In Pentwater, the sunsets are so stunning people actually applaud them, and there’s a nearby restaurant with fish and chips that rivals England’s. For more insider travel tips, we asked the owners of Hexagon House Bed & Breakfast, Michelle and Brendan McLaughlin, about how they spend a day in the “pearl” of Michigan’s west coast.
Stay in Pentwater at The Hexagon House
Fittingly located on 6th Street, the six-sided Hexagon House Bed & Breakfast was built in the 1890s and purchased in April by Michelle and Brendan, who moved from England to be closer to family. Also fitting, Michelle’s 25 years of experience working with period properties—some dating back 500 years—thanks to a previous career flipping houses. “You never really own an old house, you’re just the caretaker, and each owner adds their own style,” she says. And Michelle certainly has style. They’ve replaced the carpets, upgraded all the bedding and towels, had bespoke robes made, use a signature “Pentwater Scent” created by a local shop, Birch Michigan, and are working on new bathrooms for several of the rooms and a new kitchen this winter. The Hexagon House has five rental rooms and a two-bedroom cottage that will be available next year for weekly rentals once it’s been remodeled. Another perk, a six-sided building has room for 4,000 square feet of wrap-around porches.
Photo by The Hexagon House Pentwater
Play at Pentwater Beach in Charles Mears State Park
The McLaughlin’s favorite thing to do is take a walk along a channel that runs along the Pentwater River to Lake Michigan, ending at the public beach in Charles Mears State Park.“We have traveled a lot and I honestly think the sunsets here are the best anywhere in the world,” Michelle says. And while you’ll definitely want to be here when the sun goes down, also come during the day to take a dip in the water and grab lunch at Chuck’s Beach Store. The concession stand serves rice bowls, tacos and quesadillas, plus panwiches (pancake sandwiches) and more. In the evening, Chuck’s offers pizza by the slice after 5:30 p.m.
Photo by Taylor Brown
Eat at Bortell’s Fisheries & Gull Landing in Pentwater
You’ll have to visit soon if you want to try the fish and chips from Bortell’s—and trust us, you do—as the seasonal business closes after Labor Day Weekend. Bortell’s is technically in the neighboring city of Ludington, but it’s actually a little closer to downtown Pentwater. Dinner baskets include a 1⁄2 pound of fish, fries and coleslaw, but make sure you bring cash or check— debit cards aren’t accepted. “Being from England, we like having fish and chips on a Friday night, and we were blown away by Bortell’s,” Michelle says. “And yes, it’s as good as home!” A year-round favorite, Gull Landing serves Great Lakes perch (when available) that’s dipped in lager, rolled in a dill and herb batter and deep-fried until golden. Pair it with a seat on the patio overlooking Pentwater Lake.
Get Around Pentwater by Water Taxi
In Pentwater, people who live on the south and west sides of Pentwater Lake, and on South and Oceana beaches, hop aboard a water taxi, and Captain Lee Price motors them to town. This fun mode of transportation was born out of a need to easily access downtown during a road construction project in 2019, and luckily it made a splash. For those visiting the area, reserve a spot on a sunset or history cruise and you’ll be treated to beautiful views of Pentwater Lake, the channel and, on good-weather days, Lake Michigan. Each cruise costs $10 per person, with a maximum of 16 people. Departure times are posted on the “Pentwater Water Taxi” Facebook page.
Photo by Taylor Brown
Related Read: Inland and Charter Fishing from Pentwater to Frankfort.