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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

Charming Cottage In Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes Near Lake MI Beach

Bedrooms 2
Space 1,200 sq. ft.
Property type cottage
Minimum Stay 3 - 7 nights


About the property

Cottage, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, (Sleeps 6)

Charming historic home nestled on 2 shaded lots in the village of empire. It's just a short walk or bike ride (we've stored a few bikes in the garage for you!) to Empire's quaint main street and to one of the world's most beautiful beaches.

Our cottage has two bedrooms, each with a queen bed. Additional sleeping spaces for up to 4 people are provided by a futon and a sleeper sofa in the living room. Both the dining room (seats up to 10) and the living room (seats up to 11) are light-filled, spacious and sport newly refinished pine floors. Fully furnished, with WiFi (in summer season), a flat screen television, dishes, cookware, bed linens and bath towels (please provide your own beach towels).

Enjoy climbing the dunes, paddling the shoreline, biking the Heritage Trail or simply walking to Empire's tavern, art galleries, ice cream shop and library. Venture out or get cozy at the cottage where you can use the outdoor charcoal grill, piece together a puzzle at the game table in the living room or stroll to the beach to watch a sunset overlooking Lake Michigan.

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore park was voted 'most beautiful place in America' by ABC Good Morning America. Come see why!

More Details

Kim Wade
Member since: 2013
Premier Partner

This VRBO partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates, and a great guest experience.

Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
March 18, 2018

About Kim Wade

Two families share this vacation cottage. Both couples became fast friends in grad school at the University of MI in the 90's. Both families now include children. Together we've camped, skied, traveled across country, and dreamed of owning a little spot in northern MI where we can explore the woods, walk the beach, paddle the shoreline and ski the trails.

Kim Wade purchased this cottage in 2012

Why Kim Wade chose Empire

We fell for this cottage on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Empire. The idea seemed just crazy enough, and we loved Empire's quirky, laid back atmosphere. Case in point: Empire hosts an annual Asparagus Festival each spring! That was incentive enough. Plus the breathtaking beach, a handful of really great art galleries & antique shops, Sleeping Bear's new Heritage Trail and Visitor's Center (complete with ranger-led programs), and even a hand-made chocolate shop (The Grocer's Daughter) . . . All this is literally right outside our cottage's doorsteps.

What makes this cottage unique

(1) BEACH! Our cottage is a mere 3 blocks walk (or bike ride) from Empire's public beach. We love this beach because it provides spectacular views of both the Empire Bluffs (which you can walk to the top of via the Bluff Trail) to the south and Sleeping Bear's massive sand dunes to the north.

Also, the beach let's you enjoy two lakes: Lake Michigan to the west and the much smaller South Bar Bake to the east. South Bar Lake stays considerably warmer than the big lake and is an especially great spot for young children.

(2) VILLAGE! Empire itself is charming, quiet and walkable with a grocery story, a few well-appointed shops, friendly tavern (on a cold evening, grab the table right next to the wood stove and order the wings), and a newly renovated public library (which our kids have spent hours in playing games and reading during rainy days).

(3) NATIONAL PARK! Empire is surrounded by sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore, a 50,000 acre national park that boasts 64 miles of lake Michigan beaches, two islands, 26 inland lakes, and the iconic sand dunes. Sleeping bear's visitor's center, located just 3 blocks from our cottage, has interpretive displays and is a great jumping off point for exploring the rest of the park.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Dear fellow vacationers,

This house is the perfect house to rent. We had it for Memorial weekend and it went by like a flash. There is so much to do here. We rode our bikes to the beach, there's a grocery store right down the street, we walked on the beach, and we got ice cream (the best kind there is the Birthday Cake)! Oh, I forgot to tell you, the beach is PERFECTLY safe and is so fun. The backyard is awesome for playing games as a family. There are some dunes not too far from here and it is fun. The owners are very very nice as well. I really loved it here and wish to come back.
May 2013
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Empire Cottage Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • cottage
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1200 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: Flexible / Check-out: Flexible
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Heating
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room
  • Parking ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine
  • Free Wifi
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 10 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , combination tub/shower , Long, narrow space.
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 2 - 1 queen
  • Bedroom 1 contains a queen bed, antique dresser, cozy reading chair and large closet. Bedroom 2 contains a queen bed, small dresser, comfortable reading chair and large closet.
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games ...
  • Television ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Bicycles ...
  • Golf ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • 1 bicycles
  • 8 garden chairs
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • library
  • museums
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • theme parks
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cross country skiing
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • jet skiing
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • skiing
  • snowboarding
  • snowmobiling
  • swimming
  • water skiing
  • wind-surfing


Excellent! 4.7/5 -
(18 traveler reviews)

72% Complete
22% Complete
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Charming Cottage In Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes Near Lake MI Beach
average rating of 4.6666665 based on 19 reviews

Charming, clean, thoughtful!

  • 5 of 5

Though my friend carries her "cottage box" to rentals containing all sorts of items that we don't usually think of until we NEED them. Happily, we didn't need to tap into it! Our owners thought of everything.

The cottage was clean and so very comfortable. Games, books and DVDs were there for the rainy day we had. It is perfectly located to hit all the attractions and Empire folks are very welcoming--there's a good restaurant, Joe's Friendly Tavern, and some cute shops. (I spent lots.) I'll be back

  • Submitted: Oct 19, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Hi Peg, We are so glad you had a good time and all your needs were met :)! We look forward to having you back. Happy travels, Kim, co-owner, Wilce Cottage
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Fairfield, Iowa

Comfortable family house in good location!

  • 4 of 5

Comfortable family house in good location. Well stocked. The house is old and has been nicely cared for and decorated.

  • Submitted: Sep 12, 2017
  • Stayed: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Great place to relax.

  • 5 of 5

We love this cottage. It's old time charm and woodwork made us feel at home. The place was clean and the beds were comfortable. The only thing lacking was a large mixing bowl and a small fry pan for eggs. But then, most people don't cook as much as we do on vacation! We enjoyed our week!

  • Submitted: Aug 20, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks so much for the review and feedback, Kellee. We'll take care of that mixing bowl and fry pan :)
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Flint, MI

Great Family Vacation Spot

  • 5 of 5

The Wilce Cottage worked great for our family. The Empire beach area - one side of the parking lot is Lake Michigan, the other side is South Bar Lake - is just a short walk (or car ride) from the cottage. We would definitely consider the Wilce Cottage for a future vacation destination.

  • Submitted: Jul 12, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Glad you enjoyed our cottage, Joel!
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1 0

The perfect getaway!

  • 5 of 5

My family of 5 thoroughly enjoyed staying at this adorable cottage for a week in gorgeous Empire Michigan! Although it was still a bit cold, we had so much fun hiking and exploring the area. Wilce Cottage was the perfect homebase for us--warm and comfortable with all the tools we needed for family meals. The kids enjoyed the games and DVDs and my husband and I enjoyed the peace!

The cottage was charming and clean and its location couldn't have been better--we could walk to the store for any forgotten items and to the park to give the kids some outside fun.

We would definitely enjoy staying here again. Thank you!

  • Submitted: Jan 5, 2017
  • Stayed: March 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Charming Cottage is all you hope it will be!

  • 5 of 5

My husband and I just spent two weeks at the charming Wilce cottage, and we had a wonderfully, beautiful stay there. We loved being "in town" and getting familiar with our neighbors and the neighborhood. The rhythm of the Village was one of our favorite parts of the stay.

The house is just as described and we were very, very comfortable. We had elderly family members visit us, and they were also able to enjoy the space without any problems.

I highly recommend this cottage for your next stay in Empire!

  • Submitted: Aug 7, 2016
  • Stayed: July 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
28 Miles
Cherry Capital Airport, Traverse City, MI
Nearest Barpub
0.2 Miles
Friendly Tavern
Nearest Ferry
83 Miles
Ludington, MI
Nearest Golf
5 Miles
Dunes Golf Club, 6464 W. Empire Hwy (M-72)
Nearest Motorway
0.1 Miles
Highway 72
Nearest Restaurant
0.2 Miles
Friendly Tavern
Nearest Ski
30 Miles
Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville, MI
Nearest Beach
0.3 Miles
Lake Michigan Beach Park, Empire, MI


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Tax Rate 6.0%

Summer season (Memorial Day - Labor Day)=$1300/week
Off Season (post-Labor Day ~ pre-Memorial Day)=$160/night OR $950/week
Multi-week discounts available

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.

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