Kick-back and relax in lakefront Michigan town.

When it comes to hidden gems, Lake Erie is chock-full of surprises. One such treasure is Luna Pier, a small coastal city in Michigan. Blink, and you’ll miss it. But, much like a shooting star, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

“We’re a residential community, but we have a public beach and pier that is very popular with beachgoers,” says Mayor Jim Gardner. “We get visitors from all over the world because it’s such an easy place to get to. For people who have never seen the Great Lakes, this is the perfect opportunity.”

Hop off the highway and head straight for the waterfront. Park the car by the lighthouse and spend the day soaking in the serenity of a tiny town with lots of heart. 

“The family atmosphere is very important to us,” Gardner says, adding that some of his favorite ways to spend a day are kayaking, biking and fishing. “The pier is a really popular place for fishing. You can catch fish there pretty much anytime. We get walleye, a lot of bass, catfish and perch.”

If you can pull yourself away from the breathtaking views of the magnificent Great Lake, take a short stroll for a bite to eat and refreshing drink at Luna Pier Beach Cafe (, which is celebrating its five-year anniversary. 

“We offer a wide selection of beers and are known for our flatbread pizzas and wings, which are fall-off-the-bone and delicious,” says owner Jack Lucarelli, adding that the cafe hosts live music every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. “The cafe brings a little Put-in-Bay-esque feel to Luna Pier. People bounce back and forth between the beach and cafe all of the time. I love it.”

A little further down, Chateau Louise ( is another must-stop. Originally a general store built in 1894, it’s been home to mouthwatering steak and seafood offerings since 1934.

“It recently went through a complete remodel and is a very nice place,” Gardner says, recommending the lake perch, burgers and seafood tacos. “There’s enough of a variety that there is something for everyone.”

Both Gardner and Lucarelli are longtime residents of Luna Pier, describing it as an inviting place where people are very welcoming and friendly.

“Luna Pier is really the Key West of Michigan,” Lucarelli says. “Everyone is very laid back and always having a good time.”

Stay the Night: Turn your day trip into an overnight stay at a private waterfront rental home that sleeps eight and features a stunning all-glass sunroom with magnificent views of Lake Erie. A short stroll from the beach and pier, this 2,340-square-foot home away from home also offers a kitchen, living room, fire pit, two kayaks and a heated/cooled garage with ping pong, foosball and air hockey.