State Park. Higgins Lake is a great spot for fisherman of all skill levels thanks to its clear water full of perch, trout and pike.

Have a favorite Michigan lake we didn’t mention? Share in the comments!


Photo credit: Wiltser

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Read 15 Comments

  1. I’ve heard that Michigan lakes are so beautiful, so it’s nice to know there’s some lesser known lakes that you can visit. Thanks for sharing the tips!

  2. thank you for posting this article as I found it helpful and valuable. I agree that all of these lakes are fun. What other lakes do you recommend for a fun family time?

  3. Short’s Brewery in Bellaire is nowhere near Crystal Lake in Benzie County. However, Stormcloud, one of Michigan’s best new breweries, is in the lovely city of Frankfort–in Benzie County, near Crystal Lake.

    1. You make a great point, Katherine. Stormcloud is a great local spot! We’ve updated the post to reflect your suggestion. Thanks for reading. Cheers!

  4. Higgins Lake is more known than they let on. It gets very populated during summer. I grew up going to Higgins Lake and still have a house there. Higgins Lake is beautiful.

  5. Houghton Lake is the largest man made lake in the USA,awesome. Swiming on North Shore 20 mins from town. Plenty of resorts to rent from, fishing is also great, walleye,northern pike and many more to catch.

  6. Um, Lake Superior and Lake Huron are both bigger than Lake Michigan. You’re article is factually wrong.

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