April 22, 2024
Wooden Cottage On The Lake Shore In Algonquin Provincial Park

Top 7 Best Areas in Michigan To Own A Cottage

Owning a cottage in Michigan is like having a slice of paradise. With its stunning lakes, forests, and a plethora of recreational activities, Michigan offers a variety of options for those looking to invest in a cozy retreat. If you are thinking of buying a cottage or cabin, there are financial advantages to owning a second home. As someone who has lived in Michigan and experienced the joy of having a beach cottage, I created this guide pointing out some of the best areas in Michigan to own a cottage.

Let’s Find a Cottage in Michigan

Why Michigan?

Michigan is a haven for nature lovers. Its lakes offer boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities, while the forests are perfect for hiking and bird-watching. Moreover, Michigan is relatively affordable compared to other popular cottage destinations, making it an ideal choice for a second home.

Traverse City – The Cherry & Wine Capital of Michigan

Michigan Inland Lake

Traverse City is a gem located on the Northwest edge of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Known for its wineries, museums, and proximity to Suttons Bay, it’s a haven for foodies and beach lovers.

Natural Beauty

Traverse City is located on the northwest edge of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and is surrounded by pristine lakes, including Lake Michigan. The area is known for its scenic beauty, from the crystal-clear waters of Suttons Bay to the lush forests surrounding it.

Recreational Activities

The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Traverse City has everything, whether you’re into hiking, biking, or water sports. Suttons Bay, just a 20-minute drive from the city, offers hiking, biking, picnic areas, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Culinary and Wine Scene

Traverse City is a foodie’s paradise. It’s known for attracting food and wine connoisseurs, boasting several wineries and wine trails. The area is famous for its local produce, and you’ll find a range of dining options that cater to all tastes and budgets.

Perfect Weather in Summer

Summers in Traverse City are often described as perfect—sunny but not too hot, making it an ideal location for those looking to escape the heat. It’s a great time for boating, fishing, or simply relaxing by the lake.

Cultural Attractions

The city is not just about natural beauty; it also offers a rich cultural experience. Traverse City hosts a City Opera House, several museums, and numerous events throughout the year, ensuring you’ll never run out of things to do.

Accessibility

Traverse City is relatively easy to get to. It’s a four-hour drive from Detroit, and several airlines, including American Airlines, United, Delta, and Allegiant, fly directly into the city.

Investment Value

The median housing value in Traverse City is around $267,200, which has increased 8.3% over the past 10 years. This suggests that owning property here is a lifestyle choice and a sound investment.

Summary Stats

  • Population: 15,570
  • Median Age: 41.4
  • Median Household Income: $57,076
  • Median Housing Value: $267,200

Owning a cottage in Traverse City offers a blend of natural beauty, recreational activities, and cultural richness, making it a well-rounded choice for any potential homeowner.

Muskegon – A Boaters and Sailor’s Paradise

Muskegon Beach

Home to Lake Michigan’s largest port, Muskegon offers a blend of history and natural beauty. The area is perfect for those who love water sports and maritime history.

Rich Maritime History

Muskegon is home to Lake Michigan’s largest port and has a rich maritime history dating back to 1849. The city has several museums and historic sites that offer a glimpse into its past, making it a fascinating place for history buffs.

Diverse Recreational Activities

The area is surrounded by lakes and rivers, providing ample boating, fishing, and water sports opportunities. In addition, Muskegon State Park offers hiking trails, camping sites, and winter sports activities, ensuring year-round outdoor fun.

Proximity to Other Towns

Muskegon is strategically located near other charming towns like Montague and Whitehall, home to White Lake, a popular spot for swimming and boating. Grand Haven State Park, known for its sandy beaches, is just a short drive away.

Affordability

One of the most appealing aspects of Muskegon is its affordability. With a median housing value of around $80,300, it offers a cost-effective option for those looking to own a lakeside property.

