Thinking of getting away? Lake Michigan beach vacations top the list for Champaign-Urbana area residents seeking getaway destinations
Do you need something to look forward to? I know we do. Typically this is the time of year when we start thinking about what we’re doing for a summer vacation. I’m always startled to find out that maybe we’re getting started a little bit too late.
This year, I felt the need to look not because we feel “late,” but because it feels good to think about a carefree summer vacation, time at the Lake Michigan beaches, picking berries, and eating ice cream with abandon – all hallmarks of a Southwest Michigan adventure.
Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball about what is going to happen over the next six months in regards to the pandemic, but we’re trying to be optimistic.
We’ve provided options here for stays in AirBnB type accommodations – which is often more comfortable for larger families, and is a great option for social distancing.
Please remember that single homes have limited availability. That’s why they book up early – and can get extremely pricey during the “high” season, with elastic pricing being the norm for summer destinations. We’ve tried to keep affordability in mind as much as possible — however these prices can fluctuate widely.
We hope you can find that perfect house or cottage for a summer getaway. Or perhaps you don’t want to wait until then and feel the urge to plan something sooner; many of these places are less expensive and have more occupancy available in the “offseasons.” Please always call ahead to verify details as amenities and options may change frequently.
- We have put this together with COVID-19 restrictions in mind, but be aware that state/regional/local restrictions and mitigations are changing quickly; we are not advocating for anyone to do anything outside of those rules.
- Pay careful attention to cancellation policies.
- All rates are subject to change at any time.
- We haven’t personally been to all of these locations, but rely on reader recommendations, as well as reviews (we only include those with 4.75 stars and up).
- We’ve focused on those within a four-hour drive, but most are closer.
Please note: AirBnB links are affiliate links, and chambanamoms.com earns commission on bookings through those links. Thank you for supporting our small business. Photos courtesy of AirBnB, unless marked otherwise.
Evergreen Haven, Fennville: Located north of South Haven, this affordable gem is great for a smaller family (limit four guests) that wants a cozy cottage feeling and loves to be in nature. And, pets are allowed. Indoor and outdoor dining, fire pit, and lots of wildlife will await you. Reviews say it’s a quick drive to pretty much anything in Saugatuck/Douglas/Fennville. Best of all: no sticker shock, less than $200 per night before fees – even in high season.
New Buffalo Beach House: Dates for this one are spotty, which isn’t surprising as it is very kid-friendly and only a 20-minute walk to the beach and to town. Two bedrooms and sleeps six. “Wonderful little beach cottage. It’s definitely lived in — not an Airbnb-only kind of place — which we liked. Lots of toys for the kids!” Pricing ranges, but didn’t seem to be more than $175/night before fees – and sometimes much lower, so go during the week for better rates.
Grand Junction Lakehouse: Well located on a lake with lake views in all directions – but not far from THE LAKE (20 minutes or so to drive). “The amenities were fantastic and included a massive screened in sitting room, outdoor shower, and kayaks. Our boys (under 14) enjoyed the private beach down the lane on the island and the fishing.” The massive screened-in porch is below. Also: three bedrooms and room to sleep 10. Rents for $225/night before fees in high season.
Rustic Glamhouse in South Haven: We love to be in South Haven for vacation, but South Haven prices can be downright scary: we’re talking pre-pandemic Manhattan hotel prices for high season (easily $375 and up). But some “relative bargains” can be found. This 2-bedroom condo sleeps six comfortably and rents for about $260 per night in summer before fees. Certainly not cheap, but a good value considering the location. Still a drive to beaches and town, but very close. “It was a lovely space and the best part was actually the rope swing in the backyard for the kids.”
(Here’s a whole article about South Haven and its charms, including the famous Sherman’s Dairy Bar, with all its flavors (below).
Cozy Log Cabin in Stevensville: An authentic log cabin in Stevensville, Michigan, has a wood burning fire place indoors, outdoor deck overlooking outdoor fire pit, hammock for naptime, fully stocked kitchen, croquet, lots of sitting areas, board games, two bikes, close to the beach and Grand Mere State Park. Nearby are breweries and wineries. Bonus: strong internet service and dogs are allowed. Three bedrooms makes this a great option for larger families. Roughly $300 per night in high season, less other times of year.
Sawyer Cottage: Relax in Sawyer, Michigan at this three-bedroom bungalow which is big enough for a large family, or a vacation with the grandparents/other adults. We love that there’s an outdoor shower for washing off after a day at the beach. The front porch is large, and the property is dog friendly. “This house was beautifully designed and centrally located to anything you’d want to do in Harbor Country – across the street from the gorgeous Warren Dunes; a short drive from antique shops, bakeries, breakfast spots, fruit markets, breweries and the legendary Sawyer Home + Garden; and a 15 minute drive from Michigan’s wine country.” $260+ in high season before fees; less other times of year.
Comfy Coloma Cottage: Located a 2-min drive from Hagar Park Beach and in a quiet wooded neighborhood, the house is a great option for those who want to enjoy Lake Michigan and nearby St. Joseph and South Haven tourist towns – but don’t want to pay South Haven prices. Recommended for families with young kids. Three bedrooms and beds for eight people. Rents for $180/night in high season (night minimum may apply), around $120 in “low” season.
Budget Friendly Cottage in Union Pier: This cottage has two bedrooms and has room for a family of four, or four adults. Union Pier is just over the Indiana/Michigan border in Harbor Country. “Quick drive to everything – beaches, hiking, restaurants, wineries, breweries, etc. Bring your bikes for rides in the country or rent kayaks to explore the Galien river.” A reviewer said: “this cabin is magical and I would absolutely want to stay here again.” Even in high season, less than $150/night.
Lakeside Cottage With Kayaks and Paddle Boat: This AirBnB is a bit inland, located in Bloomingdale, Michigan. Although about 40 minutes from Lake Michigan beaches, it is right next to a lake of its own – which allows swimming. The cottage provides access to row boats, kayaks and paddle boat. This is a great place to disconnect – no Wifi. Three night minimum is required, it’s also less than $200/night before fees and sleeps six. Pets are allowed.
AirBnB options on the coast in Indiana can be a little more inexpensive than Michigan. Not sure exactly why. Some say that the beaches in Indiana are even better – and perhaps less crowded – than Michigan, but of course close enough for day trips. Don’t miss out on the Indiana Dunes, now a National Park.
The House with the Blue Door in Michigan City: Located about a mile from Lake Michigan, reviewers rave that this is a great option for a family getaway. Near beaches and the National Park. Even close to the South Shore line, which takes you directly into Chicago via train, if that’s part of your vacation plan; not far from the downtown arts district. Rents for around $150/night before fees and sleeps five.
Classic Michiana Shores Cabin: Step back in time to a classic Michiana Shores cabin experience, for a peaceful location in the woods within walking distance to the beach (but modern amenities include WiFi and air conditioning). This cozy two-bedroom sleeps five and allows pets, and rents for under $200/night before fees in high season. Screened in porch and fire pit in the backyard. Many reviewers mention they are return visitors.