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11 Most Beautiful Lakes in Michigan.

Published on: Nov 24, 2018
Updated on: Nov 24, 2018
Michigan claims world supremacy for its length of freshwater coastline with its more than 11,000 lakes (a fact likely being challenged by Canada and Finland). Whether or not that’s the case, wherever you are in Michigan, you are likely not more than 5 miles away from freshwater. The Grand Traverse County alone has 50 lakes. Big and small, glacial and man-made, some are inland and some are connected to Lake Michigan. Some are deep and others are shallow, with cypress trunks rising from the waters. Some lakes surrounded by forest, others are in deep valleys, while others have huge dunes that tower over them. 

1. Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake is located in northwestern Michigan about a mile from Lake Michigan. It’s linked to Lake Michigan through the Betsie River. The lake is surrounded by sandy beaches and its water is very clear and unpolluted. The only village on the lake, village of Beulah, has a nice public beach and a park with playground and sports facilities. Crystal Lake is great for swimming, canoeing, waterskiing, and especially - fishing. There are a number of fishing guides who know where to find rock and smallmouth bass, lake trout, brown and rainbow trout, and coho salmon.
Address: Beulah, MI 49617, USA

2. Bass Lake

Bass Lake is a big glacial lake near Grawn and Traverse City. The lake is reasonably deep (up to 28 feet) and has lovely sandy beaches surrounded by trees that provide pleasant shady areas for visitors very close to the water. The lake is good for all sorts of water sports (kayaking, canoeing, and waterskiing), but fishing is the forte of the lake with the locals. Anglers come for rock bass, northern pike, and walleye. While very close to populated areas, the lake has an untouched and isolated feel.
Address: 74 Lakeside St, Traverse City, MI 49685, USA

3. Big Glen Lake

Big Glen Lake is near the charming little town of Glen Arbor (tourist destination in its own right - being at the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, with a charming downtown filled with boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and welcoming inns). Its crystal-clear water and almost perfect sandy shoreline are surrounded by rolling dunes and small forests. Big Glen Lake and its smaller cousin, Little Glen Lake, are separated from Lake Michigan by a narrow sandbar. The lake is very popular with boaters and families looking for a nice day of swimming as well as with fishermen. It’s rich with yellow perch, brown and lake trout, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. The Glen Lakes are connected by a narrow channel that runs under the bridge that crosses the lakes. Just next to the lake is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (110-foot tall dunes) a park that stretches to Lake Michigan as well as north and south of Manitou Islands.
Address: Glen Arbor, MI 49636, USA

4. Lake Leelanau (North and South)

Lake Leelanau is linked to Lake Michigan through Leland River. It consists of the 2,950 acres North Lake Leelanau and 5,370 acres South Lake Leelanau. The two parts of the lake have different depths and temperatures, providing a home to different fish species and attracting anglers looking for walleye, yellow perch, and bass. The cool thing about the lake is that you can boat into downtown Leland and dock at your favorite restaurants—The Riverside Inn and The Bluebird! Or dock by the library and walk over to Verterra Winery, Fishtown or just to downtown shops, or just head to Boathouse Vineyards.
Address: 569 S Lake Shore Dr, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653, USA

5. Elk Lake

A deep glacial lake reaching depths of 200 feet. It’s located at the end of the chain of 14 lakes on the Elk River not far from Grand Traverse Bay by Elk Rapids village. Elk Lake is about eight miles long and four miles wide and is popular for all sorts of water sports and trout fishing. Fishing for trout on Elk Lake is popular year-round, including ice fishing. Waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding, kayaking, sailing, and ice-boating in the winter are very popular. Elk Rapids is the only sizable village on the lake. It houses a lake marina and other facilities, such as boat rentals.
Address: 11650 Shippey Ln, Rapid City, MI 49676, USA

6. Torch Lake

Torch Lake is Michigan's longest lake at 18 miles and second largest at 18,770 acres. The lake is of glacial origin. The water in the lake has an unusual, very beautiful turquoise color. Torch Lake is one of 14 of the Lower Chain of Lakes. Its maximum depth is 300 feet. Its significant size makes it wonderful for fast rides on a powerboat. The Torch River has several public boat ramps. Sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, canoeing, jet skiing, and water skiing are very popular. The lake is also great for swimming – a popular beach is the two-mile long white sandbar at the south end. Fishing on the lake is superb, with anglers coming for lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, rock and smallmouth bass, whitefish, muskellunge, and ciscoes.
Address: E Torch Lake Dr Bellaire, MI 49615

7. Burt Lake

Burt Lake connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. This lovely lake is a popular tourist destination, and although it is heavily populated, it still contains quiet stretches of natural spaces. Most of them are protected, such as the Colonial Point Memorial Forest, the Chaboiganing Nature Preserve, and Seven Springs Nature Preserve. The most popular is Burt Lake State Park, with more than 2,000 feet of sandy beach. Maple Bay County Campground and Beach offer rustic camping and a nice swimming beach. The only village on the lake is Indian River. Fishing is the most popular activity, with trophy walleye, sturgeon, brown and rainbow trout, rock bass, and many other fish species biting, depending on the season. The Maple Bay area’s sheltered bay provides warm, pleasant shallows that are great for swimming and sailing.
Address: Indian River, MI 49749, USA

8. Muskegon Lake

Lake Muskegon is connected to Lake Michigan via a mile-long stretch of the Muskegon River. The lake and wetlands that surround it are the major parts of the Great Lakes’ coastal wetlands. Sailing on the lake and fishing are the most popular activities. Anglers come for the walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, Chinook salmon, brown and lake trout, and catfish. This lake is home to many yacht clubs. Other popular sports are boating, waterskiing, and kite-boarding. There are 13 marinas and a number of launch sites. Regattas are held regularly in the warmer months.
Address: 498 Bay Ln, North Muskegon, MI 49445, USA

9. Mullett Lake

One of the largest lakes in Michigan, Mullett Lake has 28 miles of shoreline. The lake offers fun year-round, with ice fishing or snowmobiling in the winter on the 11-mile long trail, surrounded by beautiful dense forests of mostly maples, red oak, aspen, white cedar, spruce, pine, and tamarack. The trail is also popular among horseback riders and hikers in the summer. On the lake’s eastern shore is Aloha State Park with 285 modern campsites, a trail, harbor with boat ramp and two sandy swimming beaches. Lake has a lot of places rich in bass, smelt, trout, yellow perch, northern pike, and walleye.
Address: Indian River, MI 49749, USA

10. Lake Paradise

Lake Paradise became popular among tourists at the beginning of the 20th century and there are still a few resort camps on its shores. Dense woods around the lake give the area a wild, natural look. They are home to a number of wildlife species such as deer, wild turkeys, eagles, and loons. The lake is very popular for waterskiing, jet skiing, tubing, and swimming. Paradise Lake is tannin-stained and it is the perfect environment for largemouth and smallmouth, and rock bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, northern pike, walleye, and yellow perch. 
Address: Levering, MI 49755, USA

11. Big and South Manistique Lakes

Their shorelines are mostly shallow and sandy, creating great swimming beaches for kids. Water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing, power-boating, and paddling are also very popular. While both lakes are rich in fish, they vary in the species they have, and anglers know where to go for their favorites: white sucker, walleye, sunfish, largemouth, smallmouth, and rock bass, muskellunge, yellow perch, and northern pike. 
Address: Germfask, MI 49836, USA