Originally Posted by Bones
here are my fast 2 thoughts...
Northern Alpena area (south of Rogers City). Alpena has a U of M affiliated hospital, has an airport, has really good shopping for northern Mich (Meijer, Walmart, and great private owned retails) and a good downtown for entertainment (Brown trout festivals, family nights downtown where they close the roads off) etc. Small town feel but bigger town amenities. Has 3 of the most beautiful lakes in Northern Mi (Long Lake, Grand Lake, Hubbard Lake) and of course has Lake Huron.... which, yes... is a sandy beach just like the west side. It doesn't get the massive amount of summer tourists either.
North of Petoskey, or East of petoskey. Good shopping, great downtown, McLaren affiliated hospital, has Burt Lake, Mullet lake. Closer to I75 for downstate travel. Bad side is the massive amount of summer tourism and people.
x2 on the Alpena County/Presque Isle County area. I am from there, and go back home multiple times a month.
I have lived in Mecosta County for the last 5 (6?) years, and I have hated every day of it. The area just sucks, it's good for hunting property, but worthless to live there full time. Nothing to do, big rapids is the largest city in the in surrounding counties (Osceola/newaygo), and there is not shopping, no decent restaurants, and nothing to do for family fun. Zero beeches, little bit of water for boating.
I can't praise Alpena enough, there is a ton to do, more beeches than you can shake a dead cat at, the majority of them have zero rocks; movie theaters are kinda lower end, but good selection, tons and tons of local restaurants (everything fron bad to fantastic), mini golf, brown trout festival is fantastic, live music on the water all summer long, and we finally have a decent snowmobile trail going from the city to the north.