Idlewild is a vacation and retirement community in Yates Township, located just east of Baldwin in southeast Lake County, a rural part of northwestern lower Michigan. During the first half of the 20th century, it was one of the few resorts in the country where African-Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property, before discrimination was outlawed in 1964 through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The surrounding area is within Manistee National Forest. The community encompasses Lake Idlewild, and the headwaters of the Pere Marquette River extends throughout the region.
Called the "Black Eden", from 1912 through the mid-1960s Idlewild was an active year-round community and was visited by well-known entertainers and professionals from throughout the country. At its peak, it was one of the most popular resorts in the Midwest and as many as 25,000 would come to Idlewild in the height of the summer season to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, roller skating, and night-time entertainment. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened up other resorts to African-Americans, Idlewild's boomtown period subsided, but the community continues to serve as a vacation destination and retirement community, and as a landmark of African-American heritage.The Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce was founded in the summer of 2000 for the purpose of promoting existing local businesses and for attracting newer ones to the Lake County area. The community of Idlewild continues to try and prompt an influx of tourism, in hopes of resuscitating the once lively town.