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With more than 50 lakes in Grand Traverse County alone, Michigan is a wonderful state for lake lovers to explore. Spider Lake, in the Northwest tourism region of Michigan, is a freshwater inland lake with a reputation for great fishing and excellent recreational opportunities. The 459-acre lake is very clear, and in some of the more shallow sections it's common to be able to see the bottom of the lake, which can be up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) of clarity in some areas. This natural lake contains a variety of fish species, including crappie, pike, perch, bluegill, and bass, which are all favored for fishing. Motorboats are allowed on Spider Lake, but there are specific no-wake zones near the shore and in the shallower areas that must be heeded. Motorized watercraft are also required to obey speed limits during certain hours of the day, but that doesn't stop revelers from enjoying this unique lake. Public boat launches are available on the southwestern shore, and boat rentals and bicycle rentals are available around the lake as well.
With a maximum depth of 32 feet, Spider Lake is great for swimming. Water activities are plentiful at Spider Lake, with man-powered watercraft like canoes, rowboats, kayaks, and paddle boats mixing with jet skiing, parasailing, and windsurfing. Winter brings the opportunity for ice fishing, snowmobiling, snow tubing, sledding, snowboarding, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, and exploring the rustic landscapes covered in glittering snows. Hunters and trappers also enjoy the rural aspect of the forestland around Spider Lake; the dense canopies and full woods provide a variety of game nestled in their natural habitats.
Spider Lake has an unusual and irregular shape, with sinuous legs of water sprawling in every direction. The shallow lake has five small islands, which are numbered but not named. The lake is also unusual because it features no true inlet and no true outlet. Water makes it way into the lake via underground sources and groundwater infiltration. Keeping the landowners around Spider Lake aware of the importance of maintaining water quality to preserve the desirable nature of the lake is a goal of the Spider Lake Property Owners Association. This organization has been in existence since 1996, with the protection and preservation of the lake as its main goals, as well as to educate visitors and other interested parties about the things that can be done to maintain Spider Lake's current high quality, aquatic habitats, and natural beauty.
The area around Spider Lake is a haven for hikers and those who enjoy scenic landscapes and the lush cover of pine and oak forestland. Golfing is available, with championship courses found close by, and horse back riding is another pastime enjoyed by area residents and vacationers. Tennis courts are available in some locations.
Spider Lake is situated just south of East Bay Township and north of Paradise Township. Mayfield Township is to its southwest and is the closest population center, with about 1,300 residents; and Garfield Township is to the northwest. The Traverse City State Forest Area is found around much of Spider Lake, especially on the northeast and southeastern sides. This northwestern corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is dotted with many small lakes, including Bass Lake, Chandler Lake, Denzer Lake, George Lake, High Lake, Indian Lake, Spring Lake, Tibbets Lake, and Vandervoight Lake. Three of the larger lakes around Spider Lake are Arbutus Lake to the southwest, Rennie Lake to its southeast, and Island Lake to its east. Orchards and vineyards are popular stops for vacationers in this area. The soil and climate in the area are perfect for growing grapes, which makes for a variety wineries here, some of which are internationally known. Most wineries are staffed by friendly and helpful folks who are happy to provide free tastings.
Interlochen, Michigan, located nearby, can make a great planned day trip. A short drive to the west brings travelers into the village of Interlochen, which is home to the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a multipurpose school and large gathering place and center that hosts live theater events, outdoor concerts in a covered auditorium, a summer youth art camp, adult art courses, and art gallery showings. Performances range from rock groups to orchestras to children's musical features to Shakespeare festivals. The Interlochen Center for the Arts brings an incredible spectrum of musical and artistic talent to Northwest Michigan and draws audiences from near and far.
Spider Lake is situated in Grand Traverse County within a 20-minute drive of Traverse City. Traverse City is the largest of the cities found in Northern Michigan. With so many natural attractions and a thriving tourism industry, Traverse City is the second most popular city for vacationers and travelers in Michigan. It hosts many annual events, including the Traverse City Film Festival in the summer, the Festival of the Senses in the fall, and the National Cherry Festival each July. Traverse City State Park has more than 350 campsites on 47 acres; there are picnic areas, grills, beach areas, and a newer playground.
About 25 miles to the west of Traverse City is Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, a wonderful place to visit while traveling the Northwest region of the Lower Peninsula. With secluded beaches, large and pristine sand dunes, and the surrounding views of Lake Michigan, this attraction is like no other. These unusual dunes were formed when glacial sands were laid down on high plateaus during the last ice age. The North and South Manitou Islands, accessible only by boat, are a part of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. North Manitou Island is accessible via ferry and by private watercraft, and camping is allowed with permits. South Manitou Island, the smaller of the two islands, can also be reached by ferry and is the location of dozens of known shipwreck sites. Both islands are popular with backpackers and hikers.
For those who are ready to book a vacation based around Spider Lake and its many area attractions, be assured that lodging is plentiful. There are numerous motels and hotel chains, as well as smaller inns and private vacation homes. Family-run cottages and motels mingle with condominiums, wooded lodges, bed and breakfasts, and full-service resorts. The popularity of the region allows most of these accommodations to remain open year round, and some are pet friendly for a vacation where the whole family is invited to participate.
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