Sunday, January 8, 2017

SailMichigan's "Top-10" most-searched lakes for 2016

Big Portage Lake (Washtenaw/Livingston) - Most searched for 2016
As we look back on 2016, it is time to note which inland lakes garnered the most attention (i.e. visits by users) during the year. Our annual website ("top-10") analysis shows that the lakes which were popular in 2015 were still popular in 2016 although the rank order had shuffled. The list is an interesting one including some large, well-known destinations, as well as lakes of regional interest. The name of each lake below is linked to its corresponding SailMichigan information page. 

If you are personally familiar with these lakes, you are welcome to include your own impressions through our SailRating feature/button located on each lake page. 

Number 10:    Whitmore Lake, Livingston/Washtenaw County
Whitmore Lake is a typical kettle lake found in Southeast Michigan. At 667 acres and a maximum depth of 69 feet, it is in easy driving distance of Ann Arbor, Novi, Howell/Brighton. It is adjacent and supported by the town of Whitmore Lake. Although its waters are open and generally sailable, it does suffer from an undersized DNR ramp. The lake has a SailRating of 3 stars (1 review).

Number 9:      Clark Lake, Jackson County
Clark Lake is a 580 acre kettle lake in Jackson County. Although the public access to this lake is shallow and under-improved, the lake is well supported by the Clark Lake Yacht Club. The club hosts several one-design and open regattas a year. The lake has a SailRating of 3+ stars (2 reviews)

Number 8:     Diamond Lake, Cass County
Diamond Lake is a moderately sized 1041 acre lake with a 43 acre island and a single DNR access point. Serving as the home waters for the Diamond Lake Yacht Club, this lake has a maximum depth of 64 feet and a SailRating of 4 stars (1 review).

Number 7:      Cass Lake, Oakland County
At 1278 acres, Cass Lake is the largest lake in Oakland County. This popular lake serves as the home for the Pontiac Yacht Club and is primarily access through Dodge State Park #4. Public access through this park has recently been upgraded. The PYC reports that it is possible to sail 3/4 mile on most points of sail. The lake is currently un-SailRated.

Number 6:      Lake Charlevoix, Charlevoix County
At over 17,000 acres in size, Lake Charlevoix shows up on many national lists as a sailing destination. As the 4th largest inland lake by area, and a portal to Lake Michigan, it serves has the home waters for both the Charlevoix Yacht Club and the Boyne City Yacht Club. The lake is supported by at least 7 public access points and serves as the site for annual numerous regattas. The lake has a SailRating of 4 stars (1 review).

Number 5:      Crystal Lake, Montcalm County
As the smaller of the two Crystal Lakes in the SailMichigan database, this Crystal Lake is a 760 acre kettle lake with a maximum depth of 70 feet. This clear inland lake is supported by the Crystal Sailing Club which offers a family-focused atmosphere. The lake has a SailRating of 3 stars (3 reviews).

Number 4:      Stony Creek Lake, Macomb County
At only 428 acres (maximum depth of 23 ft), how does this lake come in at number 4? It must be location, location, location. Located near the population centers of Detroit, this lake is located within a popular Metropark and provides a number of amenities. Sailing on the lake is supported by the Creekfleet Sailing Club, which provides open opportunities for mixed-class, fun-focused sailing. The lake has a SailRating of 4 stars (3 reviews).

Number 3:      Muskegon Lake, Muskegon County
On the western side of the state, Muskegon Lake (4231 acre) is a popular lake, which provides direct access to Lake Michigan. As the home of the Harbour Towne Yacht Club and Torresen Marine, this lake is a popular sailing destination and is served by at least 5 public launches. The lake has a SailRating of 4 stars (3 reviews).

Number 2:      Crystal Lake, Benzie County
Although of the same name as number 5, this lake sports a maximum depth of 165 feet and a size of 9854 acres. If the location, size, and beauty of this lake isn't enough, the fact that it's DNR access has been vastly improved should make this lake a destination. This 9th largest Michigan inland lake is supported by the Crystal Lake Yacht Club. Most of the lake's public access points are located on its southern shore. The lake has a SailRating of 4 stars (1 review).

Number 1:      Big Portage Lake, Washtenaw County
As one of at least 5 Michigan lakes bearing the Portage name, this one in Washtenaw/Livingston County is 644 acres in size and is supported by the Portage Yacht Club. Due to the nature of the ramp, public access to this lake can be a little challenging for dinghy sailors. However, those finding their way onto the water, or at a PYC regatta will finding generally open sailing. The lake has a 3 star SailRating (2 reviews).

Okay, there you have it. But what about the Great Lakes? Because of their multiple ramp opportunities, and geographic range, it is harder to nail them down. Based on visits to our summary Great Lakes pages however, Lake Michigan would appear to have the most interest. Suggestions, comments, rebuttals? Please leave us a comment below.


  1. It's always fun to see the yearly search list. It's nice to see that sailing interest spread so evenly across the entire State of Michigan.

    1. Thank you. I would like to do a top-rated (by sailors) as well, but I don't think there is quite enough user input to fully validate such a list.