Looking for some fun day trips around Petoskey, Michigan?!? There are so many activities to choose from in this Nature Lover’s Paradise. Here are 10!
Over the years, we have spent a lot of time traveling around our beautiful state. Michigan is one of those places that doesn’t receive as much acclaim as it deserves. There is so much beauty to appreciate here! From the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan to the brilliant autumn color to thousands of miles of hiking trails and more.
We love the Northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, especially in the fall. And one of the areas we find ourselves drawn to year after year is Petoskey.
Petoskey, Michigan is one of the larger coastal communities in Northern Michigan and there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy in the area, no matter what season you visit. Our absolutely favorite time is during autumn because the bugs are gone but the days are still sunny, warmish, and wonderful.
We also love buzzing up there during the summer so we can get a slight reprieve from the warmer temps that exist down where we live.
No matter when you visit, you will find plenty of awesomeness to experience on your journey.
Here are 10 Day Trips Around Petoskey, Michigan that You will Love:
Petoskey State Park is a gem. It is situated about 12 minutes northeast of Petoskey’s main street on Little Traverse Bay. It features a beautiful Day Use Beach with a mile of shoreline and plenty of space to hunt for the famous Petoskey stones. You can also take advantage of it’s two modern campgrounds with bath houses.
The park only has about 2 miles of hiking trails but visitors can also enjoy biking, kayaking, and cross country skiing while there.
We have visited the Day Use beach and hiking trails many times over the years. But we thoroughly enjoyed camping at the park on our last trip. The campground was quite with plenty of privacy. And wow, the sunsets are pretty. You can see more details about our trip in the below video!
2 – Tunnel of Trees
The Tunnel of Trees is extremely popular and lands on every list of Michigan color tours our there. It is a pretty area, especially in the fall, however there are some tips you need to know if you want to thoroughly enjoy your trip.
It’s important to note that the roadway is narrow, not much wider than a one lane road in most areas – but there is two-way traffic. So this drive is better enjoyed in a smaller vehicle. Leave your RV at home for this one!
Also, the drive is extremely popular and there are obnoxious lines of cars during peak fall color. Especially on the weekends. Our advice would be to visit on a weekday during the day rather than waiting for a weekend, if at all possible.
Also, there are SO MANY BEAUTIFUL drives in Michigan during the autumn. We also enjoyed wandering around side roads in the area so that we could enjoy the colorful scenery in much less populated areas. So, check out the “tunnel” but be sure you also get off the beaten path a bit to really appreciate autumn in pure Michigan.
Check out the video below to get more details about the area before your trip!
This destination was a pleasant surprise! Pond Hill Farm is located on the Tunnel of Trees but we visited in the summer and had an amazing time. Our favorite part was called the Gnome House Hunt, which is a 1.5 mile nature trail which meanders around the farm. The trail contains 12 gnome houses, which are all just far enough off of the path to make them fun for kids to discover.
Dennis and I did this scavenger hunt on our own and we enjoyed it as well. It was a good way to get in some exercise and looking for the gnome houses kept things interesting. We also faltered a few times trying to figure out the secret code but we got it eventually. If you want to see more about our adventure, you can watch the video below.
There are plenty of other things to do on the farm as well. They have a lovely market which is stocked with farm fresh goods and other supplies. They also have a cafe and an outdoor bar making this a great place to stop and recharge.
In the fall, there are even more activities with pumpkin bowling and smashing, hayrides, apple baseball, bounce houses, and more. Some of these activities cost money so make sure you check their website for more details.
We had a lot of fun on the farm and we recommend setting aside a few hours to check it out!
If you’re into bird watching, you’ll be thrilled to find out that the Petoskey area is located on something called the Sunset Coast Birding Trail, which spans three counties in the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula. This trail features wide variety of protected areas and habitats that attract a large number of Michigan’s 400-plus bird species and gives bird watchers and photographers a front row seat. This “trail” is made up of local parks, nature preserves, and natural areas where prime birding locations are easily accessible. The map below will give you an idea of where some of these location near Petoskey are located.
There are also lots of areas to visit in Charlevoix county and Antrim county so you’ll want to check out their website for even more details.
The Little Traverse Wheelway is a 26 mile bike path that goes through Petoskey and runs from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix. This path skirts the edge of Little Traverse Bay and goes through plenty of parks and rest areas along the way. The path is mostly paved and you can choose to ride the entire trail or just tackle it a section at a time.
Because the path is so close to the lakeshore, there are occasionally times when part of the trail is closed due to erosion. In 2021, there is a section in Petoskey which is closed for this very reason. Be sure to check out their website so you know what to expect before you go.
Want to experience some excitement?!? Did you know there was a whitewater course in downtown Petoskey? The Bear River, which flows through Petoskey, has more falls than any river in the lower peninsula of Michigan. This now includes a .25 mile whitewater boating section which can even be enjoyed by experienced whitewater kayakers. The Bear River Valley also features steep bluffs, unpaved trails, concrete path, boardwalks, whitewater rapids and forest areas all in the heart of the City of Petoskey.
Don’t own a kayak? That’s no problem. You can rent a super stable inflatable ducky from Bahnhof Sport!
This lavender farm is in Boyne City, which is 10 miles south of Petoskey. This farm is one of the largest commercial lavender farms in Michigan and it not only offers visitors the opportunity to shop for one-of-a-kind lavender products but it also offers experiences such as farm tours, workshops, taste of lavender, Fitness on the Farm and more.
Even after the lavender has been harvested, there are things to do. Again, the best way to see what is being offered during the time of your visit would be to check out their website.
8 – Castle Farms
Did you know there was a castle in Charlevoix, which is 20 miles west of Petoskey? Yes, Castle Farms is a beautiful wedding venue but they also have self-guided, guided, and group tours. Play tag in their hedge maze. Check out their 2,500 foot model railroad train set. Feed the ducks and the rainbow trout in their pond. Visit Norm the Dragon. They also have a tram tour of their property, which is available seasonally and weather permitting.
For more details, check out their website!
9 – Shopping in Petoskey, Harbor Springs, or Charlevoix
There is plenty of fun to be had by shopping in our quaint northern Michigan towns. Want to snag a souvenir? Do you enjoy seeing and supporting local artists and craftsmen? There are plenty of wonderful shops to patronize in the picturesque downtown areas of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Charlevoix. These are also great places to pick up lunch or dinner. Or even a snack like ice cream or our world famous fudge. Be aware that the sidewalks and shops can get crowded during the busy summer season – especially on weekends.
10 – Skiing and Other Activities
While Michigan doesn’t have mountains like the ones you find out west, there are still plenty of skiing options in northern Michigan. The Petoskey area is home to three ski resorts: Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, and Nub’s Nob. Besides downhill and cross country skiing, visitors can enjoy the snowshoe trails, tubing parks, horseback riding, fat tire snow biking, and ice skating.
These establishments also offer off-season activities such as zip lines, frisbee golf, ski lift rides to the top of Boyne Mountain, and a spa.
There is so much to see and do in the Petoskey area. It is a nature lover’s paradise with a wonderful mix of Lake Michigan shoreline, quiet woodlands, picturesque farms, and more. We find ourselves drawn to this area time and again and we’re sure you’ll feel the same way after your first visit. Enjoy breathing the fresh, open air!