Michigan

The Upper Peninsula’s Coolest Cabin and Cottage Rentals

by Kelsey Glennon

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No need for formalities when you visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The wooded strip of land to the north of Wisconsin is known simply as “The UP” — as in the you-pee. And the rugged residents that call it home? Yoopers.

Separate from “The Mitten,” which makes up mainland Michigan, the UP is bordered by three Great Lakes; Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron. The vast lakes sprawl as far as the eye can see, giving waterfront villages a coastal vibe.

The rocky, forested strip of Michigan has its own distinct culture and colloquialisms that make traveling here feel foreign. For breakfast, have yourself a “pasty,” a hearty egg and meat hand pie. Don’t forget to pack your “chuke,” local slang for a slouchy winter hat.

And if you’re asking about the weather, don’t be afraid to tack on a friendly “eh?,” for good measure, an expression rubbed off from Canadian neighbors just to the North.

The UP’s Summer season is brief but beautiful. There’s nothing quite like warming up in the sun all day to jump in the clear, glacial waters of Lake Superior. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, arguably the UP’s most notable and prized attraction, is a sight to behold with majestic sandstone cliffs rising hundreds of feet from the water.

Still, the UP should not be ignored in the Winter or shoulder months. Most roads are signed with snowmobile routes, the main mode of transport once the snow hits the ground. Cross-country skiing and snow-shoe hiking bring visitors outdoors with promise of ice caves and frozen waterfalls.

No matter what season you visit the UP, the northern Michigan peninsula is a haven for outdoor recreation. Book a cozy UP cabin or cottage to make home base as you explore the rugged, backcountry land North of “The Mitten.”

Cozy Waterfront Cottage on Pike Lake

upper peninsula cabin rentals

Why You Should Stay: Private dock for launching watersport adventures on a small wooded lake.

  • Sleeps: 8
  • Minimum Stay: 2 nights
  • Pets Allowed: Yes

Snuggle up in this beachy blue cottage for a long weekend listening to the lake lapping outside your window. Guests enjoy a private dock overlooking Pike Lake and need only hop in the car for a short drive to Lake Superior. Get out on the water in the property’s pontoon boat, paddle boat, or kayak.

Come here in the Winter months for nearby skiing at Mount Ripley Ski Resort. Or, book a stay at this cottage for the Summer for days spent fishing on the lake, and evenings winding down on the dock.

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Authentic Log Cabin on Au Train Lake

up michigan cabin rentals

Why You Should Stay: Rustic digs with boat and kayak rentals available on site.

    • Sleeps: 6
    • Minimum Stay: 3 nights
    • Pets Allowed: No

Perfectly located on the coast of Lake Superior in the charming town of Au Train, this rustic hideout is 15 minutes from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and 30 minutes from the cute college town of Marquette. This classic chinked log cabin is a warm and inviting respite with a wood-burning fireplace in the hearth.

Gather round in the plush seating to recount the sites and sounds of exploring nearby Hiawatha National Forest or Rock River Canyon Wilderness. Cook up the day’s catch outside on the gas grill while watching the stars come out. A fire pit keeps everyone warm while enjoying the view from this cabin’s private stretch of beach.

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Lakeside Cabin in the Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest Cabin

Why You Should Stay: Secluded family cabin on a 42-acre privately owned lake.

      • Sleeps:</strong 15
      • Minimum Stay: 7 nights
      • Pets Allowed: Yes

Head deep into Hiawatha National Forest to access this all-inclusive lakefront cabin. Enjoy access to a privately owned lake while enjoying all the best outdoor recreation the UP has to offer: fishing, hunting, swimming, and wildlife-watching. Make use of the watercraft available to guests and head out on the lake in a canoe, kayak, row-boat, or paddleboat.

Warm up after a dip in the lake around the outdoor fire-pit while cooking up freshly caught fish. The whole family will find entertainment in this expansive cabin thanks to a decked-out game room with foosball, pool, ping-pong, and board games.

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Secluded Cabin Near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

pictured rocks national lakeshore cabin

Why You Should Stay: Loveable cabin with wrap-around porch on the shore of Lake Superior.

      • Sleeps: 12
      • Minimum Stay: 3 nights
      • Pets Allowed: No

In Grand Marais, Michigan, not far from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, sits this southern-style cabin. A modern gas fireplace makes for an excellent communal gathering place after long days exploring the forest trails or getting feet sandy on the lakeshore.

In the warm months, head out on the wrap-around porch to sip on lemonade while grilling fresh catch and recounting Summer stories.

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Private Log Cabin in the North Wood

michigan north wood cabin

Why You Should Stay: Floor-to-ceiling craftsman cabin on a  private lake.

  • Sleeps: 8
  • Minimum Stay: 2 nights
  • Pet’s Allowed: Yes, $25 per day fee

Located in the heart of the Upper Peninsula with nary a neighbor in sight, this all-wood cabin on Wahlstrom lake is an intimate escape into nature. Enjoy the sunset from the West-facing deck, or let the light fade while embracing the gentle sway of the hammock.

Graceful dragonflies fly around till dusk when the glittering Milky Way makes its appearance. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like eagles, cranes, beavers, turtles, deer, coyotes, and maybe even a bear on the 18-acre property. A tree fort hides in the forest nearby, the perfect expedition for curious young minds.

Make use of the rental’s canoe or kayak for a day on the lake catching and releasing  fish. The host recommends nearby attracts like Teal Lake in Ishpeming, or thrift shopping in St. Vincent de Paul.

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Beachside Cabin in Au Train

au train beachside cabin

Why You Should Stay: A water-lover’s cottage on the lakefront.

  • Sleeps: 6
  • Minimum Stay: 2 nights
  • Pet’s Allowed: Yes, Small fee.

A private, sandy beach and long, sunny dock await guests at this quaint summer cottage in Au Train. This cottage rental is perfect for a family looking to get on the water in Au Train Lake, Au Train River, or Lake Superior. Just 15 minutes from Pictured Rock National Lakeshore, the wood-paneled cottage is ideally located to see the best of the north coast of the UP.

Explore the natural outdoors nearby like the Hiawatha National Forest or Gwinn State Forest Area. An ideal home-away-from-home for a small family Summer vacation, this Michigan cottage has all you need for a fun day in the sun.

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