check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar

Historic Cottage on the Best Beach in the Mackinaw Area

10 Reviews
Bedrooms 3
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 2 nights

Pay with confidence

When you book through the HomeAway checkout, your booking is backed by our Book with Confidence Guarantee™ offering comprehensive payment protection.

Learn more


Minimum Stay
2 nights


Carp Lake Cottage Rental Photos and Description

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
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • children welcome

Ross DeMeritt
Member since: 2010
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
October 11, 2016
Call Owner


based on 10 traveler reviews

Historic Cottage on the Best Beach in the Mackinaw Area
average rating of 5.0 based on 10 reviews

Old-school charm, heaps of character

  • 5 of 5

We stayed here for a brief family vacation with my husband and 3 kids - ages 5, 7 and 9. If you've seen negative reviews of this place, perhaps I can clarify and set your expections. It's not a luxury cottage, with en-suite bathrooms for everyone and wall to wall drywall and fresh carpet. What it is, though, is an escape into the past. The way life used to be, preserved almost completely in its original state from the early 20th century.

Enter this time machine and you'll find a kitchen with a working fridge, small freezer, cups, silverware, plates and a decent coffee pot. The stove is wonky and the oven doesn't work - a leftover from the gas stove selected by someone two generations ago. Never mind - town is nearby and you didn't want to cook on vacation anyway, did you? If you do, there's a grill outside.

Ah, outside. Step into the fresh Lake Michigan breeze and it's about 50 feet to the lake. Pure soft white sand with a few small shells to pick, and deliciously refreshing water for a swim. The dropoff is so far out that you can wade in up to your waist out to about 75 feet from shore – maybe farther, but I didn’t try it. There were no bugs to speak of because of the lake breeze.

The family has preserved the interior of the home as it must have been in previous generations. There’s no A/C, you don’t need it. There are adorable decorations on the shelves and a huge stone fireplace, as well as magazines held over from times gone by to turn the pages of as you have coffee on the porch swing. Play some board games or cards while you listen to the lake sounds and the birds outside. And if you’re lucky, get ready to batten down the hatches for a real Lake Michigan storm, which will impress with its sudden arrival and ferocity.

Yes, the toilet cubicle is downstairs off the kitchen, but it’s neatly walled off, and private. The shower is in an upstairs bedroom, but it’s worth the inconvenience to stay that close to the beach. No internet or Dish, but if you’re the right kind of renter, you won’t care.

One thing I’ll say is the owner could take care to select a few new towels and rugs for the “bathroom” area and improve the quality of one of the beds, which sags a lot. A few new bedsheets would really spiff the place up. The yard, derided as weedy by a previous review, is actually natural beach vegetation, native to the area. And, the place smells like Grandma’s house… but it was very clean.

Wish we could have stayed two weeks.

  • Submitted: Aug 16, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
1 0

Best sand beach and sunsets in Michigan

  • 5 of 5

This classic cottage is the best vacation home I’ve ever stayed in. The first reason to rent this home is the beach. Pure sand and warmer water than I’ve ever experienced anywhere else on Lake Michigan. The second reason is the sunset view from the porch. When there are no clouds the view is stunningly beautiful. The third reason is this charming and comfy cottage home is still in its original condition. It is no accident that 9 of the 10 reviews on this home are 5-star rated.

Just like your 91-year-old grandmother would have plenty of stories to tell, this 91-year-old cottage has plenty of character – you only need to use your eyes to listen. If you are looking for a vacation home with all the modern conveniences – forced air heat and A/C, one bathroom per bedroom, a large kitchen with marble countertops and fancy appliances -- then don’t rent this simple cottage. There are plenty of large homes for rent at 2x the price of this house – complete with electrical and plumbing lines hidden behind wall after wall of drywall. There is not a single piece of drywall in this uncomplicated, undemanding and unpretentious cottage.

This house has character! Built in the era before electricity was commonly available, this cottage reminds me of a chalet bungalow. My guess is the house was electrified in the 50’s. The small kitchen definitely has a retro look, however, closer inspection revels that most appliances must be original to the electrification date. My favorite is the fridge – it is a piece of history. The heavy layer of frost on the tiny “icebox” inside harks back to an era (post World War II) when a refrigerator was a new luxury item.

This cottage has original wood floors and original Douglas Fir tongue and groove walls and ceilings. The cozy toilet-and-sink room downstairs looks original to the home and the shower stall located in an upstairs bedroom was likely added later by an owner who grew tired of walking to the lake to bathe.

As far as the solitary 1-star review, I would like to address several comments. The weeds in question are actually juniper bushes and native grasses. The house was clean and smell-free for my three day rental. Commentary about knocking down the house is appalling - this rustic cottage was built in 1925. They are not making any more of them and most of them that were built will not make it to 100 years old. This home is like your 91-year-old grandmother–to be respected, admired and treated with lot of TLC.

  • Submitted: Jul 24, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
3 0

Lake Cottage Perfection!

