Petoskey, Michigan is a beautiful destination with outdoor adventures offered year-round.
I’m sharing about the top things to do during a visit to the area.
Our accommodations were in partnership with GoRving and this article contains affiliate links.
When I moved to Northern Michigan, Petoskey was one of the big selling points. I fell in love the moment I saw the gorgeous turquoise water in the Little Traverse Bay near the downtown.
Petoskey is a beautiful destination year-round, but if you visit during the warmer months you get to enjoy all of the outdoor activities on the water which is a bonus.
Walk to the Petoskey Pierhead Lighthouse
1309 Spring St Suite 130, Petoskey, MI
You can easily park once at Bayfront Park and explore the area by the water and downtown.
The Petoskey Pierhead is wide making it a great area to walk or bike.
I’m not sure if it is encouraged but the Petoskey pier is also a popular spot to jump into the Little Traverse Bay during a warm summer day.
Nearby you can watch the water from another angle coming from Bear River into the Little Traverse Bay.
Explore the shops in Downtown Petoskey
Petoskey has so many great shops and restaurants to explore downtown.
You can easily walk or bike from the waterfront at Bayfront Park to the downtown area.
A popular store that you don’t want to miss is Grandpa Shorter’s for unique Michigan-themed gifts.
Pennsylvania Park is a great green space near the downtown shops if you want to have a picnic in the park.
Explore the Scenic Bike Trails
Petoskey is a VERY bike-friendly city that’s also family-friendly if you have younger bikers.
My husband and I really enjoyed our morning bike rides exploring the area on our e-bikes while our teenagers slept in.
I would recommend starting around Bayfront Park and traveling toward Petoskey State Park for gorgeous views of the Little Traverse Bay.
Be on the lookout for a waterfall area that is tucked away.
A few of the bike paths to check out in the area are:
101 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI
If you are feeling extra ambitious, bike the 24 miles from Charlevoix to Petoskey to Harbor Springs.
If you don’t have a bike with you there are several bike rental shops in Petoskey to choose from.
Search for Petoskey Stones
Did you know that Michigan has a state stone?
What is a Petoskey Stone?
The Petoskey stone is fossilized pre-historic coral fossilized rugose coral, Hexagonaria percarinata. Distinguishable by its unique exoskeleton structure, a Petoskey stone consists of tightly packed, six-sided corallites, which are the skeletons of the once-living coral polyps. The center of each polyp was the mouth and contained tentacles that reached out for food. The hexagon shape of each cell and thin lines radiating out from the dark “eye” in the center are distinguishing features unique to this fossil.
Petoskey stones are unique to the Great Lakes and if you are lucky you might find one along the shore.
Where is the best place to find Petoskey Stones?
Try to look for less populated areas along the shoreline.
Popular spots for finding Petoskey Stones are by the break wall at Magnus City Park Beach or Petoskey State Park.
If you don’t have much patience, you can always “hunt” for Petoskey stones at one of the local gift shops downtown.
*Please note that some areas may have signs prohibiting the removal of stones.
Beaches in Petoskey
901 West Lake Street, Petoskey, MI
Solanus Mission Beach
101 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI
2475 M-119 Highway, Petoskey, MI
A big draw of the area is spending time on the Little Traverse Bay which is part of Lake Michigan. It’s the perfect playground for fishing, boating, and water sports like kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.
There is a campground if you want to stay and camp during your visit. For a great view take a hike on the Old Baldy Trail, it takes you to a stable sand dune.
*Make sure that you only climb dunes that are part of the hiking trails.
Petoskey State Park also offers bike, kayak, and paddleboard rentals if you don’t have your own with you.
The water was absolutely gorgeous and so clear. Our family spent the majority of our time in the water. We lucked out and the water temperature was refreshing and not cold.
Confession: I spent over 3 hours in my inflatable kayak and I don’t regret it. It was so comfortable and relaxing.
We also came back to the park for an evening swim after dinner one night.
How to Save on Visiting Michigan State Parks
If you are from out of state you might want to consider purchasing the Michigan Recreations Passport annual sticker.
It’s the best value if you plan on visiting the park multiple days and works for the whole state.
Take a Ride on the Little Traverse Bay Ferry
A ferry ride is an inexpensive way to visit all three cities on the bay in a day and spend time on the water.