Climate

While Muskegon does experience cold winters, it also enjoys pleasant summers with temperatures averaging around 76 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it a versatile location for both summer and winter activities.

Growing Community

With a population of just under 40,000, Muskegon has been growing steadily. The community is vibrant, offering various events and festivals throughout the year, adding to its appeal as a place to own a cottage.

Summary Stats

  • Population: 37,633
  • Median Age: 35.8
  • Median Household Income: $32,433
  • Median Housing Value: $80,300

Owning a cottage in Muskegon offers you a blend of historical richness, natural beauty, and a strong sense of community, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to invest in a second home.

  • Sale Price Range: Around $80,000 – $200,000
  • Special Considerations: Cold winters.
  • Informational URL: Muskegon Tourism Website

Holland – The Charm of Dutch Influence

Lighthouse On Lake Michigan

Holland is famous for its Tulip Time Festival and offers a small-town feel with big-city amenities. It’s a perfect spot for those who appreciate culture and natural beauty.

Dutch Influence

One of the first things you’ll notice about Holland is its strong Dutch influence, evident in its architecture, windmills, and even the Tulip Time Festival, which draws thousands of visitors annually.

Four-Season Appeal

Holland experiences all four seasons, offering a variety of activities year-round. In winter, you can enjoy snow sports, while the spring brings the famous tulip blooms. Summers are perfect for beach activities, and fall offers stunning foliage.

Heated Sidewalks

One unique feature of Holland is its heated sidewalks, which make winter strolls more comfortable. This is a testament to the city’s commitment to making life enjoyable for its residents.

Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan

Holland is located between Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan, providing ample opportunities for water sports, fishing, and boating. The sandy beaches are perfect for summer relaxation.

Downtown and Shopping

Downtown Holland is a vibrant area with a mix of traditional Dutch shops and modern boutiques. Whether you’re looking for wooden shoes or the latest fashion, you’ll find it here.

Affordability and Quality of Life

With a median housing value of around $198,400 and a median household income of $57,002, Holland offers a balanced cost of living. It has been named one of the best places to live or retire, adding to its appeal.

Summary Stats

  • Population: 33,402
  • Median Age: 32.5
  • Median Household Income: $57,002
  • Median Housing Value: $198,400

Owning a cottage in Holland offers you a rich cultural experience, a variety of recreational activities, and a high quality of life, making it an excellent choice for a second home.

  • Sale Price Range: Around $150,000 – $300,000
  • Special Considerations: All four seasons, heated sidewalks.
  • Informational URL: Holland’s Official Website

Ludington – Lake Michigan’s Beach Town

Great Lakes Lighthouse

Ludington, Michigan, is a hidden gem that offers a plethora of reasons to consider it as a prime location for owning a cottage.

Proximity to Hamlin Lake

Ludington is close to Hamlin Lake, a popular destination for fishing, boating, and water sports. You can’t lose when considering to buy a lake house. The lake is stocked with a variety of fish, including walleye, perch, and bass, making it a fisherman’s paradise.

Ludington State Park

One of the major attractions in Ludington is the Ludington State Park, which offers a range of outdoor activities. From hiking and biking trails to canoeing and kayaking, the park is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Outdoor Magazine Recognition

Ludington has been recognized by Outside Magazine as one of the 16 best places to live in the U.S. This speaks volumes about the quality of life and the natural beauty that the area offers.

Small-Town Charm

With a population of just over 8,000, Ludington offers a small-town atmosphere that’s perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The community is close-knit, and there’s a sense of belonging that residents cherish.

Affordability

The median housing value in Ludington is around $117,500, making it an affordable option for those looking to own property. The cost of living is relatively low, adding to its appeal as a second-home destination.

Seasonal Activities

Ludington offers a range of seasonal activities. Summers are perfect for beach activities and water sports, while winters offer opportunities for snowmobiling, ice fishing, and skiing.

