August is winding down, which means we’re spending as much time on the water as possible. Afternoons are devoted to boating, swimming and tubing followed by evening bonfires on the beach.

To help you in the pursuit of sand, sunscreen and s’mores, we’re sharing the best lakes in Northern Michigan chosen by MyNorth’s readers. More than 10,000 voters from across the state weighed in on 101 things they love about Northern Michigan. Their votes determined over 300 Red Hot Best winners and 700 honorable mentions. Here are the Red Hot Best 2017 winners for Northern Michigan inland lakes.

A close-up of Torch Lake’s baby blues.

First Place: Torch Lake
Swoons, croons (Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long”) and infinite ways of describing its blues—the kudos are as deep and long as this beloved lake. (Even though we love summer, we admit Torch Lake is stunning in fall, too. Go on a fall color tour around the lake, here’s how.)

Second Place: Lake Leelanau (North and South)
One of the coolest things about Lake Leelanau (there are many awesome reasons to visit) is you can boat into downtown Leland and dock at your favorite restaurants—The Riverside Inn and The Bluebird! Or dock by the library and walk over to Verterra Winery, Fishtown or downtown shops. Then head over to the narrows and stop by Boathouse Vineyards.

Third Place: Crystal Lake
If you have a few vacation days, we recommend booking a stay at Chimney Corners Resort (this year’s Red Hot Best mom-and-pop resort) located on a scenic stretch of the lake. Enjoy the waterfront fire pits and beachside breakfast joint. If you can’t stay long, check out these public access sites (Beulah public beach is great for kids).

More Red Hot Best inland lakes:

  • Burt Lake
  • Elk Lake
  • Glen Lake (Big and Little!)
  • Lake Charlevoix
  • Long Lake
  • Spider Lake
  • Walloon Lake

Hungry? Ran out of beer? No worries. Long Lake Grocery delivers everything on its menu—by boat. Best business idea ever. Just give them a call (231.946.4249) and place your order (menu). Minutes later, they’re splashing up beside you. Check it out.

Here are a few of the friends we’ve made on the water!




More Summer Fun: