The best beachfront Airbnbs & VRBOs to book in Southeast Michigan

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You don’t have to travel to the west side of the Mitten to enjoy beautiful beachfront rentals for your summer vacation—here are some of our favorite Michigan beachfront Airbnbs and VRBOs to check out. 

One of the best parts about living in Michigan is our access to the Great Lakes. Almost anywhere you live in Michigan, you can drive just a few hours and reach one of our incredible beaches with fresh water galore and not a shark in sight.

The west side of Michigan gets plenty of accolades for its sandy, welcoming beaches, but as a Southeastern Michigan gal myself, I tend to stick to this side of the state. It may be true that some areas of Southeastern Michigan are more rocky and wild, but there are still plenty of beautiful beaches to be found in SE Michigan too. If you’re looking to enjoy some of those beautiful beaches, you may want to consider booking a beachfront Michigan Airbnb that offers access to water and plenty of space for your family to enjoy. 

And because I just so happen to love dreaming about pretty much any beach rental in Michigan, here are some of the best beachfront properties to book near SE Michigan, from just north of Detroit to further up to the tip of the thumb. 

Shoreward Retreat

Harbor Beach, MI

The town of Harbor Beach, located about midpoint on the thumb’s east coast is an adorable, quaint town full of community events like tennis courts, movie and live music nights on the beach, and tours of one of the oldest lighthouses in Michigan. It’s one of the cutest little towns and I’m almost hesitant to put it out on a list because it feels like a well-kept secret!

But if you do want to venture out to Harbor Beach, you’ll want to check out Shoreward Retreat, a luxury VRBO rental that can sleep up to 16 guests. The property is a sprawling 5 acres with 150 feet of private shoreline and the water is perfect for paddleboarding. 

Willow Cottage

Lexington, MI

Lexington is one of my very favorite Michigan beach towns. It’s small but full of charm, from the local Lexington Coffee Co. coffeehouse that serves up daily fresh brews to the historic Cadillac Inn that has magic nights and family-style chicken dinners to the harbor, where boaters and local alike can gather to enjoy dining, views, the beach, or music and events in the park. You’ll definitely want to plan a trip to visit Lexington, especially in the summer when entertainment can be found nearly every weekend. 

The Willow Cottage would be a great Airbnb to stay at during your visit, with room for up to 6 guests, 100 feet of rare private sandy beach (Lexington is on the true east coast of the thumb, so the water can be more rocky in areas), and gorgeous decor. The property is so picturesque, in fact, that weddings have been hosted here!

Huron Bay House

Port Austin, MI

If you’ve never heard of Port Austin, you’ll soon wonder why you haven’t visited before. This small town near the tip of the thumb boasts sandy stretches of beach that allow the most prolific of beach wanderers to walk for miles. Plus, the sandy area allows for shallow water that’s ideal for kayaking and families with young kids to visit. The downtown area has one of the largest and most popular farmer’s markets in Michigan and plenty of summer fun, from water rentals to giant ice cream cones to putt-putt golf. 

Port Austin has plenty of seasonal rentals if you’re looking for a place to stay near the water, but the Huron Bay House is one of the area’s favorites, with 23 glowing reviews on Airbnb. It could be the fact that this house has everything, from a gorgeous sandy beach right outside your door, to kayaks that come with your stay, a full game room and s’mores included, to sleeping arrangements for up to 9 people. Oh, and your furry family members are welcome too, as this rental allows dogs up to 50 pounds. 

Cozy Lake House

Port Austin, MI

Smaller families may appreciate this charming and cozy lake house that is a little outside of Port Austin and situated near Caseville, another popular Michigan beach town. You get the best of both towns with this in-the-middle lake house and near panoramic views of the gorgeous water. 

Speaking of views, you’re going to want to catch the sunsets—quite possibly the best in the entire state and I say that from personal stunning experience—from the generous deck of this rental. The house sleeps up to 4 guests and travelers say they appreciated how clean the house was, as well as the beautiful sandy beach just steps away. 

Heart Rock Haven

Port Austin, MI

Picture this: you, swinging in a hammock as the gentle breeze from the water rocks you. You gaze out over the sparking blue waters of Lake Huron and take the deepest, most relaxing breath you have taken all year. That’s exactly the scene you’ll find at Heart Rock Haven, which is located on a private beach in Port Austin and offers everything from room for 8 guests to kayaks to outdoor dining and game areas. Enjoy a smore’s basket by the included outdoors, gather around the large outdoor dining table, or cozy up by the indoor fireplace for movie night.

This year-round Airbnb is so popular that it books years in advance, so you’ll want to move quickly if you have your eye on it. 