Summary Stats

  • Population: 8,069
  • Median Age: 43.9
  • Median Household Income: $45,302
  • Median Housing Value: $117,500

Owning a cottage in Ludington offers a blend of natural beauty, a variety of outdoor activities, and affordability, making it an excellent choice for those looking to invest in a second home.

  • Sale Price Range: Around $100,000 – $250,000
  • Special Considerations: Outdoor activities year-round.
  • Informational URL: Pure Ludington

Houghton Lake – The Largest Inland Lake in Michigan

Houghton Lake

Located in the heart of northern Michigan, Houghton Lake is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts and offers a variety of summer activities as well.

Houghton Lake, located in the heart of Northern Michigan, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and community events, making it a fantastic place to own a cottage.

Largest Inland Lake

Houghton Lake is Michigan’s largest inland lake, covering approximately 20,000 acres. This provides ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and water sports, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Winter Sports Festivals

The area is renowned for its winter sports festivals, including Tip-Up Town USA, one of the oldest winter festivals in the United States. These events offer activities like ice fishing, snowmobiling, and various family-friendly games. This is a four-season area to consider to invest in Michigan vacation homes.

Proximity to Other Lakes

Houghton Lake is close to other popular lakes like Higgins Lake and Lake St. Helen. This gives you a variety of options for water activities and a change of scenery without having to travel far.

Affordability

With a median housing value of around $95,800, Houghton Lake offers an affordable option for those looking to own a lakeside property. This makes it accessible for families and individuals on a budget.

Community and Events

The community around Houghton Lake is vibrant and welcoming. The area hosts various events throughout the year, including music festivals and fishing tournaments, adding to its appeal as a place to own a cottage.

Summary Stats

  • Population: 3,350
  • Median Age: 55.7
  • Median Household Income: $28,816
  • Median Housing Value: $95,800

Owning a cottage in Houghton Lake offers a blend of natural beauty, a variety of outdoor activities, and a strong sense of community, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to invest in a second home.

Marquette – The Center of Michigan’s UP

Marquette
Marquette is only minutes from the woods.

Marquette offers a quiet escape full of natural beauty and a rich mining heritage. Marquette, located on the southern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, making it an excellent location for owning a cottage.

Lake Superior Shoreline

Marquette is situated along the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, providing breathtaking views and opportunities for boating, fishing, and kayaking. The lake’s vastness offers a sense of tranquility that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Outdoor Activities

The area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it’s hiking along the cliffs overlooking the lake, mountain biking, or skiing in the winter, Marquette has something for everyone.

Rich Mining Heritage

Marquette has a rich history rooted in the mining industry, adding a cultural layer to its natural beauty. The area has several museums and historical sites that offer a glimpse into its past.

Snowfall and Winter Sports

Marquette averages about 10 feet of snow a year, making it a winter wonderland for those who enjoy snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.

University Town

Home to Northern Michigan University, Marquette has the vibrant, youthful energy of a university town. This adds a unique dynamic to the community, offering cultural events, lectures, and sporting events.

Affordability and Quality of Life

With a median housing value of around $195,200 and a median household income of $43,977, Marquette offers a balanced cost of living. The area is known for its high quality of life, including excellent healthcare facilities.

Summary Stats

  • Population: 20,822
  • Median Age: 28.6
  • Median Household Income: $43,977
  • Median Housing Value: $195,200

Owning a cottage in Marquette offers a blend of natural beauty, a variety of outdoor activities, and a rich cultural experience, making it an excellent choice for a second home.

  • Sale Price Range: Around $150,000 – $300,000
  • Special Considerations: Heavy snowfall.
  • Informational URL: Travel Marquette

Munising – Relish the Wild Of The Lake Superior Shoreline

Pictured Rocks Munising
Pictured Rocks Munising

Located in the Hiawatha National Forest, Munising offers breathtaking views and is known as the snowmobile capital of the world.

Munising, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, offers a unique blend of natural wonders and outdoor activities, making it an excellent choice for owning a cottage.

