Endless horizons, awe-inspiring sunsets, invigorating lake breezes—these are a few of the reasons people love spending time on Lake Michigan. West Michigan’s picturesque lakeshore is an enchanting place to be. Why limit your experience of the lake to day trips to public beaches and state parks? Find a vacation rental perched on the lakeshore and fill your whole vacation with the beauty of Lake Michigan. Here are some of the best Lake Michigan cottages to rent.
This newly remodeled home boasts beautiful lake views. Enjoy them in the cozy living room, the spacious dining room, or in the breezy screened porch. This home also boasts its own private beach, so you can sunbathe and swim to your heart’s content.
This quaint cottage is tucked in a shady woodland on the Lake Michigan coast. It’s a warm, cozy retreat that feels like home. It also offers a spacious private beach right on the lake, as well as some gorgeous bluff-top views.
Edgewater Beach Cottage’s decor seamlessly integrates its impeccable lake views. This cute cottage is a truly dreamy Lake Michigan escape. It’s great for a family vacation or a romantic couple’s getaway.
5 Reasons to start planning your 2019 summer vacation in Michigan right now
Get the dates you want at your ideal home base
Now is your chance to define your perfect summer vacation in Michigan and not let limitations on available dates do it for you. Popular summer vacation dates are already getting scooped up at some of our vacation rentals. Make your plans now and reap the benefits of having set your summer vacation plans in motion early.
Save on travel arrangements
If you’re arriving to your destination via plane, your best chance to save on airfare is to plan early—especially if your vacation falls on a popular travel time. Plus, you get first dibs on the best airplane seats.
Have something to look forward to through the dreary winter months
Winter is coming, and that means the sun is going to be hidden behind clouds more often than it isn’t for the next couple months. Getting your 2019 summer vacation plans set now means you’ll have something real to look forward to when it’s dark and dreary. Daydream about sunbathing on Oval Beach, hiking through Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and roasting s’mores around a beach bonfire.
Collaborate with travel companions more easily
One of the biggest struggles about travel planning is coordinating with everyone who’s going on the trip. When you start planning early on, it’s easier to make sure everyone is on the same page. Planning your summer vacation to Michigan early gives everyone ample time to request time off at work, make arrangements for pet sitters, and gear up for a fun trip to the Great Lakes state.
Nothing takes a load off your shoulders like checking something off on your to-do list. Taking care of next summer’s vacation plans now will ensure everything comes together exactly how you’re imagining it in your head. Once that’s all set, you can relax and focus on what’s in front of you.
You’re a month into the rush of school, work, and the usual fall hustle. You’re enjoying the autumnal vibes, but you’re busy, so it’s hard to bask in them completely. Graciously, there is a fall 3-day weekend coming up that is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of this gorgeous, ephemeral season. Columbus Day weekend is October 5-8, and there’s going to be plenty of fall events happening in Saugatuck to make the most of it.
Enjoy the crisp fall air and the changing colors of the scenery at Fenn Valley’s vineyard for another Music in the Vineyard session. Solo jazz guitarist Randy Reszka will perform on this weekend, and it’s sure to be a treat. Order a glass of Fenn Valley’s signature wines, sit back, and take in the autumn atmosphere.
Head to Wade’s Bayou for this outdoor harvest dinner featuring selections made with ingredients from local farms. Each course will celebrate the harvest season and feature a delicious beverage pairing.
Oval Beach is undoubtedly the most popular beach in Saugatuck, and it’s one of the most popular beaches on the Lake Michigan lakeshore. Its scenic sandy stretches led Condé Nast’s “Traveler” to name it one of the world’s best beaches. The famous beach is most frequented in summer, but it’s just as worthy of a visit in autumn. Here are 4 reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall.
4 Reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall
Park for free
After Labor Day, there is no parking fee at Oval Beach. In the early autumn days, the weather is still plenty nice to enjoy a swim in Lake Michigan or picnic with a view. Having cost-free access to this award-winning beach is a major perk of visiting in the fall.
Explore the dune trails
Oval Beach is connected to some beautiful hiking trails that are incredibly scenic in the fall season. Plus, the cooler temperatures make for a much more comfortable hike. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or even crisp enough for a few snowflakes, this is a hike you won’t want to miss. It’s a brilliant way to experience how fall changes the lakeshore.
