Our Favorite Inland Lakes

By Jeff Wellman

Lake Michigan gets all the attention, but Northern Michigan is home to several beautiful inland lakes that offer many different options for recreation and relaxation on the water. Boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking are just a few of the activities waiting for you on Northern Michigan’s inland lakes. Here are five of our favorites: 

Lake Charlevoix – Lake Charlevoix is bookended by the resort towns of Charlevoix and Boyne City. After spending the day on the water head into town to dine and shop. Unique to Lake Charlevoix is the Ironton Ferry, which transports cars and passengers across the south arm of the lake from mid-April to mid-November. Hemingway fans should stop by the Horton Bay General Store on the northeast side of Lake Charlevoix. The famous author spent several summers in Horton Bay, often frequenting the store. 

Walloon Lake – Walloon Lake was also part of Ernest Hemingway’s old stomping grounds and where he married his first wife, Haley Richardson. They honeymooned at Windemere Cottage, the summer home of the Hemingway family on Walloon Lake. Today, Hemingway relatives still occupy the home, but it’s a private residence.

The small downtown area of Walloon Lake has a handful of restaurants, accommodations, and shops. There are many opportunities for outdoor recreation including a marina, public beach, and nearby trails. The town of Petoskey, located on Lake Michigan, is just 15 minutes. Petoskey has over 170 restaurants and shops downtown for you to enjoy.

Torch Lake – Torch Lake is northeast of Traverse City. This lake is famous for its crystal-clear, blue-green water that looks like the Caribbean sea. Torch Lake is very deep and stays cold well into the summer. It also only has one small public beach. Most people enjoy the lake on their boat. The lake is also known for the summer boat parties that gather on the sandbars. As many as 10,000 people are gather on the lake over the Fourth of July holiday each year.. If you’re looking for a good time, this is the lake for you. Torch Lake is part of the Chain of Lakes, which means you can travel by boat between several smaller inland lakes. It’s close to the towns of Elk Rapids and Bellaire where you can dine and shop.

Burt/Mullett Lake – Burt and Mullett are twin lakes located on either side of I-75, just 45 minutes south of the Mackinac Bridge. The lakes are also close to Petoskey and Harbor Springs, both towns which sit right on Lake Michigan. Burt and Mullett Lakes’ proximity to these resort towns means that options for shopping and dining are almost limitless. But there’s plenty to do on the water, too. Boaters can travel between Burt and Mullett Lake via the Indian River. Mullett Lake is known for its great perch and walleye fishing. At Burt Lake State Park you can launch your boat or swim and relax at the beach. Both lakes are also part of the Inland Waterway, a 45-mile boat route that travels through two locks, four lakes, and three rivers to Lake Huron.

Crooked Lake – Crooked Lake is another wonderful inland lake for boating fishing. Like Burt and Mullett lakes, it is also part of the Inland Waterway. It’s an easy 15-minute drive from Crooked Lake to Lake Michigan, the city of Petoskey, and Petoskey State Park.

Jeff Wellman
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