Many people have decided to make their life in Antrim County after first falling in love with the aquamarine waters of Torch Lake during a family summer vacation. Running 19 miles long and bottoming out at 285 feet deep, Torch is Michigan’s second-largest inland lake and ranks among the top 20 largest natural lakes in the Lower 48. The aquamarine glow that so captivates Torch’s fans is due to a lime marl bottom—think of it as mud with high concentrations of lime—and it reflects light in a magical way, especially at height of summer as the sun swings far to the north and lingers long overhead.

Torch Lake’s natural beauty earned it wide renown in tourism circles during the 1900s, and that bit of fame grew when Kid Rock made the song “All Summer Long,” a love note to Torch Lake summertime romance. The lake has also seen national media coverage due to filmmaker Michael Moore making his home there.

Vacation Inspiration: Torch Lake is a Water-Lover’s Paradise

Antrim County residents don’t have to live on Torch Lake to enjoy its promise. Multiple public access points allow fishermen to slip a boat into Torch after work mid-week to troll for bass, salmon and a host of panfish. And local powerboaters launch their craft on weekend mornings to spend the day waterskiing, wakeboarding and just puttering around the many miles of shore. The younger set tends to motor over to the sandbar near the south end of Torch, where, on weekends at the height of summer, dozens of boats drop anchor and people spend the day soaking up the best of what Northern Michigan summer has to offer—sunshine, water and friends. (Here’s a map of Torch Lake.)

And for people who live here, at the end of a day on the water, going home means a 10-minute drive … and the ability to do it again the next day.

10 Best Beaches Charlevoix, Torch Lake and the Chain of Lakes

View this MyNorth video for a taste of life in Bellaire, a town near Torch Lake.

Photo(s) by Leigh Patton