The 20 Best Lake Michigan Airbnbs, The Third Coast of the United States
From woodland cottages to sprawling lakeside retreats to a literal Frank Lloyd Wright
The Midwest is home to more than commercial farms, small towns and wide-open spaces, despite what “coasties” might tell you. In fact, America’s heartland is overflowing with an abundance of travel destinations both urban and rural that can hold their own with the country’s best oceanside retreats, and many of these havens can be found along the iconic coast of Lake Michigan.
As one of the most expansive lakes in the world and the largest to be found entirely in one country, Lake Michigan boasts more than 1,600 miles of shoreline, much of which is less than three hours north of Chicago. It’s accessible and full of charm, great food, seclusion and natural beauty.
If you’re planning for post-pandemic travel with family or friends, it’s time you explored somewhere new. Whether you’re mapping out a romantic getaway or looking for a weekend with the boys, there are wonderful Airbnbs to meet your needs along the lake, the best of which we’ve compiled below.
From rustic tiny homes to peaceful cabins to a woodland compound or two, we’ve got you covered. Plan your next trip to Lake Michigan with one of our favorite Airbnb destinations.
Location: Michigan City, IN
Vibe: Someone built a modern single-story home surrounded by 170 acres of sustainable farmland.
Amenities: Lake access. Lots of natural light. Outdoor patio. Office space. Wood-burning fireplace. High ceilings. Walking trails.
Other things to know: Because the home is designed to promote natural light and a deeper connection with nature, many windows are free of shades or blinds. There also isn’t a full-size oven.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “A refrain for the weekend was how lucky we felt and how wonderful a home this was. It felt magical to wake up surrounded by trees.”
Location: Egg Harbor, WI
Vibe: A modern escape near the water that pulls the plug on kitschy lake rentals.
Amenities: Floor-to-ceiling windows. Heated floors. Queen-sized sleeper sofa. Dedicated workspace. Security cameras.
Other things to know: This space is connected to three other single-story flats of the same style, but each has its own entrance, designated parking space and private outdoor patio.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “Modern, cozy and well-appointed lodge, perfect for winter (and I’m sure summer) getaway. The heated floors were a treat, bed was comfortable and location was central.”
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI
Vibe: Historic 1800s architecture meets remodeled simplicity in a home that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Amenities: Fireplace. Dedicated office. Newly remodeled. Long-term stays welcome. Close to downtown Sturgeon Bay.
Other things to know: It’s located in the downtown region of a small village on the Door Peninsula, so be prepared for a few “downtown sounds” every now and then.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “A great place tucked away in a corner of the city, in perfect walking distance to local coffee shops, restaurants, and stores. I chose Sturgeon Bay as my ‘home base’ while in Door County and it worked out so well.”
Location: Saugatuck, MI
Vibe: A studio cottage straight from the pages of Henry David Thoreau.
Amenities: Hot tub. Covered patio. Gas grill. Two bikes. Multiple lakes nearby. Walk to town. Views of the water.
Other things to know: This charming cottage is located only steps from Kalamazoo Lake, and one mile from the Lake Michigan waterfront by foot. The space is small but perfect for couples.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “This little cottage was perfect for a weekend getaway. Close to Oval Beach and not too far from Holland State Park, it was the perfect home to come back to after a day spent exploring Lake Michigan.”
Location: Charlevoix, MI
Vibe: If Paul Bunyan and Martha Stewart fell in love, this would probably be their summer cabin.
Amenities: Storage loft. In-wall heaters. Walking trails. Bike path. Lots of natural light. Instagram-worthy pictures.
Other things to know: At 200 square feet, this tiny home is indeed small, but supports those looking for a minimalist escape. To access the sleeping loft, you’ll need to climb a ladder.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “This Airbnb is worth every penny. There are plenty of things to do inside the tiny home and the host provides many tips and recommendations for local food, beaches, walking trails, etc.”
Location: Suttons Bay, MI
Vibe: The type of place where a local, unconventional scientist would spend extended periods of time studying the night sky.
