Chicago | March 11, 2014 9:00 am

Summer Rental Guide

By The Editors

We have a vision. A vision of the ultimate summer vacation.

There is a lake. There is a cooler of beer. There are children frolicking, and you can make those children get you more beer.

And there is also a house. It’s not the house that belongs to your friend. It’s yours. At least for the weekend.

Summer is closer than you think, gents. Below, our top five picks for the most desirable rentals, from Lake Geneva to Northern Michigan. Act quickly. Because the best homes  the ones with their own private beach? Yeah, they go quick.

Saugatuck, MIKnotty Pines

The newest rental at the private waterfront cabin community of Kingfisher Cove, this handcrafted cedar cabin comes complete with private hot tub and backyard grill. Enjoy private access to Goshorn Lake, while a short stroll takes you to the cleanest shores this side of Lake Michigan: Oval Beach.

South Haven, MI The Lighthouse

If you want to be mere steps away from the sand, try this charming beach house with a spacious upper deck where you’ll relax and unwind. Your door leads straight to the beach, where boating, kayaking and other beachside activities await.

Fontana, WI The Lakefront Estate

Built in the 1890s, this plantation-style home sleeps 18 and offers a second-floor balcony boasting gorgeous views of Geneva Lake. But the big draw here: a private pier that juts right onto the water, with downtown Lake Geneva a minutes drive (or boat ride) away.

New Buffalo, MIWest Indie Seclusion 

For a peaceful place to stretch your legs, this four-acre estate with classic French stylings and open-air rooms will suit your needs. The main house is connected to a coach house by a dramatic whitewashed veranda, while a private beach acts as your backyard.

Glen Arbor, MIHarry Weese Lakeside Cottage

For a touch of cozy modern in Northern Michigan, direct your attention to this lovely 1938 Glen Lake retreat designed by Chi architect Harry Weese. Admire the clean lines and relax amidst modernist furniture and trappings. Explore the outdoors at nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes.