Somewhere in northern lower Michigan would be a great location to have centralized access to some of the best cruising grounds in the Midwest/Great Lakes. I'm personally very fond of Leeland, Traverse City, Charlevoix/Boyne City and Petoskey. Each of these cities offers access to a decent sized regional airport, cultural activities, excellent port facilities/areas, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Midwest. They all (except Leeland) also offer large sheltered areas for sailing when the big lake is too nasty. And don't forget these added bonuses of living and cruising in the Great Lakes: affordable real estate and freshwater (not as tough on your boat).
From these locations, you would have easy access to the following excellent cruising locations: Manitou Islands, Beaver Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore, Mackinac Island and the Straits, Door County and any number of nice little ports along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
Of course you'd also have access to these other great cruising areas if you had the time and desire: Pictured Rocks National Seashore, Apostle Islands, The North Channel, Chicago and anywhere else in the world you desired to go by way of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
The caveat to all of this is that there are probably better overall cruising areas in the world and the Great Lakes has a relatively short sailing season (~ May through mid-October). However, we all have to balance our sailing lives with our careers, families, income and any number of other factors; which can make the Great Lakes a perfect fit for the right person.
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