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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

Historic Cottage on the Best Beach in the Mackinaw Area

Bedrooms 3
Space 1,500 sq ft
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 2 - 6 nights


About the property

3 Bedroom, 1 bath, 1 shower, sleeps 8

This 1925 beach cottage was the first cottage to be built on beautiful Cecil Bay. The sand beach directly in front of it has no stones or weeds, only sand stretching over a mile in length. It faces due west, so cool breezes and full sunsets are the norm. The cottage is very well preserved for that quintessential Northern Michigan experience.

Walk out your back door down the sandy path to swim in the warm water that pools in Cecil Bay. The sand extends out two hundred yards and at 50 yards is only 2 feet deep, perfect for sandcastles and the little ones who build them.

A four minute drive puts you at the ferry dock to Mackinac Island. Wilderness State Park, the Headlands Preserve, French Farm Lake Wildlife Refuge, Fort Michilimackinac, waterparks, golfcourses and the auto-free 'Crossings' retail development are within 3 miles.

Owner loves to blab (brag) about this beach and area, so feel free to call (865) 388-4490 (cell), or you can call toll free at (800) 735-5782. Both numbers between 9-6 EST

This beach has warm water blown in by the prevailing winds. It is crescent shaped and captures the warmed surface water. It is not uncommon for this water to be 10-15 degrees above that of the open lake. The prevailing winds also bring cool breezes off the lake on hot days.

The 30 foot long front porch is screened, but also has one 12 foot screen panel hinged at the top to hook the screen out of sight. This is where the hanging dual seat and a small couch are located. On most days you will not have to lower this screen because the breeze keeps bugs from entering. The porch is relatively high up from the ground (higher than what is commonly built today), so the view of the lake is improved.

Lake Huron or Lake Michigan?: Go to the local real estate office and you will find that the average lake Huron footage goes for less than $1,000

The average sales price of Lake Michigan footage on the mile of beach in the middle of Cecil Bay goes for over $4,000 per foot, when it is available.

This is because on Cecil Bay we get:

Full direct West Sunsets

Sandy beach, no weeds or stones (not even little ones close to shore), gently sloping out to five foot depth about 150 yards off shore. Perfect sandcastle area at water's edge. These are all related because the prevailing winds make the sandy beach, keep the bushes and trees from growing on the beach, cool the land, etc.

Cool prevailing wind breezes off the lake help blow bugs back into the woods

The prevailing winds and the shallowness of the two mile wide bay trap warmed surface waters

Wilderness Park Drive Really is Wild: This corner of Northern Michigan contains more public, undeveloped land than private land. Standing on the beach you can see miles of undeveloped shoreline. Emmet County's Headlands preserve is a short five minute walk down the beach. On the South side of the Cecil Bay Wilderness State Park stretches for miles into the horizon. On the other side of Wilderness Pk Dr there is the undeveloped State Forest, including French Farm Wildlife Refuge, the three mile long inland lake where the locals fish and birdwatch. Its entire shoreline remains undeveloped, but there are plenty of hiking and biking trails, along with a boat launch for fishing boats, canoes and kayaks.

But you're not really far from civilization because all the restaurants, shopping and nightlife of Mackinaw City is an easy 3 mile drive. If you haven't been to Mackinaw City in a few years you will be surprised. Of course the Mackinac Island ferry docks are there, but don't miss the historic lighthouses and fort.

More Details

Ross DeMeritt
Member since: 2010
Speaks: english, spanish, russian, Lithuanian
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
April 24, 2018

About Ross DeMeritt

That's me on the right with family, having lunch on the Fort Mackinaw deck (highly recommended). Down below see the straits of Mackinaw and the Mackinac Island ferry docks and harbor. The ferry docks on the mainland side are only 2.5 miles from the cottage. We sometimes ride our bicycles to the ferry dock for our trip to the Island.

Ross DeMeritt purchased this cottage in 1996

Why Ross DeMeritt chose Mackinaw City

My parents have owned lakefront on Burt Lake since 1972. For three years I was looking for a west facing sandy lakefront property with no stones, rocks, or weeds growing in the water. When I found this bay I got that, and I was surprised to find out that the water temperature is also much higher than the open lake. It is very far from any industry or municipality treatment plants.