Amenities: Fireplace. Sound system. Dedicated office space. Garage door window. Breathtaking views. Close proximity to six wineries.
Other things to know: Hilltop location offers some of the best views of the surrounding Leelanau Peninsula.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “The place is cozy with a nice warm fireplace, TV, and games if you just want to have a night in, or close to many wineries, hiking, and just a short drive to Traverse City if you want to adventure out.”
Location: Muskegon, MI
Vibe: A classic beachfront bungalow that actually feels like a beachfront bungalow. Ideal for families.
Amenities: Waterfront access. Firepit. Patio. Deck. Adirondack chairs. Loads of natural light.
Other things to know: This Airbnb shares space with another vacation property on the premises, but the two are not connected. You may see other guests in the adjacent property from time to time.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “We had two private deck areas that were perfect for watching the sunset or sitting outside to enjoy the view. It was nice to cap out the day with a delicious meal on the gas grill, and enjoy a bonfire!”
Location: Racine, WI
Vibe: Even if you’re not on the water, you’re watching it ebb and flow from the living room. Or any one of the three bedrooms.
Amenities: Beach essentials. Finished basement. Insane bathtub. French doors. Walking trails. Views of the water. No service fee.
Other things to know: The closest beach on Lake Michigan is just three blocks away, but water levels dictate if the beachfront is present.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “I cannot speak highly enough about this incredible spot. The views are beautiful and the space in this house is without bounds! I was able to catch a sunrise one morning over the lake and it’s definitely in the top three I’ve ever seen.”
Location: Baileys Harbor, WI
Vibe: Your friend invites you to what they describe as “a little place in the woods” but it turns to be a beautiful cabin only steps from the lake.
Amenities: Outdoor firepit. Walking trails. Patio. Tons of natural light. High ceilings. Crazy nice kitchen. Seclusion.
Other things to know: Great access to all of Door County yet insulated from the hustle and bustle of the world beyond the woods.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “A true retreat in a modern, clean snd stylish house. We were able to hike on the trail right outside the front door and it is walking distance to the lake.”
Location: Sister Bay, WI
Vibe: The cabin that outdoorsy travel photographer you follow on Instagram is always posting from.
Amenities: Woodstove. Screened-in porch. Spiral staircase. Loft. Plenty of private woods to explore. Natural light. Updated kitchen and living room. Toys for the kids.
Other things to know: The cabin is a short five-minute drive to nearby Sister Bay with easy access to all of Door County.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “A wonderful space and a great location. You’re in the woods and get that ‘off the grid’ feeling, but still so close to town to do all the tourist things!”
Location: South Haven, MI
Vibe: Your aunt who sells essential oils hosts family, friends and meditation retreats from her waterfront home.
Amenities: Private lakefront. High ceilings. Covered deck. Complete remodel. Close proximity to downtown, state parks. Firepit. Grill.
Other things to know: This bungalow receives spotty cell service and the internet isn’t high-speed. Your phone may switch between eastern and central time zones.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “The view of the lake from the back porch was incredible — the perfect place to sit in the morning with coffee or in the evening to watch the sunset.”
Location: Two Rivers, WI
Vibe: The built version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Life Magazine “Dream House.” Need we say more?
Amenities: Library. Expansive living room. River dock. Fireplaces. Firepit. Large lawn. Games. Lots of exposed brick. Hammock. All those weird little architectural tics that make a Lloyd Wright a Lloyd Wright.
Other things to know: There’s no air conditioning but the microclimate created by the lake provides temperatures around 15 degrees cooler than inland locations.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “Have you ever wanted to time travel? This is as close as it comes. The moment you walk into this beautiful curated FLW home a transformation happens. Sent to decades past and welcomed with a handshake.”
Location: Muskegon, MI
Vibe: From the antique furniture to the soft color scheme, this is your grandma’s home.
Amenities: Private backyard. Grandfather clock. Walking distance to Muskegon Lake. Deck. Screened-in house. Koi pond. Close to local breweries, farmer’s markets. Enclosed front porch.
