10 Great Lakes Summer Vacation Destinations for Investments

Are you dreaming of buying a lake house for your family as a second vacation home or as an investment property? Is the sound of lapping water every morning calling you toward an idyllic getaway? 

It sounds great, but what should you consider before taking the plunge? 

What's in this article?

Are waterfront properties actually worth the investment?
Ten Great Lakes summer vacation destinations for investors
How to buy a Great Lakes summer vacation investment property

In this article, we’ll review why properties near the Great Lakes are in high demand and where you can find the best places for the right summer destination investment property. 

Are waterfront properties actually worth the investment?

Waterfront homes are valued at more than twice the amount of non-waterfront properties in the US, according to Zillow

The median price of waterfront homes was found to be 64% higher than other single-family homes over the last 20 years. That figure has grown to 116% as of the most recent analysis.

Owning a house by the water has many benefits, from access to a variety of activities to having an attractive travel destination. Here are some of the most significant advantages of being the owner of this type of real estate.

Advantages of Great Lakes properties

Generally speaking, property near one of the Great Lakes is a wise investment because there are only so many homes available within easy commuting distance of the lakes. 

With high demand and this level of scarcity, lakefront and Great Lake-adjacent properties are widely considered to be good investments. 

As second homes, many people choose beach or lakefront homes, seeing them as both an investment and a getaway for themselves.

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Ten Great Lakes summer vacation destinations for investors

We’ve shown how investing in properties near the Great Lakes can offer many advantages, such as: 

  • Higher property values
  • Increased demand from vacationers
  • Beautiful views 
  • Recreational opportunities 
  • A sense of exclusivity 

So, without any further ado, here is our list of the top 10 locations near the Great Lakes that can make for great summer vacation spots and investment opportunities. 

1. Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City is a popular vacation spot on the shores of Lake Michigan. Known for its stunning beaches and vibrant downtown with numerous wineries and breweries, this charming town offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. 

The strong tourism industry and growing popularity make Traverse City an attractive option for investment properties.

2. Door County, Wisconsin

With over 300 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan, Door County is a picturesque destination for summer getaways. The area is known for its quaint towns, outdoor activities and beautiful scenery, attracting visitors looking for a peaceful retreat. 

Investing in a property here can tap into the steady stream of tourists seeking a serene lakeside escape.

3. Sandusky, Ohio

Located on the shores of Lake Erie, the charming town of Sandusky is a bustling destination known for its amusement parks (for instance, Cedar Point!), water parks and historic downtown. 

Check out the plentiful attractions and events throughout the summer! Sandusky is a popular choice for families looking for a fun-filled vacation—and a prime location for investment properties targeting vacationers.

4. South Haven, Michigan

South Haven is a captivating beach town nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan. Boasting pristine beaches, a lively harbor and a vibrant arts scene, South Haven attracts visitors seeking relaxation and recreation. 

The town’s popularity as a summer destination makes it an appealing option for investors looking to capitalize on the seasonal demand.

5. Bayfield, Wisconsin

Situated on the shores of Lake Superior, Bayfield is the stepping stone to the gorgeous Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. 

With its stunning natural beauty, outdoor activities and a culture-filled community that is sure to attract, Bayfield is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. The area’s strong tourism industry and unique attractions make it a promising location for investment properties.

6. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Accessible only by ferry or small aircraft, Mackinac Island offers a unique, car-free vacation experience on the shores of Lake Huron. The island’s historic charm, scenic beauty and diverse recreational activities attract visitors from all over the world. Investing in a property on Mackinac Island provides a rare opportunity to cater to a niche market of discerning vacationers.

7. Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio

Located on the panoramic southern shore of Lake Erie, Geneva-on-the-Lake is a classic lakeside resort town with a nostalgic atmosphere. 

The area offers a mix of outdoor activities, family-friendly attractions and local wineries, making it an appealing destination for a big range of visitors. This diverse appeal makes Geneva-on-the-Lake an attractive location for investment properties.

8. Grand Haven, Michigan

Grand Haven is a scenic beach town located along the shores of Lake Michigan. Known for its beautiful beaches, historic lighthouse and lively downtown, Grand Haven attracts visitors seeking a quintessential lakeside vacation experience. The town’s strong tourism industry and charming atmosphere make it an ideal spot in which to invest.

9. Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Similar to our #6 choice, Put-in-Bay is a popular Island summer destination—although, in  this case, located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. Known for its lively entertainment scene, historic attractions and outdoor activities, Put-in-Bay attracts a diverse mix of visitors each year. Investing in a property here offers the potential to capitalize on the island’s unique appeal and strong seasonal demand.

10. Charlevoix, Michigan

You could argue here that we saved the best for last! Nestled between Lake Michigan and the lesser-known Lake Charlevoix, this picturesque town boasts stunning landscapes, fascinating architecture and an arts scene that has charm to spare. 

With its unique location and diverse range of attractions, Charlevoix is a big hit destination for summer vacations. Investing in a property in this scenic town offers the opportunity to tap into a thriving tourism market.

How to buy a Great Lakes summer vacation investment property

Let Compass Mortgage help you achieve your investment goals. There is profit and potential in real estate, whether the overall market is up or down. 

The exclusive Compass Mortgage Get Committed® program gives buyers the power of a cash offer with a fully underwritten loan commitment that can close in as little as 15 days! 

That means that with Compass Mortgage, you’re getting more than a standard pre-approval, enabling you to compete in an often aggressive investor market. 

Start here to take the next steps toward your next investment property.

Photo by Efrem Efre