Property Info

Why You Should Book Directly With Us

Sure, our rooms can be booked on internet travel sites.  Unless I really screw up, you will not find a lower price on any of the online booking sites than you can get from us.  In addition, several of our largest room types are only available on our website or through the front desk.   We also run various promotions (free ferry tickets, 15% off for cyclists, 7th day free, etc.) which are only available through us.  Take for instance the free ferry ticket promotion we ran this summer; stay 2 weeknights with us in a lakefront room and receive 2 Star Line ferry tickets.  As I explained to a couple of guests, if you book with or, I have to give THEM the ferry tickets; I would much rather give them to my guests as it costs me the same or even a little less than the commission I have to pay to the booking sites.

About Our Lakeshore

At the Clearwater we are fortunate to have 300 feet of lakefront property on Lake Huron.  However, I would not describe this as a typical “sandy beach” which would be ideal for swimming.  Due to the recent low water levels in the great lakes, the lakefront in Mackinaw City has become increasingly weedy.  We are doing everything in our power to restore our section of lakefront to “sandy beach” conditions, but due to DNR regulations this is a slow process and may take 2 to 3 years.  We have done everything we can to remove any reference online to our property having a “beach” as we do not want to mislead our guests. Can you swim from our lakefront?  Absolutely, I do it myself, but I’m an experienced scuba diver and a little vegetation doesn’t bother me.  On the other hand, there is a reason almost all of the hotels in Mackinaw City have indoor pools:  The lake water is COLD up here!  Try it and see.  I don’t go in without a wetsuit.

Cancellation Policy

It has been brought to my attention that the cancellation policy is only visible when you book a room, so here it is: Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours prior to the 3:00 PM check-in time on your arrival date. Cancellations made with less than 48 hours notice will result in a charge of 1 night’s stay.

Smoking Policy

In order to protect our indoor air quality and contribute to the health and well-being of our guests and staff, we maintain a smoke-free environment in all buildings including the balconies, common areas, and within 20 feet of any exterior doorway.   If  smoking occurs in a room, the guest will be charged a $250 cleaning fee to cover the expense and effort required to return the room to a smoke free condition.


Pets are not allowed on the property.

Hi-Speed Wi-Fi

Like most hotels we subscribe to a high speed internet service.  Unlike most hotels, we subscribe to the highest speed available (100 mbs) and distribute it throughout our property using a state of the art point to multi-point wireless bridge and wireless routers that employ the latest  networking protocols.

Overbooking Policy

The standard practice in the lodging industry is to overbook rooms by a certain percentage in order to assure that cancellations and no-shows do not negatively impact maximum occupancy during peak periods.  At the Clearwater Lakeshore Motel, we do NOT overbook rooms.  If you have a reservation with us, I guarantee that when you arrive  we will have the specific type of room  that you booked available.  On the rare occasion when a room is not available due to maintenance  reasons (say for instance the AC is not working), we will do our very best to arrange a similar room for you at another Mackinaw City property at the same price.


We are a unique property in that our motel is comprised of 5 buildings of 8 rooms each.  Building 1 is becoming our “Family Reunion” building.  Here’s why:  It contains 2 suites, each containing 1 bedroom with a king bed, a sleeper sofa in the living room, AND a full kitchen.  4 of the remaining rooms are single king beds; the other 2 contain a single king bed and a twin bed in a separate alcove room.  All of the rooms have private lakefront balconies.  The entire building will comfortably house up to 22 people, and can be rented at a special rate.  This gives you your own building with 2 full kitchens for your reunion or other get-together.   If interested, call the front desk at 231-268-0441 and speak to one of us.  Larger groups?  We can handle that too.

Mackinac Island Ferry Tickets

We buy in bulk from the good people at Star Line Ferry  and pass the savings along to you.  At  the Clearwater,  you pay what we pay.    Seriously, check with us before you buy tickets elsewhere.  Must be a Clearwater Lakeshore Motel guest to receive our special low priced tickets.

Let’s Make a Deal

Booking more than 1 room for more than 2 nights?  Looking for a last minute deal?  Want to make me an offer I can’t refuse?  Call 231-268-0441 and speak to Gary or Amy.  If I’m not running around I (Gary) will answer the phone and make a deal.   Go ahead and call, it’s fun!

Paper Thin Walls!? 

This is in response to a TripAdvisor reviewer complaining about our paper-thin walls.  Actually, the walls in all of our lakefront rooms are double thick.  The common wall that runs between any 2 rooms is actually 2 walls; each room has its own framed, insulated, drywalled wall.  Tom Thorson, who built the Clearwater, owned another motel which DID have paper thin walls prior to building the Clearwater and decided to do something about it the second time around.  The photo below was taken from 2 adjoining rooms; the walls are the same thickness in all of the rooms whether they adjoin or not.

double walls




Gary McGaughey, Proprietor
On Behalf of the Staff
Clearwater Lakeshore Motel
11380 U.S. 23
Mackinaw City, MI