What Is the Best Lake in Michigan to Live On?

Do you long to buy a home on the shores of a picturesque lake? Purchasing a home in Michigan, which has four seasons, plentiful animals, and a plethora of lakes, may be the ideal way to fulfill your lake house aspirations.

More than 11 thousand inland lakes dot the state of Michigan, which is home to the magnificent Great Lakes as well.

You can choose whether you want to live on the shores of Lake Michigan or somewhere more secluded.

An investment in a second home or vacation property can be surprisingly affordable. But how do you go about finding your little piece of lakeside heaven?

Personal Finance Website WalletHub voted Traverse City as the best lakefront city, and this community sits on the Grand Traverse Bay section of Lake Michigan.

Not only is the lake lovely, but it’s available for many types of water sports activities. It has several marinas too.

Let’s look more into Traverse Bay and the cities adjacent to it.

Table of Contents

What is Traverse Bay?

Leelanau Peninsula

The Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan’s northwest Lower Peninsula forms Grand Traverse Harbor, a deep bay of Lake Michigan.

The bay stretches for 32 miles and is 10 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 620 feet. The Old Mission Peninsula is divided into two sections.

There is a large preserve that spans the full bay. However, Grand Traverse Bay on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula should not be mistaken for this bay.

On What Section of the Lake is Traverse City Situated?

There are 13 communities along the lake. The Boardman River drains into the west arm of Traverse Bay at the bay’s southern end at Traverse City, Michigan.

For this reason, and others, Traverse City is referred to as the “Cherry Capital” by locals.

Nationally recognized firms, such as Traverse Bay Farms, Old Mission Traders, and the Cherry Republic offer cherry-based goods created with Northern Michigan tart cherries.

This area is the cherry capital of Michigan.

Traverse City

The Old Mission Peninsula divides the bay in two, creating the East and West arms. Old Mission Bay, Bowers Harbor, Omena Bay, Suttons Bay, and Northport Bay are just a few of the smaller bays that make up Grand Traverse.

Numerous marinas can be found on the bay in places like Traverse City, Elk Rapids, and Greilickville.

Why Live in Traverse City?

The population of Traverse City is 15,570. One of the best areas to live in Michigan can be found in Grand Traverse County.

Citizens in Traverse City enjoy a suburban lifestyle, with the majority of residents being house owners.

There are numerous green spaces to enjoy in Traverse City, Michigan. According to Niche.com, Traverse City is home to a large number of working professionals, most of whom are conservative. Traverse City’s public institutions have an excellent reputation.

Hiking, cross-country skiing, cycling, and boating are all popular pastimes in and around Traverse City.

Most cars have ski racks in the winter and kayak racks in the summer. As evidenced by these, the area tends to draw energetic retirees who enjoy spending time in nature.

live in Traverse City

What is Grand Traverse Bay Famous For?

Grapes are grown in the area, and it is a major wine-producing region of Michigan.

The Grand Traverse Bay area is a famous tourist spot because of its sparkling blue sea and golden sand beaches.

According to Northwestern Michigan College’s underwater archaeology professor Mark Holley, who is an underwater archaeology professor at Northwestern Michigan College, they may have found a boulder 3.5 to 4 feet in height and 5 feet in length with a prehistoric engraving in the Grand Traverse Bay.

An enormous spear protrudes from the granite rock’s side, giving the impression of being stuck into a mastodon.

More evidence is needed to confirm that the patterns are primitive petroglyphs. There is an image of the stone on page 9 of the July 19, 2008, issue of New Scientist, which can be viewed in a documentary film.

Does Grand Traverse Lake Freeze Over?

From Old Mission Peninsula to Power Island, West Grand Traverse Bay freezes up fully every few years or so.

Old Mission Peninsula

The ice sometimes only reaches a distance of 20 feet from the shoreline.

Grand Traverse’s Baykeeper, Heather Smith, says that a total freeze-over is always a possibility.

This takes into account the ice that has begun to build on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay.

When it comes to whether the bay freezes, Smith says it’s usually a coin toss. Both 2018 and 2019 had a complete freeze on Power Island.

The Weather in Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan

The state of Michigan has four distinct seasons, with scorchingly hot summers and bitterly cold, icy winters to contend with.

It’s a great place to enjoy the great outdoors all year round, from ice fishing in the winter to summertime swims.

The living expenses in Michigan are also lower than the national average, according to BestPlaces, making waterfront properties there more reasonably priced than in other coastal states.

The following are some of the top spots to buy lake houses in Michigan if you’re interested in exploring your lakeside lifestyle possibilities.

Grand Traverse Bay

Is the Grand Traverse Safe?

