Sand Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Southeast -

Set like a precious gem in the heart of southeast Michigan’s Irish Hills, 440-acre Sand Lake has attracted people to its shores since before Michigan became a state. Starting about 1840, when Irish immigrants escaping the Potato Famine traveled the old stagecoach road from Detroit to Chicago, they were struck by the towering green hills and glacial pothole lakes that reminded them so much of Ireland. Many newcomers stayed, which is why Irish surnames are common in the area. Sand Lake is one of many small lakes in the area known as a resort haven.

The entire 4-mile shoreline of Sand Lake is dotted with cottages and year-round homes. The only public access is a basic boat launch site on the southeast corner of the lake. In years past when train service brought numerous summer visitors, the lake boasted a couple of resort hotels. The heyday of resort hotels passed with the proliferation of the private automobile, and people began to build cottages where they could spend summer weeks enjoying the water. The lake is spring-fed and clear with a primarily sandy bottom, making it suitable for swimming, fishing and water sports. Water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing, pontooning and jet skiing are popular. Canoes and kayaks skirt the shallow shoreline. Many cottage owners drive from Detroit, Toledo or even as far as Cleveland on a regular basis to spend the weekend at the lake. Currently the Sand Lake Property Owners Association keeps track of water quality and encourages visitors and residents to use the lake responsibly.

Fishing is always popular at Sand Lake. The waters hold bluebill, crappie, largemouth bass, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike and yellow perch. In winter, ice fishing takes over, with the lake’s surface dotted with numerous ice shanties and bundled-up fishermen hunched on bucket seats over a small hole in the ice. If the fish aren’t biting at Sand Lake, anglers can head to one of the many other lakes nearby to try their luck. Many arrive by snowmobile and can travel between lakes in relative comfort. Nearby Wampler’s Lake and Devils Lake hold regular ice fishing tournaments with the Wampler’s Lake tourney offering some of North America’s biggest cash prizes; anglers practice their techniques in anticipation of the big prize.

Before the resort hotels, entrepreneurial residents began renting boats to travelers in the late 1800s. Soon, some were renting out sleeping rooms to the fishermen. The Sand Lake Yacht Club was formed in the 1880s, meeting at members’ cottages and holding regular regattas on the lake. Today, sailboat races are a common occurrence on weekends. As new generations of cottage owners have arrived, they often know little of the area’s past but find evidence all around them if they look. The entire Irish Hills area was a resort and recreational destination from early in the 20th century. Many of these earlier residents left a lasting mark on the Irish Hills. Just to the west on US 12, Saint Joseph Church and Shrine was originally built by Irish Catholics as a missionary church. The lovely stone church has since been enlarged and the outdoor Way of The Cross added with examples of the work of Hispanic stone and cement masons decorating the Stations. The old cemetery overlooking Iron Lake dates to the 1850s.

Examples of these same cement artists are found throughout the Irish Hills area. Completed primarily during the 1920s and 1930s, the cement sculptures depict trees, vines and other woodland features. The concrete works are found on some private properties along with a striking number of them at McCourtie Park farther west in Somerset. Here, the sculptors created bridges over a brook made of concrete ‘logs’, tree trunks and various decorative objects on what was then the private property of a wealthy landowner. The property had a Prohibition-era ‘Rathskeller’ (basement bar/restaurant) built out of sight beneath a hill on the property. The location is now a county park open to the public and popular with photographers for wedding and graduation portraits. Other past roadside attractions have nearly all been closed but were extremely popular into the 1960s. The historic twin Observation Towers are still standing east of Sand Lake on US 12, but they suffer from neglect and efforts to find funding to save them have yet to bear fruit.

In addition to water recreation on Sand Lake, the Irish Hills area is ideal for outdoor activity. A number of walking and biking trails nearby keep fitness fans happy. Michigan State University’s Hidden Lake Gardens are less than 10 miles away and offer both the 755-acre woods and specimen plantings and a conservatory with towering tropical and desert plants. There are seven golf courses located in the Irish Hills, along with one of NASCAR’s most popular race tracks: Michigan International Speedway. The racing venue is often host to concerts, car shows and special events on non-race weekends. The area holds many private campgrounds, and public camping is available at Walter J Hayes State Park at Wampler’s Lake. The bustling Village of Brooklyn is less than 10 miles away and serves as host to Irish Hills residents. Brooklyn holds all necessary services, several restaurants, a hotel and many small and unique shops.

Sand Lake still holds a few private housekeeping cottages that are rented by the day or week. Many include a boat or canoe and advice on the best eating and drinking establishments in the area. If there are no cottages available on Sand Lake, the area holds several small motels that cater to lakelubbers. There are also cottage resorts on nearby lakes and many activities geared to weekend visitors. A scenic drive along the curving two-lane US 12 offers a bit of everything except large cities and heavy traffic. Many come to the area for an autumn color tour when the leaves change to reds and golds, or to cross-county ski in mid-winter. There is always something to do and see near Sand Lake.

Things to do at Sand Lake MI

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • NASCAR

Fish species found at Sand Lake MI

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Sand Lake MI Photo Gallery

Sand Lake MI Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 440 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 966 feet

Maximum Depth: 53 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.

Looking for the Sand Lake MI forum?

For years, we offered LakeLubbers visitors the option to create an account, vote on favorite lakes, edit lake descriptions and participate in forums.

In 2021, we embarked on a major site overhaul with a new content database system. While the result is a modern and faster site which is now optimized for both desktop and mobile users, it also meant we had to put account options on hold and take some time to reevaluate ways to interact with our visitors. 

We hope you’ll stick around and see what’s new here, and of course, we still welcome your comments and feedback regarding anything on LakeLubbers! You can do that here.

Spread the word! Share our Sand Lake MI article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.