Lake Towns in Michigan: 10 Beautiful Lakes in Michigan to Live on in 2024


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With 3,288 miles of freshwater coastline, Michigan truly lives up to its nickname, the “Great Lakes State.” Touching four of the five great lakes, Michigan has picturesque lake towns whether you’re searching for a place in the Upper Peninsula or the Lower Peninsula.

If you’re looking for a home along one of Michigan’s many stunning lakes, then you’re in the right place. Redfin has collected a list of the best lakes to buy a home on this year. From the bustling shores of Lake Superior to idyllic Crystal Lake, you’re sure to find your perfect lakeside home.

Higgins Lake in Roscommon Michigan

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1. Burt Lake and Mullet Lake (Indian River)

Nearest city: Indian River, MI
Median home sale price: $485,000
Population: 1,800
Homes for sale in Indian River, MI
Apartments for rent in Indian River, MI

The first lakes on our list of lakes in Michigan to live on are Burt Lake and Mullet Lake. Nestled in the heart of Michigan, Burt Lake and Mullet Lake offer serene waterside living in the quaint town of Indian River. Positioned strategically between the bustling cities of Petoskey and Cheboygan, these lakes are great for fishing trout and bass as well as boating. The surrounding area has several public parks, including Burt Lake State Park and Aloha State Park, providing ample outdoor activities from hiking to camping. Indian River, with its community of 1,800 residents, is a gateway to exploring the larger Inland Waterway and the numerous other lakes and rivers nearby.

2. Crystal Lake (Crystal Lake)

Nearest city: Crystal Lake, MI
Median home sale price: $332,500
Population: 960
Homes for sale in Crystal Lake, MI
Apartments for rent in Crystal Lake, MI

Crystal Lake, located in its namesake city, Crystal Lake, is a gem within Michigan’s landscape. This lake is a focal point for residents and visitors seeking a peaceful retreat. Connected to Lake Michigan, Crystal Lake is a great area that’s close to both bigger and smaller lakes. With its clear waters, Crystal Lake is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and enjoying leisurely boat rides. The city itself is rich in natural beauty and charm, from the local eateries to neighborhood gatherings.

3. Higgins Lake (Roscommon)

Nearest city: Roscommon, MI
Median home sale price: $126,000
Population: 1,000
Homes for sale in Roscommon, MI
Apartments for rent in Roscommon, MI

Higgins Lake is known for its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches, making it a top choice for anyone looking for a tranquil lakeside lifestyle. Located near Roscommon, this lake is surrounded by lush forests and offers some of the best fishing in Michigan, with trout and pike. The nearby South Higgins Lake State Park provides endless outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to winter sports like cross-country skiing. Roscommon itself is a cozy community with local cafes and green spaces like Gahagan Nature Preserve, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

4. Houghton Lake (Houghton Lake)

Nearest city: Houghton Lake, MI
Median home sale price: $160,000
Population: 3,700
Homes for sale in Houghton Lake, MI
Apartments for rent in Houghton Lake, MI

Located just south of Higgins Lake is Houghton Lake. As Michigan’s largest inland lake, Houghton Lake has a variety of activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming. The surrounding area is dotted with parks and recreational facilities, like Houghton Lake State Forest Park and Houghton Lake Flats. Houghton Lake itself is a vibrant community with a rich history and a welcoming atmosphere. You can find plenty of lakefront restaurants, a golf course, parks like Houghton Lake Heights Park, and much more in this small town.

stone walkway into traverse bay in traverse city mi

5. Grand Traverse Bay (Traverse City)

Nearest city: Traverse City, MI
Median home sale price: $300,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,927
Population: 15,000
Homes for sale in Traverse City, MI
Apartments for rent in Traverse City, MI

Grand Traverse Bay, with its expansive waters and vibrant city life in Traverse City, has a great blend of natural beauty and city atmosphere. This bay area is a paradise for sailors, kayakers, and beachgoers, with miles of shoreline to explore. Traverse City is known for its lively downtown and culinary scene, from waterfront restaurants, local breweries, and farmers markets. The bay’s clear waters are perfect for a variety of water sports, while the city’s festivals and markets showcase the best of Michigan’s local produce and crafts. With a population of 15,000, Traverse City combines the charm of small-town living with the amenities of a larger city.