Kayak and catch vibrant views
Kayaking along the Lake Michigan lakeshore is a great way to get views you can’t see on land. In fall, those views are bursting with color. If you go later in the day, the setting sun will set the lakeshore aglow. Morning, afternoon and evening, paddling on the lake is a great way to spend the day, and Oval Beach is a great, easy access point to put in your kayak.
Get cozy and watch the sunset
We’re on the sunset coast of Michigan here in Saugatuck, and that means every night the sun descends over Lake Michigan and creates astounding plays of light. In the cool fall, evenings are best spent wrapped in a warm blanket on Oval Beach watching the sunset. Bring a bottle of wine or a thermos full of hot cider or cocoa and enjoy each other’s company as day becomes night.
Get out and explore Saugatuck, Michigan’s diverse waterscape on a kayak and see views of the town unlike any you’ll see on land. These personal watercraft are easy to navigate and make for a fun day on the water. Choose to glide on Lake Michigan, Lake Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo River, Hutchins Lake, or Goshorn Lake. Whether you’re looking to paddle solo or tandem, you’ll find a variety of great businesses from which to rent kayaks in Saugatuck. Here’s everything you need to know to kayak in Saugatuck.
Offering single and tandem sit-on-top kayaks and surf kayaks, Just Add Water has rental kayaks that are perfect for a trip out on Lake Michigan. Sit-on-top kayaks keep you a little closer to the water and are much easier to get back into if you happen to fall out. And when the big lake is producing some sick waves, surf kayaks are designed to catch them and send you on a roller coaster of a ride. Just Add Water will deliver rental kayaks for a fee to Oval and Douglas Beach and within 2 miles. All rates and information are on the Just Add Water website.
Located right on Water Street in downtown Saugatuck, Big Lake Outfitters launches both single and tandem kayaks rentals right from their on-the-water location. Glide on the Kalamazoo River for a couple of hours, a whole day, or even a whole week. If your rental period is two or more days, Big Lake Outfitters will deliver to some nearby launch locations for a fee. Call Big Lake Outfitters directly for more information!
Running Rivers launches single and tandem kayak rentals right from Wade’s Bayou in Douglas. They also offer a selection “trips” you can take to explore Kalamazoo River through area wetlands and forests. Choose from trips as short as 1 hour to as long as 6 hours and see the natural landscape as you ride leisurely down the river.
Velocity Adventures offers kayak rentals in Saugatuck, Douglas, Fennville and the surrounding area. They will deliver kayaks to your desired launch site, including at the public beach and boat launch on Hutchins Lake. Velocity Adventures also offers guided tours of the Kalamazoo River—all of which end in scenic Saugatuck.
Kayak put-in sites in Saugatuck
There are quite a few public spots to launch your kayak in Saugatuck. Whether you want to embark the Kalamazoo River right from downtown, try the rigorous waters of Lake Michigan from a public beach, or take a casual ride around Lake Kalamazoo, here are a few kayak put-in locations to try.
Launch from Oval Beach to get a great views of Saugatuck’s scenic Lake Michigan shoreline and dunes. On wavy days, this is where you’ll want to launch your surf kayak. Oval Beach has no stairs and is just a short walk from the parking area.
Lake Michigan beaches are heavily frequented in summer. Diving in the clear blue water of the big lake is a great way to cool down in the sometimes oppressive summer heat. Here’s a secret: there are as many reasons to love Lake Michigan beaches in autumn as there are in summer. Here are a few ways to enjoy Lake Michigan beaches in fall.
Things to do on Lake Michigan beaches in fall
Take a swim
Seem crazy? Maybe. But Lake Michigan’s waters actually hold on to some warmth into the fall, making October swims feel not unlike June swims. Put on your suit and get thee to a beach–you’ll probably be the only ones there! Be prepared and check the beach forecast before you go.
Watch a sunset
Lake Michigan is picturesque at sundown at all times of year, but the golden hour just seems a little . . . golder in autumn. The warm light reflects off of the trees’ vibrant fall colors, making them appear to glow. Watch the sky turn beautiful shades of lavender, pink, and orange as the sun tucks itself into Lake Michigan.
Take a hike
There’s no better way to take in the fall colors than on a hike through the woods. Pick a park with Lake Michigan beach access, like Saugatuck Dunes State Park, to walk through miles of beautiful forest, inhale the fall smells, and land on a nearly empty beach. With nothing around but the brisk breeze, bristling leaves and crashing waves, inner peace is within reach.
