Why Southwest Michigan?

Perhaps MSNBC said it best: “Imagine a weeklong vacation spent lounging on a sandy beach in Florida, touring a Napa Valley winery, visiting an art gallery in New York, exploring a historic Cape Cod lighthouse and golfing surfside on Hilton Head Island. Sounds great -- except for the expense, the unfeasible travel logistics and the exhaustion. Now imagine a leisurely vacation on the west coast of Michigan, where similar destinations are close enough to each other to be enjoyed in a lot less time and for a lot less money.”

“I had no idea it was so close!”

Choose a weekend and spend some time exploring Southwest Michigan.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how many beautiful, affordable vacation homes are within a two hour drive of Chicago.  Some are as close as 70 minutes from downtown, Chicago.  Even for those as far north as the Cook County – Lake County line, Michigan is as close or closer than what you may find going into Wisconsin. Many have discovered an affordable location in southern Wisconsin isn’t really so southern, and they end up having 3-4 hour drives. Those whose primary house location is south of the northern Chicago suburbs will find Michigan far easier to get to than Wisconsin.  This is especially true now that the additional lanes have been added and the construction completed on the I-80/I-94 expressway from Illinois to Indiana. For those approaching from the Edens or the Kennedy, the Chicago Skyway (I-90) is a great, well-maintained shortcut around the lake. For those coming from the far western suburbs, the new I-355 extension to I-80 is a real time saver.

It’s Michigan, Pure Michigan

Ever wonder about all those great radio and TV ads featuring the mellifluous voice of Tim Allen, a Michigan native? Michigan has a tremendous natural resource that neither California nor Florida can boast: It has the world’s longest freshwater shoreline. Bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan is a vacation travel destination to millions annually, not just from neighboring states, but from every corner of the US and beyond. Michigan's tourism website, Pure Michigan, regularly wins awards and is often the most visited state tourism site of all 50 states.

Water, water, everywhere. . .

The vast majority of those looking for a second home are looking for one with either a view of water or access to a lake, a beach or both. Southwest Michigan is home to some of the best Lake Michigan beaches (on the sunset side of the lake, no less) as well as a large number of inland lakes ideal for boating, fishing and swimming. For those with large boats, consider a home with boat access on Lake Michigan. The views on Lake Michigan are spectacular any time of the day or night.  It’s the closest thing to being on an ocean, without the nasty salt taste. For those with smaller boats designed for skiing and fishing, consider an inland lake, which typically will afford you more days of smoother water than the big lake.  Some enjoy both types of lakes and transport their boat a short drive to experience different lakes each summer.

You’ll feel wanted!

The State of Michigan understands the value of a thriving tourist industry, and they cater to it. Michigan visitors spend $17.5 billion per year, which creates almost 200,000 tourism jobs. Michigan is fifty percent forest land, much of it quite remote. Just drive around Southwest Michigan and you can't help but notice the many forests, lakes and thousands of miles of beaches. In 2006, the Michigan State Board of Education mandated that all public schools in the state hold their first day of school after the Labor Day holiday so that summer workers wouldn’t leave their jobs and cut the summer tourism season short.  Now that is real commitment to tourism. Your summer season will just meld right into fall, which is something else you will not want to miss in Southwest Michigan.

More "time" to enjoy

Southwest Michigan is ideally situated on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, which means there is another hour of sunshine all year round compared to Chicago. Leave for the weekend on Friday afternoon and have time for dinner AND a cruise of the lake, as it stays light out as late as 10:43pm!*  Just as convenient is the fact that when driving back to Chicago, you gain an extra hour.  It seems that the time change works out well in either direction! 

* Nautical twilight on June 22nd each year.