Last Updated on December 22, 2022

I am still a Midwest gal at heart despite trading frigid winters for searing summers in Texas years ago. So, when my sister called to say she found a Lake Michigan house for rent for five days in September, I was excited.

The Great Lakes were our summer playground growing up. We were a big camping family drawn to isolated locations where we could fish and swim in the cold, blue, freshwater lakes. As a matter of fact, three of my five siblings still live close to the lakes.

These days, we prefer comfortable beds over sleeping bags, but we still love white-sand beaches and privacy when gathering for family reunions. “Big Blu,” our Lake Michigan house for rent north of Muskegon, Michigan, had it all.

Big Blu: Lake Michigan vacation rental

The custom-built Lake Michigan vacation rental home is luxurious and large, with six bedrooms, plus gorgeous lake and sunset views. Because my family of 12 was staying midweek in shoulder season, the property was very private.

I was impressed from the minute we drove up the long driveway bordered by tall Silver Grass plants concealing the home from the road. When I finally glimpsed the powdery-blue house trimmed in white, it seemed to fill the sky. At three-stories and 5,000 square feet, it kind of does.

This Lake Michigan house for rent sits on a tree-covered dune overlooking Lake Michigan. An oversized wrap-around porch faces the beach and was our favorite gathering place each evening to “ooh” and “aah” at the fiery orange sky as the sun disappeared across the water toward Wisconsin. The porch was also the perfect place for listening to waves whooshing on the sandy shore.

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Reaching beach requires navigating steep steps

Stairs down to the beach. @BarbaraRedding
Stairs down to the beach. @BarbaraRedding

Exploring the beach proved irresistible as well, despite cool temperatures and blustery winds. Getting down to the lake requires crossing the ravine on a footbridge and then navigating 75 steep, narrow steps. The house has about 100 feet of secluded sandy beach along a relatively quiet area of Lake Michigan. Most homes either reside on the dunes or are set back from the lake so there is plenty of room to stroll along the shore.  

Big Blu, as the house is called, clearly was envisioned as a family retreat. Nearly every room boasts crown moldings and designer paint colors or classy wallpaper. An antique sailing ship resides on the mantel above a large gas fireplace. Maps and memorabilia about the Great Lakes decorate the Lake Michigan vacation rental walls.

Large windows line the expansive lake-facing living area, furnished with cozy upholstered couches and a large flat-screen TV. The well-equipped gourmet kitchen satisfied the foodies in my family, who cooked several meals including a huge pot of Italian pasta and blueberry cobbler for 12.

Cozy sunroom doubles as reading room

A round wooden table with plenty of chairs allowed us to dine together for most meals. A cozy sunroom with a bookcase and two reading chairs provided a quiet retreat for those needing a break from the rest of the family. (Yes, we had one boisterous toddler with us.)  There is also a mud room near the backdoor and a half-bath on the first floor.

The Lake Michigan house for rent can sleep 15 people in six bedrooms with four full-baths and one half-bath. Each floor has a large master suite, with its own bathroom. My cousin and her husband took the first-floor suite, which has a bay window, a queen bed, and a standup shower.

The second-floor master suite has lake views as well as a king bed and a standup shower. This floor also includes three other bedrooms, including two with multiple bunkbeds and a crib. A cheerful bathroom with yellow walls serves the additional bedrooms. There’s also a spacious laundry room with a sink and a family-sized washer and dryer.

Princess room offers lake views and sounds

View of walkway down to the beach. @BarbaraRedding
View of walkway down to the beach. @BarbaraRedding

I was traveling without my significant other, so I picked the pink girls’ room on the second floor – but not for the netted ‘Princess’ bed or the children’s books. This room, which also has a double bed, faces the lake, so I slept with the window open to the soothing sound of waves lapping the sand.

My sister who lives in Denver made the reservation, so she and her husband shared the third floor, which is essentially one-large master suite. Views of the lake through the treetops are breath-taking from the Juliet balcony. The room has a king bed, a Japanese soaking tub, and a walk-in shower.

The game room in the basement contains a large flat screen television, a ping pong table, and a video game console. An upholstered sectional makes the basement a great place to escape the sun or take an afternoon nap.

Lake Michigan cottage for rent activities for youngsters

For young children, a roomy playhouse built to resemble the main house is located just off the front porch, along with a small playground set that includes swings. A hammock stretched between two trees can be enjoyed by both young and old.

As lovely as the Lake Michigan cottage for rent is, the biggest draw is the lake itself. We were too late in the fall to swim in the waves or play in the sand, but I would love to return in mid-summer with my grandson and his cousins. The house supplies plenty of beach towels, chairs, and water toys for young children and adults.

Big Blu has so many amenities that it would be easy to unpack and not leave until the end of the stay. But the area offers a plethora of activities for those willing to give up a beach day.

Dining and shopping options within short drive

The small towns of Montague and Whitehall are about a 15-minute drive away and offer plenty of family style dining options as well as grocery stores and local shops. In White Hall, Pekadill’s Friday and Saturday ribs and chicken special is not to be missed during the summer months. Open year-round, the restaurant also is known for its soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Fetch Brewing Co., a Whitehall brew pub fashioned from an old downtown bank, is a lively place to share a beer or two with locals while listening to live music. We also drove to the rustic Stony Lake Inn in nearby Shelby for a tasty dinner of fried lake perch and Walleye. Another nearby option is the Old Channel Inn in Montague, which is also known for its lake perch dinners served in a knotty pine cottage near Lake Michigan.

Outdoor attractions include numerous lakeside beaches and parks offering boating, fishing, hiking, and water sports. Lake Michigan can be rough at times so most people keep their boats on calmer White Lake, which opens onto Lake Michigan. The smaller lake is a good place to water ski and sail. Golfers can hit the links at Montague’s Old Channel Trail Golf Course, which is a 27-hole public venue with a driving range and pro shop.

Comfortable chairs on the wrap around porch. @BarbaraRedding
Comfortable chairs on the wrap around porch. @BarbaraRedding

Kid-friendly activities nearby: dairy and fruit farms

My niece and her husband took their toddler to the Country Dairy, a centennial dairy farm in Montague that offers tours of the milk and cheese processing plants as well as close-up visits with cows and calves. The farm’s onsite restaurant serves lunch accompanied by unlimited glasses of milk as well as freshly made ice cream for dessert.

The Lewis Adventure Farm & Zoo north of Whitehall was also a hit with my grandniece. The fifth generation working farm has a petting zoo with more than 100 different animals including camels, kangaroos, and goats. Its also a great place to purchase homemade goodies and fresh local produce such as delicious Michigan cherries, when they are in season.

The cozy Lake Michigan house for rent was ideal for our family and couldn’t have been in a more perfect setting.

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  • Cynthia
    January 23, 2023

    My Texas nephew has booked a house for his family for a week this summer on Lake Superior – I hope they have an experience like this!

    • Noreen Kompanik
      April 2, 2023

      I hope they do as well!