Local’s List for Summer Fun

By Jeff Wellman

Locals always know the best things to do. Here’s our locally sourced summer bucket list for the best things to do in Northern Michigan. If you know, you know!

  1. Jump off the break wall in Petoskey – This is a rite of passage for Northern Michigan residents. There’s nothing like leaping off the break wall into the refreshing water of Lake Michigan on a hot summer afternoon!

  1. Get a drink at the Barrel Back outdoor lounge – Enjoy a summer evening sipping a drink on the outdoor patio at the Barrel Back overlooking Lake Walloon. Gather some friends or family and enjoy good conversation and the cool breeze.

  1. Watch the drawbridge go up in Charlevoix – This iconic drawbridge is a landmark in downtown Charlevoix. Opening on the hour and half hour for large boats, locals and visitors alike enjoy getting a glimpse of it in action. It’s also a great spot for boat watching. 

  1. Get some fudge in downtown Boyne City – Both Chocolat Haus and Kilwins in Boyne serve up delicious fudge in a variety of flavors. Indulge in the sweet treat and be a Fudgie for a day!

  1. Do the Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Every summer thousands climb the 284-foot-tall dune that towers above Lake Michigan. It’s the park’s most popular attraction. The view from the top is incredible. The trip is 3.5 miles and takes 3-4 hours to complete. It’s not an easy climb, but the bragging rights are worth it!

  1. Catch the sunset over Lake Charlevoix  – Northern Michigan is the home of million dollar sunsets. You can get a great view of the sunset from Peninsula Beach in Boyne City.

  1. Browse the many galleries in Petoskey – Downtown Petoskey has several galleries where you’ll find original pieces of artwork including paintings, photographs, and pottery. Many of the artists are local. Spend the day browsing. You might find a special piece you want to take home for yourself. 

  1. Catch a movie at the Lyric movie theater in Harbor Springs – See a movie in this charming state-of-the-art theater in downtown Harbor Springs. 

  1. Get ice cream from Kilwins –  You can’t go wrong with ice cream from Kilwins. They have locations in Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Boyne City, and Charlevoix. If you stop at the Petoskey store you can take a Chocolate Tour and see how they create their sweet treats.

  1. Ride the chairlift at Boyne Mountain – The chairlift at Boyne Mountain is open during the offseason. A ride gives you an incredible view of the lush green valley.

  1. The Petoskey wine region is home to several Northern Michigan wineries producing wine from locally grown grapes. Visit their tasting rooms to sample their world-class wines made distinctive by the cool Northern Michigan climate.

  1. Kayak the Boyne River –  The Boyne River is an easy paddle for beginners, but even experienced kayakers will enjoy the scenic views along the river. There is an access site at Dam Road to drop in.

  1. Hike Avalanche Mountain Preserve – This 300-acre preserve has many great hiking trails. Climb to the top of the hill, and you get a panoramic view of Lake Charlevoix.

  1. Karaoke at City Park Grill – Enjoy the Petoskey nightlife and join the locals for karaoke night on Fridays at City Park Grill. It’s always a good time!

  1. Happy Hour at Cafe Sante in Boyne City – This is a must! If you’re looking for cheap cocktails, wine specials, and delicious appetizers in a great atmosphere, you’ll love their Happy Hour!

  1. Paint and Sip at Walloon Lake Winery – Enjoy a glass of wine as an instructor leads you through creating your very own masterpiece. Bring along friends for laughs and good conversation.
Jeff Wellman
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