Other things to know: This cozy refuge is within walking distance of Muskegon Lake and two miles from Lake Michigan.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “The bungalow’s decor was all vintage and so charming, and all the little touches added to the ambiance of the house. We especially loved the outdoor patio where we had most of our meals, while admiring all the koi and frogs in the ponds.”
Location: Stevensville, MI
Vibe: A spacious cottage made from stone and reclaimed wood from a historic rollercoaster.
Amenities: Upstairs lounge room. Countless sliding doors. Firepit. Natural light. Nearby bakeries, beaches and trails. A-frame charm.
Other things to know: The house is surrounded by woods but close to the local interstate, though noise isn’t an issue.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “We really enjoyed the state parks, downtown St. Joseph, and the local town of Stevensville. You gotta check out the grocery store Martin’s!”
Location: Algoma, WI
Vibe: The local tech magnate that moved to the Bay Area still has a house on the lake, just in case.
Amenities: Beach. Tennis court. Basketball court. Tiki bar. Cinema. Walking trails. Commercial kitchen. High Ceilings. Surround sound system. Five decks. Kayaks. Game room. Hot tub. Custom-made lighthouse.
Other things to know: Internet connectivity is poor due to the home’s remote location. Great access to Door County.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “If you’re tasked with finding a home for the entire family that provides everything you could ever need, look no further.”
Location: Racine, WI
Vibe: You don’t own a boat, but this is the boat you would own if you did.
Amenities: Waterfront access (obviously). Marina with hot tubs, pool, store, showers and laundry. You get to stay on a boat.
Other things to know: Understand the realities of staying on a boat. The cabin is ideal for couples. And no, you can’t take it out for a spin.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “Once at the marina, you’ll feel at home walking to the gate and down the pier to your piece of paradise. Here you’ll have all the amenities of a 5-star hotel wrapped up on a small slice of Heaven.”
Location: Racine, WI
Vibe: Historic home meets West Elm.
Amenities: Two-story sunroom. Original brick and wood. Stocked kitchen. Beach essentials. Patio. Fresh eggs from chickens. Security cameras. Grill. Sleeps nine.
Other things to know: Chickens don’t return to the property until the summer of 2021 (sorry).
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “The house is spacious, well decorated and well furnished. There’s lots of natural light too. We enjoyed the backyard with the chickens and the fact that it was a short walk to the lake.”
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI
Vibe: You couldn’t get any closer to the water unless you rented a house on stilts.
Amenities: Firepit. Water within literal feet of the back door. Flatscreen television. Wood fireplace. Panoramic views. Natural light.
Other things to know: There are lots of outdoor hanging and sitting areas. It’s also not quite in town — about a 15-minute drive away.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “The setting was so private and secluded and peaceful, but it was still only 15 minutes away from downtown Sturgeon Bay and a little more than 30 minutes from Egg Harbor.”
Location: Two Rivers, WI
Vibe: Your aging riverside cabin is fully restored with a surplus of modern comforts and room for the whole family.
Amenities: Three-season sunroom with a bar and fireplace. Firepit (wood included). Dock for boats. Multiple patios. Waterfront access. Kayaks. Paddleboard. Canoe. Bikes.
Other things to know: The home is located on the West Twin River that feeds into nearby Lake Michigan. Take any of the watercraft for a spin to access the lake or bike 20 minutes to the local marina.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “The place is outfitted with games, kayaks, fishing poles, wood for bonfires, and more making it unnecessary to leave the house for entertainment.”
Location: Northport, MI
Vibe: The eccentric CEO from Ex Machina owns a small place on Lake Michigan.
Amenities: Wall-to-wall windows. Sunken living room. Sound system. Board games. Fireplace. Central air. Dedicated workspace. Grill. Wrap-around porch. Soaking tub. Rain shower. Woodburning stove.
Other things to know: The property isn’t exactly kid-friendly, so the owners prefer children only eight years and older.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “In a part of the world filled with natural wonders it’s hard to pull yourself away from the hilltop view, perfectly situated deck, or enveloping conversation pit.”
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