Pentwater is a magical place. My family started visiting Pentwater in 1973, and we have visited most summers ever since. Obviously, we love it, but I am not sure someone would really “get” Pentwater by visiting for just a day or two . You would need to stay longer. Not only is it a place, it’s a mindset; it’s a feeling of relaxation and of being, as they say, north of the tension line. It’s a lifestyle of sunsets and ice cream and bicycles.
I’ll try to give you a feel for Pentwater, why so many families go back year after year. People brag about how long they’ve been coming. Now I probably won’t be successful at fully conveying its qualities. It’s one of those things you just have to experience before you really “get it.” It’s kind of like a “Lake Michigan Shangri-La”, only it really does exist, at least during the summer months.
If you were to stay in Pentwater, where should you stay? There are several options; I am familiar with two. There are no chain motels in town, as the Village of Pentwater does not allow franchises. Yep, no chain motels, fast food or gas stations. That’s part of Pentwater’s charm.
For many years, we stayed at Channel Lane Inn. This is the very first place we ever stayed. We’ve seen it through 4 owners, unit upgrades, the addition of a second story, the renovations and expansions of the homes across the street, the addition of the sidewalk along the channel, the development of Channel Lane Park at the end of the road, and more. After all, we first visited in 1973. The current owner, Lisa, is about as nice and sweet as can be. I highly recommend this motel. It’s the only motel in Pentwater, and its Facebook page, linked above, has lots of info about the town and all it offers.
Channel Lane Inn sits on the street side of the channel that connects Pentwater Lake and Lake Michigan. I remember being in Unit #3 eating breakfast with my parents. Back then, the houses across the street were about 1/3 of the size they are now. We would sit in our unit and through the spaces between the houses across the street, we could see the sailboats going down the channel. In those days, there were lots of sailboats with beautiful, brightly colored sails. My parents couldn’t afford a sailboat, but they didn’t need one. They were as happy as could be eating breakfast in Channel Lane while watching the sailboats go by down the channel.
Dan and I stayed at Channel Lane for years. Once we bought our travel trailer though, we migrated to Charles Mears State Park. Our family still stays at Channel Lane, so we often stop by the motel on our way to here or there or to have a meal with everyone. But our home base is the state park. I wrote a review about Mears State Park on Campendium, and I wrote about our “transition” to the park in last year’s post about Michigan.
Both Channel Lane Inn and Charles Mears State Park are in the heart of things. You can ride your bike or walk to anywhere in town. Each morning, Dan and I took a walk down the beach to the lighthouse and back to the camper for breakfast. It just doesn’t get any better. Turns out, we don’t need a sailboat either!
There are several other excellent choices for accommodations in Pentwater. But, don’t wait. While you might get lucky with a last minute cancellation, most reservations fill up fast. God willing, I know exactly what I’ll be doing on a cold January 2021 morning at 7 a.m. I’ll be making plans to be staying in Pentwater.