Grand Traverse County, Michigan received a Dwellics score of 73. (with 100 being the best). This score helps you locate the safest neighborhoods in the United States.

The quality of air, water, crime, natural disasters, substance misuse, cancer cases, and other issues are all taken into account when assessing whether Grand Traverse County, Michigan is a safe place to call home.

According to our study, violent crime rates in Grand Traverse County, Michigan, are among the highest in the United States.

A moderate level of crime is committed through setting fires, while a moderate level of property crime, such as vandalism, is committed.

Best Places to Buy a Home Near Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan

Based on data from BestPlaces and the U.S. Census 2019–2021, the following cities were ranked based on population, median home price, and median income, as well as their proximity to nearby lakes.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s wise to keep in mind that the cost of shoreline might not have been fully reflected by an area’s average home price.


Traverse City

  • Population: 15,738
  • Average House Price: $330,400
  • Average Income: $57,000 annually.
  • Attractions: Silver Lake, Lake Michigan, Long Lake, and others are all nearby.

Nestled on the northeastern side of Lake Michigan, Traverse City is a city located on the Grand Traverse Bay, which empties into Lake Michigan.

Because it produces the bulk of the nation’s tart cherries, the city is commonly referred to as Michigan’s “cherry capital”.

Wine lovers from the Midwest go to the region since it is a major producer of grapes. The city’s shoreline, woodlands, and vineyards all add to the city’s natural splendor.

Traverse City, Michigan, is a wonderful destination for individuals who want both a peaceful getaway and a vibrant city culture.

During the summer and fall, the Traverse City Film Festival and Traverse City Beer Week are hosted on the Grand Traverse Bay, which has a lot to offer visitors.

Grand Traverse


  • Population: 966
  • Average House Price: $433,700
  • Average Income: $56,979
  • Attractions: Lake Michigan and Kalamazoo Lake are also close by

Located between the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan’s lovely shoreline, Saugatuck is a peaceful community.

Beautiful beaches, art galleries, and unique boutiques have turned this once-busy port town into a major tourist spot.

During the summer, the population of Saugatuck more than doubles, with visitors from throughout the Midwestern states flocking to the town.

Saugatuck’s dynamic art scene and the world-famous Oval Beach, a beautiful stretch of shoreline on Lake Michigan, are two of the city’s most popular draws for visitors.

Shortly after arriving in the city, visitors can take a short journey to Holland, a city steeped in Dutch culture with a prominent spring tulip festival.


Saugatuck is a terrific destination to spend your summers on the water whether you enjoy the arts or prefer a small-town atmosphere, thanks to the long history of summer visitors from Chicago and other surrounding Midwestern cities.

Grand Haven

  • Population: 11,047
  • Average House Price: $286,600
  • Average Income: $58,307
  • Attractions: Lake Michigan

Located on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, Grand Haven is also situated on the Grand River, which runs into Grand Rapids.

The Lighthouse, which was completed in 1839, is one of the most popular attractions in Grand Haven.

There are a lot of summer visitors to the city because of the beaches, parks, and campsites.

Swimming, boating, tubing, sailing, and even surfing are popular summer pastimes for city dwellers.

Michigan Haven

Among its many recreation opportunities available during the summer are a skate park, a ski park, and a yearly kite festival.

Grand Haven is just a short distance from Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, making it an ideal location for waterfront landowners who desire the appeal of a summer home with the convenience of a larger metropolis nearby.


  • Population: 36,462
  • Average House Price: $131,300
  • Average Income: $25,989 on average
  • Attractions: Lake Michigan, Wolf, and White Lake are all within a few miles

North of Grand Haven, on the shores of Lake Michigan, is Muskegon. Because of the numerous fishing boats, sailboats, and other vessels that frequently line the shore, it’s referred to as “Michigan’s port city.”

One of the major communities in Western Michigan, it is also home to numerous tourist attractions, including Michigan’s Adventure, the state’s largest amusement and water park.


Art and culture are alive and well in Muskegon and the city is home to several festivals, museums, and intriguing shopping destinations.

Even though Muskegon is located near Grand Rapids, there are still lots of things to do in and around the city.

Even if you’re not interested in sailing or boating, Muskegon is a terrific place to buy a lake house. The real estate market in Muskegon can be a fascinating topic to study.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a vacation home or a permanent residence, Michigan is an excellent area to begin your search.

All kinds of water enthusiasts can find a lake house in Michigan, whether they choose a city location or the solitude of the Upper Peninsula.

Do not forget that waterfront property is available all around Michigan, from Traverse City to the small communities along Lake Huron.

In your search for waterfront property, you must select a spot that resonates with your unique set of wants and needs.