Torch Lake (East of Grand Traverse Bay) seems interesting. It looks like it may be possible to get there in the dink, via several canals and another lake. Anyone know the accessibility?
If you wish to take the dinghy to get to Torch Lake you will have to portage it around the Hydro dam which is at the entrance to Elk Lake from the East Bay. Once you do that, you can spend the better part of an entire day motoring up to Torch Lake and back. There is a narrow, but navigational channel from Elk to Torch Lake, there are stumps, but the water is crystal clear and the channel is somewhat marked. Boats use this channel all the time. There are not a lot of places to stop along the way, but the lakes are some of the prettiest in NA. Be aware that Torch Lake can be very cold, it is very deep and does not get all that warm, except by "the Sandbar" on Torch, which is a party mecca on the 4th of July(stay away)
Other nice harbors on the East side of Lake Michigan that you might wish to visit if you get the chance, starting north and heading south, not going to mention other islands and such previously mentioned:
Leland: Nice little harbor but no room to anchor out. Nice little town to poke around in.
Frankfort: Very nice bay, you can anchor out, or get a transient slip. Right downtown location, very charming.
Portage Lake: great stopover to drop the hook, be away that the bottom drops very fast and it get's very deep. You can drop the hook on the west end by Portage Point Inn, or get a slip for the night, not much to do otherwise, although the beach is a short walk, and is very nice.
Manistee: Another nice city, you can get a slip on the channel and be right downtown. Or go into the bay through the drawbridge and anchor out.
Ludington: very nice, you can get a slip or anchor out. The downtown is right there and you can spend some time just poking around.
Pentwater: Great place to stop, anchor out or get a slip, once again, downtown is right there..
White Lake: Nice stop, not much to do, but anchor out..good layover spot.
Muskegon: Great inland lake for just about anything. Torreson Marine for slips and for any maintenance you need. Get a slip or anchor out.
Grand Haven: Nice downtown right there, you can tie off on the seawall right downtown for free, although be aware it can get rolly depending on the wave direction coming down the channel. Across the river is a nice marina, from there you can get a ride to downtown.
Holland: Very nice bay, but not close to downtown. There are several marinas that you can get a slip, or you can anchor out and motor in for dinner(Boatwerks for example).
Saugatuck: Fantastic place to stop, either anchor out, or get a slip. Great town, very touristy, but lots to look at, great dining right there.
South Haven: fun downtown right there, transient slip is your only option.