Mackinaw City Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
  • Housekeeper Optional
Floor Area:
  • 1500 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM / Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 8
  • pets considered
  • children welcome
Location Type:
  • Beach
  • Beach View
  • Beachfront ...
  • Lake View
  • Lakefront
  • Water View
  • Waterfront
  • Waterfront
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Alarm Clock
  • Basic Soaps
  • Fireplace
  • Garage
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Local Activities Guide
  • Local Maps
  • Local Restaurant Guide
  • Mobile Phone
  • Paper Towels
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Telescope
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Blender
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 8 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower , toilet and shower are in separate rooms
  • For the first fifty years of existence for this cottage the lake was the only bath! The official bathing beach for the city of Mackinaw City is on this sand beach. Existing shower is in upstairs bedroom, but is very functional.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 double
    Bedroom 2 - 1 queen , 1 double
    Bedroom 3 - 1 queen , 1 double , Double bed in this roomwould be tight for two.
  • Audio Tape Player
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Games for Kids
  • Music Library
  • Radio
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Toys
  • VCR
  • Video Library
  • Balcony
  • Barbecue
  • Beach Chairs
  • Beach Towels
  • Beach Umbrellas
  • Binoculars
  • Deck / Patio
  • Golf Clubs
  • Large Cooler
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Outdoor Furniture
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Porch / Veranda
  • Porch Furniture
  • Sand Box
  • Screen Porch / Veranda
  • Unscreened Porch / Veranda
  • Walkway to Water
  • Yard
  • 4 beach chairs
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • autumn foliage
  • bay/sound
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • coin laundry
  • forests
  • library
  • live theater
  • marina
  • museums
  • playground
  • pond
  • recreation center
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • theme parks
  • water parks
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • gambling casinos
  • outlet shopping
  • paddle boating
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • laundromat
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • golf privileges optional
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • jet skiing
  • mountain biking
  • paragliding
  • pier fishing
  • roller blading
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • snorkeling
  • sound/bay fishing
  • surf fishing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • water skiing
  • wind-surfing
TV is provided for movies. Library card allows free rental of DVDs and VCR tapes. Hundreds to choose from. Library is between Mackinaw city and cottage, less than a 5 minute drive and on the way to town. There is no internet access at the cottage except via cell phone, but the library has free high speed wireless and also free computers to use. The library is less than five minutes away and on the way to town. Many restaurants in town also have free wireless. Smoking allowed on the covered, screened porch. You will find that this is the place you would want to smoke anyway. Cocktail hour on the porch is not to be missed!! View the freighters, sailboats and sunsets.


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(17 traveler reviews)

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Historic Cottage on the Best Beach in the Mackinaw Area
average rating of 4.9411764 based on 17 reviews
San Francisco, CA

The perfect place to take my parents for the weekend.

  • 5 of 5

The cabin was charming and felt like stepping back in time, to when life was simpler - a great way to disconnect from our crazy everyday lives. We lit a fire in the fireplace and it was very cozy. The location was fantastic - the beach is beautiful and tranquil, and the ferry to Mackinac Island is very close. Our host Ross and local host Judy were very kind and helpful. We definitely plan to return.

  • Submitted: Jun 1, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks Kathleen, We actually work very hard to provide that experience. Thanks to my manager Judy also!
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Charming property, amazing views

  • 5 of 5

This cottage has so much history and character. Given the close proximity to the dark sky park, the stargazing was incredible from the beach. Just a matter of soaking up the milky way and counting the shooting stars as they fly on by. We look forward to our next visit

  • Submitted: Nov 20, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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0 0

Great stay.

  • 5 of 5

Property is located a short drive outside Mackinaw City. Screen porch was definitely our favorite part with the fireplace being a close second. We stayed for three nights, and both the owner and property manager were extremely helpful and accommodating. Location afforded us many opportunities for day trips including Whitefish Point on Lake Superior, Tahquamenon Falls, Little Traverse Bay, and Charlevoix. If you are looking for a relaxing stay in a traditional cottage on Lake Michigan, I would highly recommend this place.

