Resort for Nature Lovers, One Mile from Michigan's Largest Inland Lake
Houghton Lake is the largest inland lake in Michigan. That title is less impressive when you consider that Michigan is surrounded by the enormous Great Lakes, which make any inland lake look like a puddle. But Houghton is appealing on its own terms because of its tiny size and calm atmosphere. You can hop on a canoe and explore spring-fed rivers nearby, or head to the sandy beach area to board a pontoon boat or sit under a picnic shelter. And just a few miles away from Houghton Lake you can find Higgins Lake, which is nearly as large. Both of these lakes are set in northern Michigan and just 30 minutes from Springbrook Inn, which has 5 acres populated by pine trees, deer, porcupines, and foxes.
Innkeepers Matt and Kathy Grover encourage their guests to get out as much as possible to enjoy nature. Just on the property itself, you can stroll past perennial gardens and a Japanese koi fishpond with a waterfall and gazebo. There's also a seasonal outdoor tiki bar, The Frog, which serves Caribbean-style grilled eats such as mahi fingers and chilled jumbo shrimp. Every weekend the Grovers bring in local musicians to play live island music at The Frog; other nights, you can play trivia or enjoy beer and wine tastings. The inn is tailored specifically as a couples' retreat. Each guest room has a hot tub, gas fireplace, and king-size bed.
Prudenville, Michigan: Lakeside Small Town Surrounded by White- and Red-Pine Forests
The northern Michigan town of Prudenville edges one side of the 22,000-acre Houghton Lake. Between Houghton Lake and nearby Higgins Lake, there are more than a dozen launch sites for boating; local shops rent out boats for all kinds of trips, whether you want to fish for the lake's abundant bass, brown trout, and walleye, or just take a relaxing cruise. The two lakes are also lined with sandy beaches, which have picnic pavilions and waters safe for swimming.
About 16 miles north of Springbrook Inn is Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve, which has a network of hiking and biking trails threaded through 60 acres. Signs pop up throughout the trails that tell informative tidbits about the white- and red-pine forest and cedar swamp habitats. A small stream known as Tank Creek also cuts across the preserve, and it's lined with boardwalks and decks that overlook the water. One paved trail is wheelchair accessible.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.