Far and Wide, a travel website, recently put together a list of the 100 Best Towns in the US With Fewer Than 10,000 Residents and not surprisingly one of Michigan's hidden gems made the list.

This summer mecha for tourists actually started as a seasonal retreat for Michigan natives long before the Mitten was even a state but, it wasn't always the laid-back spot it is today.

Native American Camp, Logging Town, and Now Home To Pure Michigan Summers

Pure Michigan via YouTube
Pure Michigan via YouTube
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Though it is home to a very rich art culture, this town on the shore of Lake Michigan was not originally an artist colony as some claim. This West Coast destination began the 19th century as a summer retreat for the Potawatomi Nation, as it had been for years. Soon fur traders began making it a regular stop in the early 1800s. It wasn't until 1830 that William Butler and his wife established the first settlement at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River.

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The area at the time was ripe with resources and a clear-cut logging operation began, which supported craftsmen, sawmills, and even barrel factories. Lumber from the trees in this area was used to rebuild Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871.

Pure Michigan via YouTube
Pure Michigan via YouTube
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The city's reputation as a port in Lake Michigan grew as some of the wood reaped from the area woods was used to build ships. Great Lakes captains referred to this area as a haven. When you're standing on the shore, looking out at the huge expanse of fresh water, you can easily see why generations both past and present have seen the allure of this beautiful destination.

Pure Michigan via YouTube
Pure Michigan via YouTube
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A Pure Michigan Summer could be defined by spending a single, gorgeous day in Saugatuck, Michigan. Sure it's a bit tourist trappy, but it's also got everything that makes for a beautiful day in June, July, or August. Even on rainy spring days watching this area come to life has to be something to behold.

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As to how Saugatuck's 885 residents feel about their backyards playing home to tens of thousands of tourists is something you'd have to ask one of them. I'm sure they have their gripes as 'townies' but, the appreciation for the influx of tourism dollars surely makes up for it.

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Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Vintage Saugatuck: 1860s-1950s

Lost Rock, Douglas Beach/Saugatuck

Saugatuck Yacht Airbnb Will Make You Feel Rich

Gallery Credit: Airbnb

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