Book waterfront cabins, houses, and more on Airbnb
Guests agree: these stays are highly rated for location, cleanliness, and more.
Ogletree Creek Cabin, beauty and tranquilityOgletree Cabin is a private retreat nestled on 85 acres of stunning hardwood and pines- just a three-minute walk to lovely Toad Lake. The beach is a great jumping-off place to swim out to the raft, fish on Toad Lake (where we are the only house on the lake), sit on the screened-in porch off of the fishing shack, and go kayaking and canoeing. Please take note that the cabin has one bedroom with queen and a loft with three beds accessible by a ladder only and not safe for young children.
Quiet Lakefront Retreat - Spectacular Sunset ViewsSunset Cedar Beach House is a 5-Star rental under new ownership! Experience gorgeous Lake Michigan views from this 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom vacation home. During the day you can enjoy the private beach, collect Petoskey stones, swim, bike, or kayak. Then settle in around the fire for the evening, listening to the water and stargazing. Centrally located near Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, and Traverse City, Sunset Cedar House is the also the perfect hub for the area's hiking, skiing, and hunting.
One of the most picturesque lakes in Michigan — which is saying something, considering it’s next to Lake Michigan — Torch Lake is beloved for turquoise water so clear you can see the bottom. Some even compare it to the Caribbean. The shoreline of this 19-mile-long body of water, the biggest of 14 in the Elk River chain of lakes, is ringed by evergreen trees and pricey lakefront homes. Most visitors come here to spend their days in and on the water, whether in a fishing boat or on jet skis, innertubes, or paddleboards.
During the summer months, boats and rafts cluster along the shallow two-mile sandbar at the lake’s south end, resembling a floating party. But it’s easy to drift away from the festivities to a spot where you can relax and soak in the beauty of Northern Michigan, or placidly fish for trout and wide-mouth bass. Off the water, small resort towns such as Elk Rapids, Alden, and Bellaire promise distraction in the form of restaurants and shops, and the cultural draws of Traverse City are just 30 miles away.
Several major airlines fly into Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) in Traverse City, which serves all of Northern Michigan, and you can rent a car or take a taxi from there — a 30-mile drive. Driving from either Detroit or Chicago takes five hours; for buses departing from either city, expect an 11-hour trip. There are regional taxi and rideshare services around Torch Lake, though you may have to wait for a ride depending on the time of year and the demand.
Given Torch Lake’s location in northern Lower Michigan, it may not be a surprise that peak season here is June through August, when the temperatures hang between the 60s and 80s Fahrenheit. While sunny days are frequent in summer, so are rainy ones, especially in August and September, so bring waterproof jackets along with your swimsuits and sunblock. Both spring (April-May) and fall (October-November) are gorgeous in Michigan, with cool temperatures and plenty of color in the wildflowers and trees. Although the lake does not freeze in winter, below-freezing temperatures and snowfall are common. Bundle up!
A number of companies rent out pontoons or small boats for an afternoon or a few days. You can stay on the lake — after all, there’s quite a bit of it to peruse — or, if you have a smaller boat, travel along the river to the connected Elk Lake and Clam Lake.
Located just 20 miles from the northern tip of Torch Lake, picturesque Charlevoix is worth a day trip to browse through the craft shops and wander around the century-old Castle Farms. Charlevoix’s most eye-opening feature: 26 stone-and-thatch cottages known as “mushroom houses.”
With Grand Traverse Bay to the west and Torch Lake to the east, your options for shoreline walks are many, and there are bike trails aplenty as well. Dedicated hikers will enjoy exploring the forests and meadows of the 1,500-acre Grass River Nature Preserve in Bellaire, as well as a 1.5-mile-long boardwalk that leads through the wetlands.
Northeastern Michigan’s wineries, cideries, and breweries have flourished over the past decade, and the Torch Lake Tour directs you to 10 of them, a loop that circles the lake. You can find your own way around the tour or hire a driver to guide you.