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With incredible views, plenty of outdoor activity options and pristine land practically made for roasting marshmallows around a fire at night, the great American Midwest is optimal as far as location goes. Our friends at HomeAway helped us track down the very best lake houses that range from cozy and quaint to over-the-top stunning. So get ready to pack your bags (and fishing gear) and head to the heartland.

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private house union pier michigan
HomeAway

Private Beach House in Union Pier, Michigan

Sleeps: 14

Rate: $943 per night

This six-bedroom, four-bath gem, located in the heart of the adorable summer town of Union Pier, is hands down where you want to live your best lakeside life for the week(end). For starters, it’s massive. But the biggest draw would have to be the 100 feet of private sandy beach. Plus, the huge wrap-around porch, gas grill and fire pit make this spot perfect for backyard BBQs and parties—given the $943 a night price tag isn’t that much of a splurge when divided between a large group. Should you find yourself ever wanting to leave this dreamy abode, however, you’ll be surprised to encounter so many boutique eateries and coffee shops nearby.

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studio in schroeder minnesota
HomeAway

Cozy Studio in Schroeder, Minnesota

Sleeps: 2 to 4

Rate: $195 per night 

If intimate and cozy is what you’re after, this knotty pine abode is your sanctuary. With plenty of deck space for stargazing, a kitchen for whipping up a feast for two and a plush bed in which you’ll have no problem falling asleep (or sleeping in) to the sounds of the crashing waves. Plus its proximity to Temperance River and Tettegouche State Parks is ideal for hiking, rock climbing and ATV-ing. Psst: There’s a pullout couch in the living area, should you want to bring along your third wheel.

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luxury cottage in traverse city michigan
HomeAway

Luxury Cottage in Traverse City, Michigan

Sleeps: 12

Rate: $429 per night

Vaulted ceilings, high beams, stone fireplace, screened-in porch and open plan kitchen—there’s nothing not to love about Lakemore Cottage. Part of the Lakemore Retreat compound, this property is actually one of three (there’s a lodge and a cabin next door you can also rent if your crew is sizeable), but the cottage is definitely the most nostalgic of the bunch. It also has the amenities every renter requires in a summer house: an outdoor shower and a hot tub, as well as the beach just steps away. Time to take advantage of water sports like kayaking, tubing, skiing and stand-up paddle-boarding.

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cottage in gills rock wisconsin
HomeAway

Door County Cottage in Gills Rock, Wisconsin

Sleeps: 8

Rate: $525 per night

To say that this classic cedar-shingled cottage is chic AF is an understatement. From the state-of-the-art kitchen and modern bathrooms to the aviation-themed bunk room and exquisite master with a chandelier and claw-foot tub, this place is little perfect slice of heaven. You also don’t have to worry about sharing your turf with too-close neighbors as this waterfront home is totally remote and private, nestled into the surrounding woods overlooking Garrett Bay and Gills Rock.

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lakefront retreat in north madison ohio
HomeAway

Lakefront Retreat in North Madison, Ohio

Sleeps: 8

Rate: $250 per night 

Those Adirondack chairs and gazebo are calling your name. This one-of-a-kind refuge overlooking Lake Erie is undoubtedly the winner to book in the Madison-on-the-Lake area. And there won’t be any issues with beach overcrowding since it’s exclusively reserved for the five homes in the Hearn Drive community. Score. 

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villa santorini in gary indiana
HomeAway

Villa Santorini in Gary, Indiana

Sleeps: 30

Rate: $2,054 per night

If palatial pad is more your style than, say, cute little cottage, we’ve got you covered with this property. Just 40 minutes outside Chicago, Villa Santorini towers over Miller Beach (60 feet up, to be exact) on its own private dune. While the 270-degree views of Lake Michigan and Chi-Town skyline are nice, the gourmet kitchen, six bedrooms and four bathrooms make this family reunion/bachelorette/hatchelorette weekend material. Did we mention there’s a “Water Room” spa? Well there is.

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