Well It Made My List

Published in the October 2018 Issue May 2020 Feature Brady L. Kay

It’s a wonder I get anything done these days. It seems every time I go to look up something online I get tempted by some click bait story or video and the next thing I know I’ve lost 15 minutes of my day to an epic fail montage or I find out what child stars are now in prison. However, on occasion I do come across something a little more “work-related,” so I guess click bait can’t be all that bad.

For example I recently stumbled upon a top 10 lake town article from Realtor.com that highlighted fantasy waterfront retreats at bargain-basement prices. The article debated on what makes a great lake town in the first place, but all I was really interested in finding out is if any Great Lake towns made the cut. Turns out in the list of “affordable and irresistible housing that is a short hop from the water,” several could be considered near or close to a Great Lake.

In its annual quest to find the best lake towns in America, Realtor.com compiled stats about more than 900 U.S. metropolitan areas for such categories as home price appreciation from June 2015 to May 2018, the percentage of vacation homes, the number of food and recreational establishments per capita, the number of outdoor activities per capita, and the number of home listings that mention the word “lake.”

When it all came down to it, four of the top ten were in our region (at least by my justification system) including Baraboo, Wis. (2); Brainerd, Minn. (3); Traverse City, Mich. (4); and Port Clinton, Ohio (6).

While the city’s namesake, the Baraboo River, is the most obvious water attraction in Baraboo, there are plenty of lakes around, and because it’s less than two hours from Lake Michigan, I felt I could claim it.

Brainerd is probably another stretch, but again being two hours from a Great Lake has to count for something, right? There are many lakes located within 25 miles of this town, making it one of the most attractive destinations in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But again I like it because of its proximity to Lake Superior.

When I think of Traverse City, I think of Lake Michigan. This area is one of the premier lake recreation destinations and one of my personal favorites. The Cherry Festival alone is enough to put this region on the map.  

The last of the four includes Port Clinton, a small town in Ohio with a population of just under 6,000. It is the epicenter of one of the better kept secrets among fans of lake recreation due to its prime location on one of the Great Lakes. Located on a peninsula that juts into the western end of Lake Erie, Port Clinton sees its population swell in the high season as visitors descend on the mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and antique stores in nearby towns.

With two legit and two stretches, I’m still proud that four of the ten towns on the list have something to do with the Great Lakes. I could think of a couple of others that might challenge Nevada or Idaho, but I won’t push it.   

By the way, the other “non Great Lake regions” towns on the list were Branson, Mo. (1); Gardnerville Ranchos, Nev. (5); Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (7); Sonora, Calif. (8); Sevierville, Tenn. (9); and Spirit Lake, Iowa (10).

  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!