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Old 11-07-2017, 11:17 AM   #1
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Default Question for Michigan boaters

My wife and I have visited Michigan for a few years now in July mostly for golf but would like to experience the boating side (cruising). We would like to trailer our 27ft boat from Florida there during the next visit. What areas should I consider , Charlevoix, Traverse City, Harbor Springs?
Are there reasonable dockage rates or am I better off using a ramp and then finding storage for the boat and trailer. We usually rent a house from VRBO. Thanks
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Old 11-07-2017, 11:27 AM   #2
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Sub'd may want to do the same thing, from Phila though.
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Old 11-07-2017, 12:31 PM   #3
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Yes, yes, and yes. Add Leland, Northport, Suttons, Beaver Island, Elk Rapids, Bay Harbor, Petoskey, Boyne City.

Mackinac Island is a pretty serious trip and the straights can be daunting. However as a trailer boater, you could also pick up and haul her over to the NW side for a shorter run to the island or even the inland waterway. It runs down from Cheboygan into Mullet and Burt Lakes.

If you haven't been there, Bay Harbor is insane. Prepare to feel poor, but enjoy the view. My favorite spot is the the far end of the floating pier. It looks at a couple of quaint, 10,000 sq ft cottages. The depth sounder reads 71 feet in the slip.
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Old 11-07-2017, 01:40 PM   #4
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http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7...8175--,00.html

Above is a list of the harbors that are reservable online. There are hundreds of privately owned marinas that also might have a slip open for you to rent. There really isn't a bad place in northern Michigan to visit, and I wouldn't only limit myself to one area either!
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Old 11-07-2017, 02:03 PM   #5
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What are you looking for? Anchoring/partying, fishing, scenery or harbors to stop at?

One place to research is the Les Cheneaux Islands and Hessel. This is the area where Chris Craft used to lumber for the woods for their boats, but the scenery is awesome. A few little ports along the way. Not nearly as pricey as the Traverse City or Harbor Springs area. If you stayed on Mackinaw Island, you could probably do a day trip over in the area.
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:16 PM   #6
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All of the great lakes are awesome. We've been boating them for years, inland lakes too.

Now that we have a larger boat and pretty much live on it in the summer, we leave Michigan and stay on Catawba Island in Lake Erie! You can't beat the Islands and many ports that Lake Erie has to offer! All of the Great Lakes are beautiful in their own ways, but if you're looking for never ending fun, Lake Erie is the place to be, IMHO! YMMV.

Good luck and have fun w/ whatever/wherever you decide!

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Old 11-07-2017, 07:35 PM   #7
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Thanks for the information. We would use the boat for cruising and grab dinner or lunch somewhere. One of the biggest surprises I got when I first visited Michigan was how pretty the lakes are . The water was as pretty as the Bahamas .
Now I want to explore Michigan by boat. I just need to figure out what area would be the best hub and find dockage for a month that would be reasonable.
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:54 AM   #8
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I'd consider Elk Rapids as a hub. It has a very nice and large marina and fairly centrally-located to all of cruising destinations we've mentioned. By car it splits the difference between destinations in Grand Vs. Little Traverse Bays.

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Old 11-08-2017, 09:05 AM   #9
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Boyne City at the East end of lake Charlevoix has some very nice dining and everything within walking distance from the boat. Access to the big lake close to the major golf resorts. Charlevoix is also walkable from the docks, but gets pretty crowded. I like elk rapids, but haven't been anywhere other than Pearls for the dining and Pearls isn't as great as it's made out to be, but good. Elk Rapids is walkable. Petoskey and Traverse City, walkable, but a bike might be better. Both get very congested, but July Traverse City has the Cherry fest for 2 weeks, which I course the airshow. Most of the other Marina's the guys have mentioned, arent real far by boat for a day trip. If the weather is decent, you can anchor in the bay overnight. If weather is predicted, it's not a joke, though. Northport, Sutton's Bay, all are great. Little further west, Leland, Glen Arbor and especially Frankfort.
There is also the inland waterway starting at crooked lake, through Indian River and out to Cheboygan. Cheboygan putting you close to Mackinaw and the St Mary's River area. You could probably find a rental with a dock, also be 45 minutes or less from some of the states best golfing. Another inland water way from Bellaire through Torch Lake, Skegemog, and Elk Lake. No channel or lock to get to the big lake at Elk Rapids, though.
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:10 AM   #10
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http://theenchantedforest.com
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Old 11-08-2017, 09:18 AM   #11
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I like elk rapids, but haven't been anywhere other than Pearls for the dining and Pearls isn't as great as it's made out to be, but good.
I went to Siren Hall two years ago after I learned that it's owned by the same people who owned Lulu's in Bellaire. We had a huge platter of incredible and fresh oysters in NW Michigan in October! Food and service was outstanding. Some of their reviews seem to be taking a dip lately. I hope that's temporary, because I want to go back.

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Old 11-08-2017, 09:22 AM   #12
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Boyne City at the East end of lake Charlevoix has some very nice dining and everything within walking distance from the boat...
I hesitated to mention East Jordan. It lacked good dining options the last time I was there, but that was a long time ago. Maybe someone has a more up-to-date opinion, especially since it's so close to Boyne City.
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:53 PM   #13
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I've boated about every area mentioned so far, but would like some more info before I suggest.

