Resort near Two Serene Lakes in Northern Michigan
Houghton Lake is Michigan’s largest inland lake. It’s a puddle compared to the surrounding Great Lakes, but Houghton is appealing on its own terms for its small size and calm atmosphere. Several miles north of Houghton Lake you can find Higgins Lake. Located just a mile from Houghton Lake and about a 25-minute drive from Higgins Lake is Springbrook Inn, which rests on 5 acres populated by pine trees, deer, porcupines, and foxes.
The inn is tailored to couples: each guest room has a hot tub, a gas fireplace, and a king-size bed. Innkeeper Kathy Grover encourages guests to get out as much as possible to enjoy nature. She’s curated an extensive list of local things to do in any season.
The inn’s onsite tiki bar, The Frog, is open Tuesday–Sunday in the spring and summer; it frequently hosts trivia nights and tasting events. Stop here to enjoy tropical drinks along with salmon-patty sandwiches, chilled jumbo shrimp, and other Caribbean-style entrees. The more upscale East Bay Grille is open Wednesday–Saturday and serves fine cuisine such as walleye and Prime steaks.
Prudenville, Michigan: Lakeside Small Town Surrounded by White- and Red-Pine Forests
The northern Michigan town of Prudenville marks an edge of the 22,000-acre Houghton Lake, the state’s largest inland lake. Between Houghton Lake and nearby Higgins Lake are countless parks and nature areas where you can go bicycling, hiking, or bird watching. And there are several other outdoor activities, such as golf and canoe trips on the AuSable River.
On Houghton Lake itself, you can fish for bluegill, bass, and walleye in the late summer and early fall. There are several launch sites and marinas around both Houghton and Higgins Lake. When the weather gets especially warm, visitors lounge along the lakeside beaches, including Sullivan Beach, just a few miles from Springbrook Inn.
About 16 miles north of Springbrook Inn is Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve, which has a network of hiking 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.