Quoted from RCA1:
SW Michigan is pretty varied.
Generally right along the Lake shore is pretty high priced rental and summer homes.
Inland a bit is much more affordable.
You can get small town feel (Bridgman, New Troy, Three Oaks, Galien.........) or farm country very affordably.
Saint Joe is still pretty small town, but a bit bigger small town.
Most parts of Benton Harbor, uh......., no. There are some nice areas.
Not a bad drive along I-94 heading to/through Chicago from the whole area.
Like RCA1 said, there are some areas that are technically Benton Harbor, that are really nice and fine. But you would have to do your homework. If you have kids, then look at the schools, Bridgman is small, but good. Lakeshore is bigger and good, and st joe is good. Baroda, and some of the smaller "towns" in the area are very nice, where you don't have to be right on top of your neighbor, but aren't 20 mins from a gallon of milk. I think there are some very nice area's around here, and if you look, you will probably find what you like. Plus there are some great Pinsiders here.