1. Will you be spending a lot of overnights on your boat, or VRBO'ing it for overnights and just do day trips?

2. How comfortable are you in the big water with your boat? I've been uncomfortable in my 40 express in those areas, but also had days where it's glass half way across Lake Michigan?

3. What level of accommodations/restaurants/shopping/bars interest you? There are some very high end areas that become pricey that time of year?

4. Do you mind crowds and traffic, especially around the July 4th week? I go up there to avoid traffic, and there are some areas that take the fun of "up north" away... stop and go traffic, etc.
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericinmich View Post
I've boated about every area mentioned so far, but would like some more info before I suggest.

1. Will you be spending a lot of overnights on your boat, or VRBO'ing it for overnights and just do day trips?

2. How comfortable are you in the big water with your boat? I've been uncomfortable in my 40 express in those areas, but also had days where it's glass half way across Lake Michigan?

3. What level of accommodations/restaurants/shopping/bars interest you? There are some very high end areas that become pricey that time of year?

4. Do you mind crowds and traffic, especially around the July 4th week? I go up there to avoid traffic, and there are some areas that take the fun of "up north" away... stop and go traffic, etc.
Eric
1) We will not be doing overnights on the boat. I will have found a rental on VRBO
2) Iím comfortable in big water , Iíve crossed the gulfstream a 1/2 dozen times going to the Abacos
3) Mid level
4) We would avoid the big crowds like the Cherry festival.
Thanks
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Old 11-08-2017, 06:58 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by R-KID View Post
Eric
1) We will not be doing overnights on the boat. I will have found a rental on VRBO
2) Iím comfortable in big water , Iíve crossed the gulfstream a 1/2 dozen times going to the Abacos
3) Mid level
4) We would avoid the big crowds like the Cherry festival.
Thanks
Based on the answers, I would avoid Traverse City. I'd suggest the Charlevoix area, Lk Charlevoix or at the east end of that lake, Boyne city.

If you wanted to keep the boat in the water at one place, then you probably would have to go through a Private Marina vs a state/muni marina. The link previously provided has the very nice state/muni ones, but they limit how long you can stay.

The nice thing about Charlevoix is that if the big water is bad (and it gets bad, had times I wasn't comfortable in my twin diesel express), you can stay on the inland lake. Also, you could trailer over to Crooked Lake and it's about a 4 hour run through the inland waterway, then go through a lock and head to Mackinaw Island (get hotel) and return the next day. It's a nice adventure.

The Cheboygan area has a lot of the same type of boating at Charlevoix, but it's about half the cost, and has a fraction of the nice restaurants and shopping. Of course there is a lot less people... if that is a plus.

Feel free to PM me with questions, I've been playing in that area of Michigan for 45 years!

This might work, Boyne City.

http://harboragemarina.net/
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:19 AM   #16
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Reading this thread has me thinking (that's dangerous).

I live in Ohio but part of my sales territory is the state of Michigan. I think that most anywhere in Northern Michigan is a "can't miss". I've been to many places in the US but I always enjoy Michigan.

There is truly something to do in all 4 seasons, the people are friendly, etc.

My wife and I are thinking of going up east (NH, Vermont, Maine) next year. Although that area is very nice, Northern Michigan is right in our backyard. I think you guys changed my mind. Now I've got to sell it to my wife.
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:06 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by R-KID View Post
My wife and I have visited Michigan for a few years now in July mostly for golf but would like to experience the boating side (cruising). We would like to trailer our 27ft boat from Florida there during the next visit. What areas should I consider , Charlevoix, Traverse City, Harbor Springs?
Are there reasonable dockage rates or am I better off using a ramp and then finding storage for the boat and trailer. We usually rent a house from VRBO. Thanks
I am from the Toledo Ohio area and did exactly what you are asking last summer you are asking and hope to do it again this coming summer. We have a new 19' boat and wanted to explore Michigan so we booked a cottage on Mullet Lake which is a part of the 43 mile inner coastal waterway. We booked through VRBO and can't say enough about the things to see and do. With a boat your size you can go to Mackinaw Island and Traverse City all without leaving your boat. golfing in that area is A+ along with fine dining. If you have any questions about this area, feel free to contact me as we have gone up to this area numerous times since our June vacation for long weekends.BTW.....Boat ramps are awesome.
http://cheboygan.com/visitors/inlandwaterway/
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:24 AM   #18
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R-Kid, are you familiar with the inland waterway? I bet if we polled the thousands of SE Michigan boaters, awareness of that would be in single digits. It's for some reason a well-kept secret, but it shouldn't be. It's IS a cool adventure - esp as an option when the big lakes are kicked up.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:31 AM   #19
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Another thing to think about doing during your stay is the Elk River chain of lakes.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:35 AM   #20
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Wow, you guys have really given me some ideas. I never heard about the inland waterway, is it scenic?
Easy to navigate? If I found a marina in Charlevoix and stayed there as a base I could trailer to Burt lake and start the inland waterway right? Are there boat motels ?
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