Big Glen Lake, Michigan, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Big Glen Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Big Glen Lake

Looking down on the surprisingly blue water and sandy shores of Big Glen Lake, she can see why it is called Inspiration Point. The view across the lake and dunes is certainly inspiring, and with her whole vacation stretching in front of her – like the expanse of Lake Michigan’s waters at her back – she’ll have time to explore it all. Big Glen Lake, Little Glen Lake and the dunes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore promise a spectacular northwest Michigan getaway. Add the history of the Great Lakes, and maybe she is wrong; maybe there could never be enough time to enjoy everything the Glen Lakes have to offer.

Gouged out by glacial erosion during the last ice age, Big Glen Lake and Little Glen Lake were originally connected to Lake Michigan. Over time, sand filled in the space between the lakes creating a sandbar separating Lake Michigan from the Glen Lakes. Big Glen Lake and Little Glen Lake are hydrologically the same. Obviously larger, Big Glen Lake to the east covers 4,871 surface acres and has a maximum depth of 130 feet. It is a rounded lake with a sandy shoreline and is surrounded with wooded areas and rolling dunes.

There is more than enough water to boat, swim and water-ski, and Big Glen Lake is also popular with anglers. The lake is oligotrophic with crystal clear, blue water, but it still supports healthy populations of fish. The yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and northern pike are prevalent, and there are abundant populations of both brown trout and lake trout. Access to the lake is from one of several private marinas or from the public boat ramp on Little Glen Lake. The Glen Lakes are connected by a narrow channel that runs under the bridge that crosses the lakes.

Big Glen Lake is slightly east of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Established in 1970 to preserve the dunes that rise 110 feet above Lake Michigan, the park includes 31 miles of the shore of Lake Michigan as well as both north and south Manitou Islands. In addition to climbing the dunes, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive offers spectacular views of the dunes, Lake Michigan and Manitou Islands and has an overlook looking down on the Glen Lakes. The seven and a half mile long driving loop is open to traffic from April through November.

Also part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore, the sandbar that separates Lake Michigan from Big Glen Lake currently holds a campground and Glen Haven a historic village. Glen Haven was a steamboat stop operating from 1865 through 1931. Originally called Sleeping Bearville, it was a natural harbor for the steamships that traveled from Chicago to Buffalo. Today visitors can tour the restored general store, listen to the blacksmith hammer at his forge in the blacksmith shop, and tour the museum in the former cherry and apple cannery.

Big Glen Lake is near the town of Glen Arbor. The town has restaurants, shops and a variety of accommodations as well as real estate available for sale. There are also vacation rentals ranging from cabins to large single family homes on the shores of Big Glen Lake any of which would be the perfect base from which to explore the nearby hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. In the winter, there are cross country ski and snowmobile trails nearby as well as hunting.

The amazingly clear blue water and white sand shores have earned Big Glen Lake the self proclaimed title of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It is the rich history, spectacular sand dunes and abundant fishing, however, which will have visitors returning again and again to this northwest Michigan gem.

Things to Do at Big Glen Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Museum

Fish Species Found at Big Glen Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Big Glen Lake

If you’re considering a Big Glen Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Big Glen Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Big Glen Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Big Glen Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 4,871 acres

Maximum Depth: 130 feet

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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