  • Submitted: Oct 16, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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A True Michigan Cottage Experience

  • 5 of 5

This place is truly the best experience you can have as a Michigander. The location is remarkable - in a cove with a sandy beach that makes you feel like you're on a smaller inland lake. The sunsets are surreal. The cottage itself will transport you to a simpler time, when we didn't need screens everywhere to entertain us.

Just a few miles from downtown Mackinaw City, where there are plenty of shops and restaurants, and just a few more to the bridge, across which you have access to the Soo Locks, Tahquamenon Falls, and more UP destinations only an hour or two from the bridge.

You won't find a better up north experience, guaranteed.

  • Submitted: Sep 25, 2017
  • Stayed: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Beach Heaven

  • 4 of 5

We had a lovely time in this house. It's location right on the beach is spectacular. The best feature of the house is the screened porch--ideal for relaxing and watching sunsets. The kitchen is OK--certainly adequate for cooking breakfast and lunch. We went out for dinner (lots of nice restaurants in Mackinaw City). There were only two of us, so we shared the small bathroom without difficulty, although it might pose a challenge for a larger group. The owner was friendly and very knowledgable about the area. If you're mainly interested in quality beach time, and you can appreciate the charm of an older home, I would highly recommend this house.

  • Submitted: Aug 22, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderful cottage, beautiful beach

  • 5 of 5

We loved the cottage- it was just as described in all the reviews. The cottage was very clean and was stocked with everything we needed for our week!

The reviews were correct, it was rustic and only has one bath and one shower- but that was part of its appeal to our family. Ross was a gracious host and made sure we were well taken care of.

The location was fantastic, about 3 miles to either the bridge or the ferry- quiet and private location situated in between two state parks. The beach was lovely and there were no rocks or weeds at all! The neighbors were friendly as well. We had a wonderful time and truly loved staying here, as did our kids- aged 6,7 and 9. There was even a fort for them in the trees which was a surprise treat for them! We will definetly be back! Thank you Ross for sharing it with us!

  • Submitted: Jul 7, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
16 Miles
Nearest Barpub
3 Miles
Numerous in Mackinaw City
Nearest Ferry
3 Miles
Mackinac Island, Mackinaw Island Ferries (3)
Nearest Golf
5 Miles
Two 18-hole courses within five miles
Nearest Train
170 Miles
Flint, MI Detroit Ann Arbor, MI
Nearest Motorway
2.5 Miles
Nearest Restaurant
3 Miles
Numerous in Mackinaw City
Nearest Beach
20 Metres
Cecil Bay

Within 25 yards: Lake Michigan private sandy beach

Within walking distance: Headlands County Park-International Dark Sky Park. French Farm Wildlife Refuge (3 mile long uninhabited lake).

Within 3 miles: Wilderness State Park, 3 historic lighthouses, Fort Michilimackinac, the Crossings- auto free retail area, Mackinac Island Ferry docks, Mackinaw Bridge, two 18 hole golf courses, bike trails, hiking trails, bird watching, Straits of Mackinaw Underwater Diving Preserve

Within 5 miles: Mill Creek Historic State Park, another 18 hole golf course, St. Ignace Cruise car shows

Within 1 hour drive: Inland waterway, Petosky, Harbor Springs, Cheboygan, Burt Lake, Mullett Lake, Black Lake, Cross Village, Bois Blanc Island ferry dock

Other Activities: Bird watching, lighthouse tours, Mackinac Island, 2 historic forts, sand dunes, Ice Breaker 'Mackinaw' guided ship tour. Large, auto-free pedestrian shopping/entertainment zone called 'The Crossings' lets kids play while you shop/people watch. The Headlands 'International Night Sky Park- an internationally designated night sky viewing area is one mile from the cottage. Telescopes can be checked out from the Library.

Snorkeling can be done from the beach.




Additional information about rental rates

Refundable damage deposit $400
Pet Fee $35
Short term cleaning fee $75
Tax Rate 6.0%

Personal checks OK up to ten days before move-in, money order or cashier's check afterward. Taxes at hotels in town are higher due to occupancy taxes. Owner reserves the right to increase security for pets and Holiday weeks. Pet fees are $25-35 per night, depending on size. A fully refundable damage deposit of $4-500 is required for all bookings.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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