6. Lake Erie (Monroe)

Nearest city: Monroe, MI
Median home sale price: $191,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $795
Population: 19,000
Homes for sale in Monroe, MI
Apartments for rent in Monroe, MI

Lake Erie, bordering the historic city of Monroe, is one of the five Great Lakes. This lake is awesome for fishing walleye and perch, and has numerous parks and beaches along its shores, like William C. Sterling State Park.
Monroe, with its rich history and cultural heritage, provides a picturesque backdrop to the lake’s natural beauty. The city has several historical attractions like River Raisin National Battlefield Park, waterfront restaurants, and parks like Hellenberg Park.

mackinac island in the middle of lake huron

7. Lake Huron (Alpena)

Nearest city: Alpena, MI
Median home sale price: $157,000
Population: 10,000
Homes for sale in Alpena, MI
Apartments for rent in Alpena, MI

Lake Huron is the second Great Lake on our list. This lake has the longest shoreline out of all the great lakes, meaning there are countless lake towns to explore. Alpena is one of those lake towns, known for its museums like the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Located along Thunder Bay, Alpena has countless things to do from exploring the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary, checking out the charming downtown area along the water, or hopping on a fishing charter boat.

7. Lake Huron (Mackinac Island)

Nearest city: Mackinac Island, MI
Median home sale price: $735,000
Population: 850
Homes for sale in Mackinac Island, MI
Apartments for rent in Mackinac Island, MI

Since Lake Huron is so expansive, we decided to include another popular area along its shores. Mackinac Island is located in the middle of Lake Huron, in between Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. This island is only accessible by boat or plane and has a unique feel with its car-free streets and historic architecture. The pristine waters of Lake Huron are perfect for sailing and kayaking, while the island itself is a treasure trove of natural beauty, with landmarks such as Arch Rock and Fort Mackinac. Despite its small population, Mackinac Island is a bustling community in the summer months, with tourists drawn to its unique charm and the serene beauty of Lake Huron.

mackinaw city on lake michigan

8. Lake Michigan (Mackinaw City)

Nearest city: Mackinaw City, MI
Population: 800
Apartments for rent in Mackinaw City, MI

The next lake on our list is the third Great Lake, Lake Michigan. It spans the entire west coast of Michigan, so there are countless lake towns and beach towns in Michigan to visit. Mackinaw City is located at the northern end of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, making it easy to get to the scenic Upper Peninsula. Mackinaw City has plenty of things to do whether that’s visiting McGulpin Point Lighthouse, exploring the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse or Colonial Michilimackinac, or checking out a lakefront park like Gary R Williams Memorial Park. There are plenty of boat tours, perfect for exploring Lake Michigan.

8. Lake Michigan (Saugatuck)

Nearest city: Saugatuck, MI
Median home sale price: $575,000
Population: 1,000
Homes for sale in Saugatuck, MI
Apartments for rent in Saugatuck, MI

Another lake town along the shores of Lake Michigan is Saugatuck. Lake Michigan offers endless opportunities for water sports, beach outings at Oval Beach, and sunset viewings. The area is also home to the smaller lake, Kalamazoo Lake, which you can see from Downtown Saugatuck. Known for its vibrant arts scene and stunning natural landscapes, Saugatuck is located southeast of Grand Rapids. Saugatuck’s charm is not just in its scenic beauty but also in its community’s creative spirit, with galleries, studios, and boutiques dotting its streets.

marquette michigan harbor in lake superior

9. Lake Superior (Marquette)

Nearest city: Marquette, MI
Median home sale price: $185,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $850
Population: 20,000
Homes for sale in Marquette, MI
Apartments for rent in Marquette, MI

Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, borders the vibrant city of Marquette, offering spectacular natural vistas and plenty of outdoor activities. Known for its rugged beauty, Lake Superior is great for kayaking, hiking, and winter sports. You can explore outdoor spots like Presque Isle Park, home to Black Rocks, Wright Street Falls, and Mt. Marquette Overlook. Marquette combines natural beauty with a lively cultural scene, hosting festivals, art shows, and a thriving local food scene. With a population of 20,000, it offers a small-town feel with the amenities of a larger city, making it a great place for those who love nature.

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10. Lake St. Clair (St Clair Shores)

Nearest city: St Clair Shores, MI
Median home sale price: $220,000
Population: 59,000
Homes for sale in St Clair Shores, MI
Apartments for rent in Saint Clair Shores, MI

Lake St. Clair is the last spot on our list of lakes in Michigan to live on. Located along St Clair Shores, this town is a great spot for boating, fishing, and waterfront along the lake. Lake St. Clair, with its marinas and parks, creates a lakeside retreat for residents looking to get out of the city. St Clair Shores has a population of nearly 60,000 and combines lakeside living with city life. The area is home to a variety of local shops, restaurants, and landmarks like the Ford House.

Note, this list is not comprehensive of all the lakes in Michigan. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during April 2024. Average rental data from April 2024. Population data sourced from the United States Census Bureau.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.
Alison Bentley

Alison Bentley

Alison is part of the Content Marketing team as a Content Marketing Specialist. In her 4 years at Redfin, Alison has written a variety of articles ranging from home design tips to housing affordability. A California-native, Alison currently resides in Seattle where you can find her catching a concert or exploring farmers’ markets. Her dream home is a cottage-style house with a chef’s kitchen and a cozy room to store and play vinyl records.

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