Get on the water
Launch a kayak or stand-up paddle board on a Lake Michigan beach to see autumnal views of the shoreline, which comes even more to life dressed in red, yellow, and orange. For a slightly different but equally beautiful view, put your kayak in a river that feeds into the lake, like the Kalamazoo River, and explore the views along the way to Lake Michigan.
Your anniversary is coming up, and you want to give your spouse something special. You could go with the classic flowers, chocolates, or wine. You could indulge with some kind of luxurious gift, like an expensive watch or a deep tissue massage. Or you could conjure up a nostalgic gift, symbolic of the roots of your relationship. All could work just fine, but none seem to strike the right chord–one that truly celebrates your partnership.
You know what would? A vacation.
What better way to celebrate your marriage than to devote some time to nourishing it? Escape from your day-to-day responsibilities and just relax by each other’s side. You could go anywhere, but below you’ll find 7 reasons why you should make your destination Saugatuck, Michigan. Here are 7 vacation rentals perfect for an anniversary getaway in Saugatuck.
Best vacation rentals for an anniversary getaway in Saugatuck
Bluffs Cove is perched on the corner of a lakeside bluff and is thusly surrounded by gorgeous, uninhibited Lake Michigan views. Enjoy them from inside the cozy home through the wall to wall windows. Recline in the chairs on the deck and watch the sunset. When night falls, jump into the hot tub and stargaze.
Bedrooms: 2, Bathrooms: 1, Sleeps: 4, Dog Friendly
Nestled in a quiet spot on Lakeshore Drive, Out and About is an airy, updated cottage. It’s across from a beautiful nature preserve with a winding trail that leads to a Lake Michigan beach and overlook–a great spot to crack a bottle of wine and enjoy the sunset with one another.
This cozy 2 bedroom home is located just outside of downtown Saugatuck. Tucked at the end of a long driveway, The Nest feels like a forested retreat, but it’s within walking distance of the restaurants and attractions of downtown. Enjoy the clean, modern style elements in the home.
Swan Lodge offers rustic style and unreal woodland views. Enjoy the feeling of having escaped to the wilderness, along with the convenience of being just a brisk walk into downtown Saugatuck. Whether you want to stay in or explore the area, Swan Lodge is the perfect home base.
Bedrooms: 1, Bathrooms: 1, Sleeps: 4, Dog Friendly
You’ll struggle to find a home quainter than this historic mill surrounded by water views. The scenery is idyllic and the location is prime, with the delicious cuisine of The Southerner right down the road in one direction, and the rest of downtown Saugatuck in the other.
Bedrooms: 1, Bathrooms: 1.5, Sleeps: 4, Dog Friendly
This two-story apartment located above a downtown Saugatuck storefront puts you directly in the center of the energy of downtown, but once inside, the home feels like a peaceful oasis. Bright interiors and charismatic decor create an inviting environment that is sure to recharge you after a day at the beach or shopping around town.
When your family members live all over, it’s rare to get an opportunity to bring everyone together. But it is so important to make sure it happens. A vacation on the lakeshore could be just the thing to reconnect with everyone. These large Lake Michigan vacation rentals are great options for families of all shapes and sizes. Plan a Lake Michigan family vacation you and your family will remember for years to come.
Large Lake Michigan vacation rentals to host the whole family
We reckon you’ll find yourselves spending most of your vacation in one of two spots at this secluded lakeshore home: Either on the large, shady bluff-top deck, or on the sandy private beach. Grab a refreshing beverage, recline in an adirondack with a lake view, and set to catching up with your family members.
Chestnut Retreat’s open spaces are a breath of fresh air. Located just off of Lakeshore Drive in Douglas, this large vacation rental puts you within walking distance to Douglas Beach. Take advantage of the spacious gathering zones
Bringing together family with kids at a variety of different ages? You won’t find a better suited Lake Michigan vacation rental than Lake Perch. This home boasts a spacious lakefront yard, basketball hoop, tire swing and ping pong table. Adults will appreciate the cozy spaces to kick back both indoors and out, and everyone will enjoy the large private beach with direct access.
Bright Lazy Chase is the perfect home base for a family gathering. Located in a quiet, wooded Douglas cul-de-sac, it’s a peaceful retreat that’s conveniently close to area attractions. Updated and tastefully decorated, the whole family will love this cozy home.
Fennville is a small farm town that’s brimming with culture. As easily as you can catch an idyllic pastoral scene, you can find an inspiring meal made from ingredients grown nearby. The town is also mere minutes from the Lake Michigan lakeshore and its glittering lake views and sunny beaches. Stay in Lake Michigan beachfront vacation rentals in Fennville for the ultimate experience.