I would highly recommend this as an option if you need some time out of the direct sun. This is also nice for families who want to experience a boat ride during their visit.
The ferry has covered seating for up to 49 people and can even ferry bikes. We purchased our ferry tickets online and we were told to arrive 5-10 minutes early.
The transit time is up to 25 minutes and my advice would be to try the ferry if you don’t have a tight schedule.
During our visit, the waves in the Little Traverse Bay were higher than normal which changed the order of the stops and the departure times. It wasn’t a huge deal for us because our schedule was flexible.
Bay Harbor Ferry Port
Bay Harbor Lake Marina
832 Front St.
Bay Harbor, MI
We started our ferry ride at Bay Harbor. I would have explored the shops more but we were tight on time and only had a few minutes before our ferry departed.
My favorite part of the Bay Harbor stop was getting to see the gorgeous houses and boats on the water from two perspectives.
Petoskey Ferry Port
101 E Lake St.
We opted to stay on the ferry for the Petoskey stop because we had already explored the city.
Harbor Springs, Michigan Ferry Port
Josephine Ford Park
432-446 E. Bay St.
Harbor Springs, MI
There are lots of downtown shops and restaurants in downtown Harbor Springs.
There are parks by the water if you want to enjoy the view.
Sweet Stops in Harbor Springs
We already ate before we arrived at Harbor Springs but we justified stopping for ice cream in the name of research.
139 E Main St, Harbor Springs, MI
You may recognize the ice cream chain but the original was located in Petoskey across from Harbor Springs on the Little Traverse Bay.
This was an impulse stop that was totally worth it! Your hardest decision will be narrowing down all of the incredible options of cookies to choose from.
We tried several for research purposes and you honestly can’t go wrong with whatever you decide. I would recommend getting an assortment and share it for the best of both worlds.
Great Places to Eat Near and In Petoskey
We love to find the local dining gems when we visit a city. Here are a few places to add to your list.
565 W Mitchell St, Petoskey, MI
A popular spot for a local sweet treat. You can’t go wrong with a dozen donuts from Johan’s Pastry Shop.
Local Coffee Shops in Petoskey
309 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI
308 Howard St., Petoskey, MI
207 Howard St, Petoskey, MI
Local Breweries in Petoskey
Petoskey Brewing Company (Located close to Petoskey State Park)
1844 Harbor-Petoskey Rd, Petoskey, MI
215 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI
3379 Lake Grove Rd, Petoskey, MI
3423 US-131, Petoskey, MI
422 E Mitchell St, Petoskey, MI
Restaurants that Are Worth the Drive
6425 N Lake Shore Dr, Cross Village, MI
Authentic Polish food with quirky style inside and an incredible garden and backyard view of Lake Michigan.
This restaurant is only open during the summer seasons so you will definitely want to make it there during a visit.
Save room for their berry dessert with ice cream because it’s AMAZING!
4069 M-75, Walloon Lake, MI
Sunset is pretty glorious on this restaurant on Walloon Lake.
117 Water St, Boyne City, MI
One of my all-time favorite restaurants when I lived in Northern Michigan. The menu is a fusion of Latin American dishes and you can’t go wrong with whatever you order.
Where to Stay in Petoskey?
5505 Charlevoix Ave, Petoskey, MI.
We LOVED our stay at the Petoskey RV Resort. The inside of the premium cottage really blew us away and went above and beyond our expectations.
This is a great option if you love connecting with the outdoors during the day and want to experience luxury indoors at night.
The premium cottages include one-bedroom, plus an overhead loft area to comfortably accommodate up to 6 guests. Other amenities include a private bathroom, flat-screen cable TV, heat and air conditioning, an electric fireplace, plus a kitchen with full-sized appliances, cookware, dinnerware, and utensils.
The sliding glass door leads you outside to the covered porch that includes two chairs and a table, plus a picnic table and fire ring. You don’t have to worry about bringing bedding because linens and towels are included.
Petoskey RV Resort is conveniently located about 7 minutes from Bay Harbor, 10 minutes from downtown Petoskey, and 20 minutes from the Petoskey State Park.
There is also a pool onsite if you want a break from the lake.
You can save on your stay at Petoskey RV Resort with Booking.com.