Looking for a great Lake Michigan beach weekend getaway? Check out Harbor Country in Southwest Michigan and Airbnb.
Lake Michigan – Harbor Country
Harbor Country is the area south of St. Joseph and north of the Indiana border. It’s a 2-½ hour drive west of Washtenaw County on I-94. I’ll bet you haven’t heard of it – especially the quaint, small towns of Harbert, Sawyer and Three Oaks.
My usual beach getaway is St. Joseph, MI. It’s the shortest distance between my house and Lake Michigan (two hours) but it’s hard to find reasonably-priced accommodations within walking distance to the beach for one or two nights on short notice.
As a side note, our family discovered the St. Joseph area as an alternative to going “up north”. When our three children were young, travelling with them was a big ordeal. One time, we tried to go to the Traverse City area for vacation and it was eight hours of chaos (three kids under five years old at that time). We were three hours down the road before realizing one of the kids did not even have shoes! Does that make me a bad parent?
Airbnb Is A Great Travel Housing Alternative
Airbnb, in case you have been living under a rock, is part of the sharing economy and is a great way to find a room or a house almost anywhere in the world and sidestep staying at expensive, lifeless motels located on the outskirts of town by a noisy expressway ramp.
Airbnb has solved that problem. Looking on Airbnb, I found this whole new world just south of St. Joseph called Harbor Country. You can find shared houses starting around $75 and whole houses starting around $150 a night. The best thing about a shared house is:
- There is a host that usually can give you the scoop on all the best restaurants and beaches.
- You generally have access to a kitchen which is great, even if just to make coffee and tea and keep a few drinks and snacks in the fridge. Also, you have other livings spaces such as a living room and patio or deck. No questionable hotel rooms for me anymore!
Holabird House, Three Oaks, MI – sleeps 16!
Warren Dunes: hot tub, WBFL,wineries – $150 per night
Artist’s Retreat at the Lake (private room) – $79 per night
A Longstanding Destination for Detroiters
Harbor Country has always been a draw for vacationers from Chicago (it’s 90 minutes from The Loop). It is less known to Detroiters. At the beginning of the 20th century, thousands of visitors traveled to Southwest Michigan to escape the sweltering summer heat and smelly, noisy and crowded cities, delighting in the cool breezes blowing off Lake Michigan. . Before we had air conditioning and reasonable pollution controls, cities were hot smelly places and families needed to escape for health and relaxation purposes in the summer.
Now, we are fortunate to have much cleaner air and ubiquitous air conditioning. However, with the 24-7 nature of our world, it is more important than ever to get away for relaxation and to refresh the minds and souls.
Union Pier Beach, Union Pier, MI
Luisa’s Cafe and the Harbert Bakery, Harbert, MI
Yes, You Can Be on the Beach by 6:30
So, if you need a quick getaway, I suggest heading to Union City, Harbert, and the Harbor Country area. Book a place on Airbnb for Friday and Saturday night. If you get out of work a couple of hours early, you can be on the beach by 6:30 pm.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!