Manistee Michigan.  It’s All About the Water
Manistee Sunset on Lake Michigan Photo By Elliott Connor Photography via

Manistee Michigan. It’s All About the Water

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 Photo By Elliott Connor Photography via

 One of Michigan’s finest little beach towns, Manistee has Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Manistee to the east with a lovely river running right through the heart of town.  In the summer, locals and visitors alike flock to Manistee for all manner of things to do in and on the water.   Within 25 miles, there are three harbors fronting the lake with recreational boating and year-round sports fishing, rent a kayak or canoe for a leisurely paddle on a hot day.   You can also attend an outdoor concert, go hiking or biking, take in some fine dining and shopping in the area.   All in and near the water.   Manistee, Michigan is a delightful little town! The best way to see the town is a walk down River Street and then down to the river walk.  There is also a replica tourist trolley just to add to the charm.  Our favorite thing to do?   Head down to the waterfront at dusk and watch the sunset. 

In the 1960’s Pacific salmon were introduced to Lake Michigan and sports fishing has become a multimillion dollar industry to this part of the mitten.   Its not unusual to land a 15 pound steelhead.

Manistee was once, during the civil war period, a lumber port.   With no shortage of fine woods, the lumber barons built elegant Victorian mansions – each trying to outdo each other in sometimes friendly competition.   Take a walk down Maple Street and see several examples of these wonderful old homes, and the downtown area has some of the finest Victorian architecture in America.   The lumber industry grew and the port thrived.   It also brought the railroad to town connecting several communities in the area.

Here’s the facts about Manistee if you’d like to live or visit here.

Population:   In 2010, there were 6,266 people in town and 18% were over 65.  The median age is 43.

Weather:  The average high in January is 30 with a low of 17 F.   The high in July is 81 with a low of 58.  Manistee gets 33 inches of rain per year, pretty evenly spread across all the months.

Housing:   The median home price is $129,000.  Long term rentals run in the $1,000 range but they are cheaper away from the water.  We found this lovely new condo with 2 bedrooms/2 baths for $159,000 facing the river with great views.

2 Bed/2Bath on the River for $159K per Zillow
2 Bed/2Bath on the River for $159K per Zillow

Crime:  The violent crime rate in Manistee is 2.45 per 1000 compared to 4.5 for Michigan and 3.8 for the US.

Transportation:   Manistee is 266 miles north east of Chicago and 254 from Detroit.  The biggest airport is 83 miles south in Muskegon, MI.  There are connecting flights into Manistee airport. 

Healthcare:  The Westshore Medical Center has 25 beds and 84 affiliated providers with an ER and Urgent Care Center.   Luddington, MI has Memorial Medical Center  with 95 beds that serves the four county region.

Don’t forget your clubs when you come.   Manistee has 9 golf clubs where all experience levels are welcome.  

A fun thing to do in the summer is head out to the local farms for some u-pick strawberries or blueberries.  Take in a farmer’s market and a winery.   If you are here in September, be sure to attend the “Hops and Props” on the river where you can enjoy local craft beer and check out the boat show. 

So much to do in Manistee!



Cheryl and her husband have just recently retired and live in the Pacific Northwest. She has been enjoying her herself by traveling around the world, playing with her grandchildren, and she frequently volunteers in her community. There is certainly never a dull moment with Cheryl. She cheerfully co-founded RetireBook and wants to share her energy, hoping that it inspires her readers to live life at its fullest.