Hiawatha National Forest

Munising is situated within the Hiawatha National Forest, providing immediate access to a lush, expansive forest perfect for hiking, bird-watching, and camping.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

One of the area’s most stunning attractions is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, known for its colorful sandstone cliffs and crystal-clear waters. It’s a paradise for kayakers and photographers alike.

Waterfalls and Trails

Munising is often referred to as the “Waterfall Capital” of Michigan. With over 17 waterfalls in the vicinity, it offers a unique natural spectacle that you can enjoy year-round.

Snowmobile Capital

Munising is also known as the snowmobile capital of the world, making it a winter sports enthusiast’s dream. The area offers numerous trails and receives a significant amount of snowfall each year.

Fishing Opportunities

The area is rich in lakes and streams, offering excellent opportunities for fishing. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, you’ll find a spot that suits your needs.

Affordability

With a median housing value of around $102,300, Munising offers an affordable option for those looking to own a lakeside or forest-side property.

Summary Stats

  • Population: 2,200
  • Median Age: 45.7
  • Median Household Income: $36,250
  • Median Housing Value: $102,300

Owning a cottage in Munising offers a blend of natural beauty, a variety of outdoor activities, and affordability, making it an excellent choice for those looking to invest in a second home.

  • Sale Price Range: Around $100,000 – $250,000
  • Special Considerations: Snowmobile capital of the world.
  • Informational URL: Munising Visitor’s Bureau

Where is the most affordable lakefront property in Michigan?

Inland lakes in more rural areas, particularly in the Northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula, often offer more affordable lakefront options. Areas like Lake County, Clare County, and Montmorency County have smaller, less well-known lakes where properties can be more budget-friendly. Additionally, the Thumb region, despite being known for its beautiful shorelines, may offer hidden gems in terms of affordability, especially on the inland lakes.

Properties on larger, less developed lakes in the Upper Peninsula, like those in the Hiawatha National Forest, can also be more affordable, although they may come with fewer amenities and less accessibility.

Why is real estate in Michigan so cheap?

The perception of real estate in Michigan being cheap can vary based on comparison with other areas and individual perspectives, but there are several factors that contribute to the affordability of Michigan real estate, particularly when compared to coastal states or major metropolitan areas.

It’s important to note that while some areas are indeed very affordable, Michigan also boasts regions with robust real estate markets and higher prices, particularly in thriving urban centers, scenic lakefront areas, and affluent suburbs. The state offers a wide range of real estate options to fit various preferences and budgets.

Final Thoughts About Best Areas in Michigan To Own A Cottage

 Best Areas In Michigan To Own A Cottage

Owning a cottage in Michigan is more than just an investment; it’s a lifestyle choice that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural richness. From the wineries of Traverse City to the snowmobile trails of Munising, each area offers its own set of attractions and considerations.

Affordability is another significant factor that makes Michigan an appealing choice. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious lakeside property or a cozy forest retreat, there’s something for every budget. The state’s diverse landscapes and community events ensure that there’s never a dull moment, regardless of where you choose to own your cottage. If you are not sure about where to buy consider Michigan vacation home rentals in areas that look interesting.

Moreover, each location has its own set of advantages and considerations, from the ideal seasons for visitation to the types of activities available. Therefore, it’s essential to consider what suits your needs and lifestyle best when making this significant life investment.

In summary, finding the best areas in Michigan to own a cottage means sniffing though a plethora of options. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or someone who wants to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Michigan has something to offer.

So, take the time to explore these areas, visit the local communities, and perhaps even spend a weekend at a rental cottage to get a feel for the place. Your perfect Michigan cottage getaway is out there, waiting for you to discover it.

Avatar Of Michaela Nolte

Michaela Nolte

Michaela is a history buff and loves to export historical markers and old buildings and seeks stories about Michigan and Great Lakes history. When she is not writing, you can find her with a good book sipping wine on the beach.

View all posts by Michaela Nolte →

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