The Lakehouse, a North Shore Lakefront Chalet

Pigeon, MI

Another hidden gem in Michigan is Sand Point, a small inlet off Caseville that offers gorgeous sunrises and sunsets along with sandy beaches that will make you think you’ve been transported to the Caribbean (minus the salt water, of course!)

Not only does this Airbnb have a spacious 2,2000 square foot of space for up to 12 guests, but it has plenty of appeal both indoors and out. There’s 75’ of private lakefront with a beach (when water conditions are right), a deck surrounding the property that will give you views for your morning coffee or nightly glass of wine, and a sleeping loft where the kids will make tons of memories in for sleepovers.

Have a boat? Bring it along and launch from the nearby boat launch in the canal for even more water fun. This is also an all-year rental, so you can book and bring the fam up for special celebrations, holidays, or just a break from the everyday. 

Luxury Lake Front Home-Private Beach

Caseville, MI

I’ve had this beachfront rental saved for years and I’m not sure my dreams of staying in it will ever come true, but I will keep dreaming because it’s just that gorgeous. Not only is the rental a rare 5-star listing on Airbnb, with glowing reviews, a guest-favorite on the site, and managed by a superhost, but the property looks every bit the picturesque beach house, right down to the blue colors that mirror the tranquil waters and the stone that wraps around the base. 

Anyone who wants a true beachfront experience will want to check out this property because it offers 100 feet of private sandy beach and 180-degree views of Lake Huron. Plus, it’s a very private area, so you’ll feel like you’re really on vacation and not partying with all of your neighbors. (Unless that is your idea of a vacation, of course!) The whole house is stocked with amenities, 5 bedrooms plus a loft space and an additional garage apartment that can fit 4 more guests upon request. 

The reviews on this property—as well as the pictures—paint a breathing picture. “What a spectacular piece of property,” one guest raved. “The home is gorgeous and the water was breathtaking. Everything was top-notch. The interior details were stunning and I would highly recommend this beautiful home!”

Gobles Estate 

Gobles, MI

While the water of this sprawling property may not be a beach of the Great Lakes, it’s ideal if you’re looking for a VRBO that can accommodate a big group. Just how big? Well, this estate near Kalamazoo, MI can accommodate an impressive 38 guests, making it ideal for family reunions or extended family vacations. 

Guests marvel at how the property has everything you need to have fun right on-site, from kayaks and a boast with a dock to a massive indoor pool and hot tub to a game room. “The property was perfect for multiple families,” raved one guest. “Plenty of space, amazing pool, hot tub, toys for you little, accommodating kitchen, and property manager. We would definitely go back.”

Holly’s House on Houghton

Houghton Lake, MI

Holly’s House on Houghton Lake may be a cozy 2-bedroom, 1-bath cottage rental, but it can still sleep up to an impressive 8 guests thanks to a heated porch that has a king bed that allows guests to wake up to the best view in the house. 

The cottage sits on 50’ of waterfrontage on the south end of the lake and is self-managed, so you’ll have to reach out directly to the property owners via their Facebook page to book. A great bonus of this rental is that it’s available to rent all year, so you can enjoy a cozy winter getaway, ice-fishing, or snowmobiling on local trails. 

Champagne Chalet

East Jordan, MI

If you’re willing to drive a bit, you’ll want to check out Champagne Chalet (and yes, the hosts really include champagne in your stay!) Last winter, my sister, mom, my four daughters, and I all took a girls’ weekend to the Champagne Chalet and we had an absolute blast at this boutique lakehouse that boating enthusiasts will love. It’s nestled on the shores of Lake Charlevoix—which superhosts Julie and Brent Moorehead note has some of the calmest, clearest, and warmest waters in northern Michigan. In fact, Lake Charlevoix was voted the second most beautiful lake in the whole nation by USA Today

With ample room and sleeping arrangements for up to 10 guests (we fit the maximum and never felt cramped!), the lakehouse is roomy enough to accommodate a large party over three floors, so you can enjoy time together but still have plenty of places to retreat when you need some downtime. We spent most of our time at the lakehouse, enjoying at-home spa activities, movie nights, and having our morning coffee as we gazed over the water from the master bedroom, but there’s also plenty to do in the area. 

“You can boat or drive to thee different towns: Charlevoix, East Jordan, pr Boyne City, all with such fun and different vibes,” shares Moorehead. “You can also boat out to Lake Michigan which means you can boat to anywhere in the world from here! The house is surrounded by the Petoskey wine trails for fall color tours, ski lodges in the winter, and beautiful lilacs in the spring.”


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Author

  • Chaunie Brusie

    Chaunie Brusie is a mom of five, a native Michigander, and a Registered Nurse turned writer and editor. She specializes in health and medical writing. Her work has appeared everywhere from The New York Times to Glamour to Parents magazine.

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