When I think of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (having grown up in the Detroit area in the 60's and 70's) I picture strip motels, simple lodgings, and down home hospitality. On our visit to the Balsams Resort last summer, I found all of this and more, including a cozy beach with a walkout shore that allowed my five year old and ten year old a wading pool the size of a few football fields.
The Balsams motel is not the Ritz Carleton, but the room we stayed in was spacious. My daughter is asthmatic, and we really have to watch out for dust mites and other triggers. When I mentioned this to the owner over the phone she immediately guaranteed us we would have a room with a freshly laid wooden floor. It gleamed. Though dated (expected from a 1950's era strip motel) the room was quite clean and comfortable, and the mattress quite new (I always check because of my girl.) We didn't book the place expecting to spend all of our time in our room - so much to see and do in the area. It was what we expected and not expensive at all.
We did have to cross US 2 to get to the private beach, but when we waited for traffic to clear, the cross was easy. Upon check in, the owner advised us to cross only when no vehicles were visible. Yes we had to wait a little some of the times, but the beach and the views at sunset were well worth it. The kids had an absolute blast in the creek that feeds into the lake. They also loved exploring the various stages of monarch larva development found on the milkweed plants which abounded on the "dunes" just off the shore.
The owners had fires on the beach each evening and were most friendly. My kids looked forward to the campfires every evening we were around.