  • 5 of 5

I was looking for the perfect "cottage accommodations on the lake" to share the Michigan "Up North" experience with my family from Germany... well, let's just say that I found it! This cottage is absolutely delightful in every way: it is private, clean, thoughtfully furnished (the fridge is still my favorite!) and decorated (the carnations were adorable!) and the location can't be beat! We explored the area and even went up to the UP to one of my all-time favorite places, Whitefish Point. Of course, we also spent hours on the lovely back porch enjoying each other's company and the view of Lake Michigan! I seriously didn't want to leave... :-)

What a great place! Can't wait to go back next year!!!

  • Submitted: Sep 21, 2015
  • Stayed: Sep 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks, We get the question, "How come such good reviews, but not that many?" Just wanted to say that this really is our second "home away" also. We use it ourselves more than half the season and the season really isn't that long, maybe 12 weeks. Again, thanks for your kind words, we enjoy creating an experience, both for us and our guests. Ross
Did you find this review helpful?
4 0

A Perfect Family Reunion - Beautiful Sunsets

  • 5 of 5

When I booked this property I was excited to be able to have extended family members join me to celebrate and share memories of my late mother who called Mackinaw home. To be able to gather in this particular location of Lake Michigan, with its many great memories for all of us who either grew up there or spent many childhood summers was the icing on the cake. It was the opportunity to visit and reconnect that I had hoped for.

The rustic charm of this residence really leant itself to recollecting the past. We all enjoyed and commented on the memorabilia and small touches that made it feel like it could have been my late grandparents cottage. It was intimate while still being spacious. The porch swing was very comfortable and we took pictures of the incredible sunsets. The sugary sand was exactly as I remembered it.

We were the first guests of the season and should you ever book in May be advised that it's going to be chillier than you expect being right off the lake. Although we ought to have known better we were all caught off guard and new Mackinaw hoodies were bought! Bring your warm flannel pajamas. This is a summer place but felt a bit more like camping this early in the season as the heater is small.

To sum up: the cottage was clean and ready for us when we arrived, Ross provided friendly and helpful customer service, it was as described and when your with family the separate shower is a non-issue and keeps the toilet facilities available. The location is off the main tourist track (so its nice and quiet) but not that far from the action. Five minutes drive gets you to main street. I would love to go back when its warmer to swim because this is a fantastic beach.

Have the whitefish while your there; Darrow"s serves up great food and service. I would also recommend Ugly Anne Boat Tour Company and would like to thank them for their service and professionalism. Thank you Ross for sharing your place with us.

  • Submitted: Jun 10, 2015
  • Stayed: May 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
3 0

A Great Family Adventure

  • 5 of 5

We came to this area for a family gathering. Especially enjoyable was the large screened in porch (with swing) facing west, and the very short walk down to the beach. The sunsets were beautiful. The beach was great - sand, smooth bottom, no rocks, warm shallow water for a long ways out. Perfect for our grandchildren aged 3 and 6. The historic nature of the house and unique décor made this a real adventure for them! Close to Mackinaw City attractions for those that wanted to explore. Accurately depicted in the listing. Everything worked and we did not need to buy anything during our stay. Beautiful fireplace although we did not need to use it. I would recommend bug spray, and extension cords especially if anyone requires CPAP machines for sleep. Electrical outlets are sparse as you would expect in an historic house. The stairway to the 2 upper bedrooms is steep and a full flight. The frig has a very small freezer. There were 2

driveways for off-street parking which accommodated all of our family. Owner Ross and housekeeper Denay were friendly, helpful and responded to our phone calls/emails quickly. We didn't experience any problems during our week long stay here.

  • Submitted: Jul 6, 2014
  • Stayed: Jun 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
5 0

Unique, rustic charm

  • 5 of 5

This well-kept, classic cottage right on the Cecil Bay beach took us back to the good old days on Cape Cod. Simple elegance is the operative term, and the sunsets over the bay are heavenly. A great base for exploration of the northern Lower Penninsula, including must-see Mackinac Island. Owner Ross and caretaker Denny were friendly and helpful. We'd book at return visit in a heart beat.

  • Submitted: Aug 22, 2013
  • Stayed: Aug 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Did you find this review helpful?
9 0


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 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 3 miles: Wilderness State Park, French Farm Wildlife Refuge (3 mile long uninhabited lake), Headlands County Park, 3 historic lighthouses, Fort Michilimackinac, the Crossings- auto free retail area, Mackinac Island Ferry docks, Mackinaw Bridge, 18 hole golf course, 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.


Rates & Availability

Carp Lake Cottage Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
My Standard Rate
2 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Tax Rate 6.0%

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.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Enter dates for accurate pricing
Send a Message
Available arrival
Available stay (no arrival)


Carp Lake Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Housekeeper Optional
Floor Area:
  • 1500 sq. ft.
Location Type:
  • Beach
  • Waterfront
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Alarm Clock
  • Basic Soaps
  • Fireplace
  • Garage
  • Hair Dryer
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • 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
  • Freezer
  • Grill
  • Microwave
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • 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 for Kids
  • Radio
  • Television
  • VCR
  • Balcony
  • Barbecue
  • Beach Chairs
  • Beach Towels
  • Beach Umbrellas
  • Binoculars
  • 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
  • children 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.

Partner Offers

You might like these similar properties