On your next trip to Fennville, stock up on fresh produce at Lyon’s Fruit Market, grab a bite and a brew at the What Not Inn and settle into your home on the lake. The days that follow are yours to fill with swimming, sunbathing or exploring the likes of Virtue Cider, Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant and Winery, Salt of the Earth, and more. These Lake Michigan beachfront vacation rentals will put you close to all of it.
Lake Michigan beachfront vacation rentals near Fennville
Prepare your kebabs in the kitchen and get out in this home’s spacious lakeside yard to grill, play yard games, and catch some sunshine. Kids will appreciate the basketball hoop and tire swing, and of course the wide private beach is sure to delight as well. This home is still available for the week of 4th of July!
The vacation vibes will set in the minute you step into this updated classic Lake Michigan cottage. With a spacious yard and private beach that extends as wide as the lot, enjoying the summer sunshine is easy at Mixed Doubles.
Tucked in a wooded cove on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, Beach Cottage is a cozy lakeside getaway. Read a book in the screened porch, sunbathe on the home’s private beach, and make s’mores around the fire pit.
Quaint Out and About is an updated cottage with clean, modern design elements. While not technically “beachfront,” his dog friendly vacation rental is down the road from a beautiful nature preserve that connects to a small, dog friendly Lake Michigan beach. Take your pup on a ten-minute woodland hike to arrive at the quiet public beach and overlook.
When the hustle of city life has reached a fever pitch, an escape to a slower pace is in order. Located just a two-hour drive from Chicago, Saugatuck/Douglas is a natural retreat that will restore your mellow. Whether you’re looking for a cabin with a rustic feel on the lakeshore, or a quiet wooded neighborhood close to town shops and restaurants, here are a few nature getaways in Saugatuck that will help you meet your nature needs.
Lake Michigan vacation rentals in the thick of nature
If you’re not much of a camper, but you could still use a good helping of nature, these vacation rentals along the Lake Michigan lakeshore are just what the doctor ordered.
Located just past where the pavement ends and before Lake Michigan begins, Ridgeway Cottage is a natural haven. The fresh scent of cedar greets you as you enter the quaint, rustic cabin with rough hewn wood walls. With amenities like a gas stove, a screened porch that envelops you in greenery, and a hot tub in the wooded backyard, you won’t want to leave!
This understated Lake Michigan cottage is tucked in the woods and perched on a bluff overlooking the Great Lake itself. Spend the day sunbathing on the private beach at the bottom of the stairs, grill dinner in the shady front yard, and then close the day with a bonfire and stargazing.
Across the street from Out and About, you’ll find a dreamy nature preserve. A 10-minute walk through a winding woodland delivers you to a petite, dog friendly Lake Michigan beach and overlook. The home features light, breezy interiors that will only make it easier to clear your mind during your natural getaway, and your pup is more than welcome to join.
Pack up a bag with beach towels and sunscreen and take your family on a walk to Douglas Beach when you stay at By the Beach. When you’ve worked up a sufficient appetite, hike back to the home and grill out in the backyard. Wind down around the firepit and retreat to the home’s cozy beds when the day is done. You can hear the gentle echoes of Lake Michigan right from this home’s front deck.
Nature getaways in Saugatuck that are close to town
Even in town, nature pervades Saugatuck/Douglas. You can’t escape the calm afforded by tranquil water views, birdsong, and lush greenery throughout the area.
One mile from downtown Saugatuck and Douglas, this home has all the hallmarks of a secluded woodland getaway with convenience of location. The modern, minimalist stylings through the home are sure to inspire zen, too.
Step into this home’s four seasons porch and marvel at the untouched landscape that makes up the Tallmadge Nature Preserve across the coursing river. With remarkable views in every season, time spent in this room alone will cure whatever ails you, and the delicious cuisine of The Southerner is dangerously nearby.
This log cabin-style home’s location puts it a 4-5 block walk from downtown Saugatuck and right next to a nature preserve, making for a perfect natural getaway that’s not too far from town attractions. Take in lush woodland views from the cabin’s two-story windows. Have a meal with a side of fresh air in the cozy screened porch.
Fresh, modern decor and a feeling of wooded seclusion make this home, located one mile from downtown Saugatuck, a relaxing retreat. Take a leisurely stroll into town or drive for a day on Oval Beach. When it’s time to turn in, The Nest is a restorative refuge.