"Our family of five (2 adults, 3 kids, ages 4, 8 and 12) was looking for a place to go where we could just relax, spend time together and forget our schedules and responsibilities. We are big fans of high-planning vacations, like Disney World, so we knew we needed someplace drastically different. In my research, I was looking for a place with water access (this cottage's private beach was a HUGE bonus), close to nature and far from heavy tourist spots (like south in St. Joseph or Grand Haven). When we discovered Hamlin Lake and Ludington State Park, we knew we had a winner.
The cottage itself was perfect, and the owner's description was right on-- it is a rustic cabin in the woods. It had plenty of room for everyone to sleep and gave everyone their own space. We loved the screened-in porch, the chairs on the deck and the beach. The hardest part for our kids was dealing with the well water. We ended up using bottled water for brushing teeth, which helped.
The semi-private beach (which is shared with a couple other homes) was one of the highlights of our trip. It got morning sun, until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon. We spent many days playing the the calm water (which was perfect for our 4 year old), using the kayak or paddle boards (perfect for our 8 and 12 year olds) and building sand castles. At night, we would go down to the beach to use the fire pit to roast hot dogs and s'mores.
We took advantage of the proximity of Ludington State Park to hike the trails and run the dunes. We also drove a few miles down to the public Stearns Park beach to swim in Lake Michigan (which was much colder and rougher than Hamlin Lake)! One day, we rented a pontoon boat and took the kids tubing on Hamlin Lake.
We loved how close everything was, and the list of ideas that the owner sent before our stay was perfect. We very much enjoyed House of Flavors, Chuck Wagon pizza and the food at Jamesport Brewery.
From the first night there, our kids were already talking about coming back next year!"
Guest: Sunny M.
Date of Stay: July 2016
Review Submitted: July 17, 2016