Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
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I've been to all the ports between Muskegon and the Straits on Lake Michigan's east coast. This summer we cruised from Grand Haven to Portage Lake and stayed at least one night in every port in between. Here's a quick synopsis of our opinions on those ports:
White Lake: We loved the small, family-friendly feel of the WLYC. The ammenities (warm pool, nice grills, patio, bar, playgound) were great. Probably too short of a sail for your needs from Muskegon.
Pentwater: Great town with plenty of touristy shops and good food/drink. We love the live music at the Village Cafe & Pub. The Brown Bear has good beer selections and decent bar food. We've stayed at both the municipal marina and Snug Harbor. The municipal is cheaper, but it can rock-n-roll if the big lake is rough and the metal pilings on some of the floating docks are really noisy. Snug Harbor has slightly better showers, but it's usually crowded and the often require you to tie stern-to another boat in the same slip. There's a nice easy walk to the state beach that's recommended if you need to stretch the legs.
Ludington: The municipal marina here is very nice with excellent shower/bathroom facilities. The rates are great too. Harbor View Marina is a bit more upscale, but so are the prices. Basically the only difference is the pool at HVM. Both are walking distance to town and supplies. The town is so-so for shopping/dining.
Manistee: We didn't think the town was anything special, but the boardwalk along the river is very nice. The municipal marina is bare-bones, although they claim to be updating it within the next couple of years. We'll likely skip Manistee next time we head north.
Portage Lake: We loved Portage Lake and the marina at the Portage Point Inn. The lake is clear and beautiful and the Inn has decent food and friendly staff. The marina facilities are new as of 2008 and are very nice. There's an indoor pool, hot tub, shuffle board, basketball, nice beach, dune climb, bar, restaurant, and plenty of activities/rental toys. The draw back is that the showers/bathrooms are a bit of a hike from the marina.
Leland, Northport, Suttons Bay and TC are all also great stops. The Manitous make a great stop-over on the hook if the weather is decent and winds are out of the west/northwest.
Charlevoix: Both the lake and town are spectacular. The municipal marina was redone in 2009 and is very nice, though you'll need reservations. Mooring/anchoring in Round Lake is also very nice if you have a dinghy. Whitney's Oyster Bar has decent food and drinks. Don't miss a sail down the Lake Charlevoix if you have time. Horton Bay is an excellent place to drop the hook for a night.
Petoskey/Harbor Springs: These two towns have perhaps the best shopping/dinning you'll find between Muskegon and Mac Island. The marinas are decent and the water is brilliant blue.
Enjoy the trip and the planning process!
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