Get to Know Your Kids Again by Vacationing on Michigan’s Thumb

Pack up the family and head to the Lake Vista Resort in Port Austin, Michigan for a relaxing old-fashioned family vacation. 

On the tip of the thumb of Michigan

The quiet little village of Port Austin sits atop the geographical “thumb” of the state of Michigan’s east coast. The area is unique in that visitors get to enjoy the morning sun rising from Lake Huron and the evening sun setting into Saginaw Bay – which is directly west of Port Austin.

A family gem

Waterfront vacation resorts that are family oriented like Lake Vista are getting hard to find. A few years back we located one in Erie, PA., but that’s the sum total of what has been recommended to us, and what we have come across in our travels. If you know of others, please send us a referral – we like writing about them.

A traditional family vacation resort

A true family resort is a place where parents and kids get together several times a day for simple quality time engagements – something not always possible at home.

It is also a safe harbor where dad can go fishing with the guy from the next cottage over, and mom can sit on the warm sandy beach or by the pool and chat with the ladies about the best schools in Nebraska or New York. All the while the kids are off somewhere, and nobody is concerned exactly where “where” is because this is Port Austin – and there’s little chance that any harm will come to them. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it. Well, that is pretty much the way it is in this little Michigan lakeshore paradise.

Clean, not elegant

Old-fashioned family vacation resorts do not come with plush towels, and cushy bath mats. This one does have large rooms and suites, efficiency apartments, and cozy cottages – all with refrigerators, microwaves, TVs, very comfortable queen sized beds, A/C, and heat. The best quarters have great views of Lake Huron and Port Austin Lighthouse and many rooms have been recently remodeled.

There are also swings and a sandbox, horseshoes, a new gazebo, a beach, heated pool right on the lake, and access to fishing supplies – and live bait.

There is a little grocery store nearby where you can stock up on your brood’s favorites. So how about a cookout where you finish the feast by toasting some gooey marshmallows over one of the resort’s charcoal grills?

Planning your day

Port Austin is chock full of healthy family oriented fun and entertainment. There’s boating, kayaking, fishing, biking, hiking, golf (miniature and big stuff). You can also go for a walk along a half-mile breakwater and listen to the waves crash against the wall, take a swim in the lake or pool to cool off, or pay a visit to nearby Lighthouse County Park for a game of catch and a double-chocolate ice cream waffle cone with sprinkles.

For relaxation, throw a blanket on the beach or circle the lawn chairs and watch the sunset.

This is the stuff that family dream vacations are made of, and it just doesn’t get any better.

Good wholesome family fun

Have you met your kids lately? If you sometimes crave the good old days, this is your opportunity to live them on your next family vacation

If you go

The Lake Vista Resort is 130 miles directly north of Detroit, Michigan. The resort is run by Ron and Mary Gottschalk, and has been family owned and operated since 1976. Unfortunately, Ron and Mary were out of town during our visit. Other guests told us we missed meeting two of the friendliest proprietors to be found anywhere. Maybe next time.

Lake Vista Resort is located at 168 Spring Street, Port Austin, Michigan. The website is, Phone: 989.738.8612

A foodie tip

In keeping with our theme of family fun and wholesome nostalgic experiences, do not miss the incomparable breakfast at the Lighthouse Café at 44 Spring Street. It is on the same street and an easy walk from the Lake Vista Resort and possibly the best breakfast we had on our entire trek through Michigan. Their website is, Phone: 989.738.5239

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff

You can see the world with Google Maps.


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