For people who are lucky enough to live on a coast, maybe Northern Michigan doesn’t have the same appeal as it does for those of us who live in the Midwest. There may not be any direct flights, unless you’re coming from Detroit, but it is worth the connecting flight. What makes Petoskey, Michigan so special? I’ll give you 25 reasons to visit Petoskey Michigan.
- Petoskey has been known as, “the land of million dollar sunsets,” ever since 1873.
- Petoskey is located on Lake Michigan, along Little Traverse Bay.
- The average duration of light for Petoskey in high summer is 16.5 hours. This includes dawn and dusk.
- Toward the turn of the 20th century, many wealthy businessmen from Chicago and Detroit built summer compounds along Little Traverse Bay. You can see these mansions from the water if you take the Pointer Boat or paddle in the bay.
- Rock hunting is big in Petoskey. Not just any rocks, but the Petoskey stones. Petoskey stones abound along the coastline of Little Traverse Bay. These stones are covered with a repetitive, jagged hexagon pattern, and are best seen when the rock is wet.
- Petoskey holds a special place in American history. It is in Petoskey where Ernest Hemingway spent every summer from his birth in 1899 to his first marriage, in 1921.
Winter in Petoskey, Michigan
7. On average, Petoskey receives just over 100 inches of snow per year! For reference, the U.S. average is 26 inches.
8. Petoskey is a winter sport wonderland. Fat tire biking, snowmobiling, ice skating, snowshoeing, ziplining, and cross country skiing are incredibly popular in Petoskey.
9. For the past 91 years, Petoskey, Michigan has held a winter carnival!
10. Petoskey is home to the Midwest’s largest ski area, Boyne Mountain. With 415 acres of land, there are 60 runs and seven terrain parks for snow tricksters.
11. With so much snow and cold, Petoskey’s ski season is long. This past year, Boyne Mountain had a 144 day ski season. Nub’s Nob opened in November and closed the first week of April. Boyne Highlands was open for 135 days!
12. The world’s only known freshwater sunken crucifix is a five foot-five inch crucifix placed in Little Traverse Bay in 1962. A memorial to all those who have died at sea, the crucifix is visible during late February and March once the lake has sufficiently frozen over. Hundreds of people trek on to the bay to see this seasonal wonder.
13. While the days are short north of the 45th parallel, the dark sky and minimal light pollution means the Northern Lights are visible! Check the NOAA website for daily forecasts to see the Northern Lights during your stay in Petoskey, Michigan.
Spring in Petoskey, Michigan
14. Once spring hits, everyone knows there is one thing to start looking for in Petoskey: Morel mushrooms! These tasty and expensive mushrooms grow like gangbusters in the soil of Petoskey. It’s finders keepers for anyone who finds them. If you are a Morel first timer, consider visiting the Petoskey area for the National Morel Mushroom festival, held every year the weekend after Mother’s Day.
15. Spring means baby birds! The Sunset Coast Birding Trail is a favorite for birders in the Petoskey area. Need some help from the experts? The Petoskey Regional Audubon Society is available to help visitors plan their own birding trips.
16. Spring in Petoskey, Michigan also means new growth. Petoskey is a fruiting region, known for Michigan cherries, apples, and blueberries. More recently, the recognition of the Petoskey Wine Region American Viticultural Area (AVA) means grape growth for Northern Michigan wines. With such harsh winters, you’ll find many special cold hardy grapes and wines of the Petoskey Wine Region.
Summer in Petoskey, Michigan
17. Summer is the high season for Petoskey, Michigan. The Bay View Association residents are back for the season, the days are long, and the weather is pleasant. One of the best things to do is get out and hike in one of the many hardwood forests of Petoskey. Plan ahead by checking out all of the trails on the Michigan Trail Maps website.
18. The Petoskey area of Michigan is not short on award winning golf courses. Some, like the Boyne Highlands Donald Ross Memorial, are for the pros. Having hosted three Ryder Cups and 15 U.S. Opens, amateurs may want to find a property that is more welcoming to the beginner golfer. With almost 20 golf courses in the Petoskey area, you may be tempted to bypass a tee time. Don’t be tempted as these world class courses book up during the short summer season. Call ahead and save yourself any surprises.
19. Did you know that lavender grows outside of Provence? There is a great lavender farm in Michigan‘s Petoskey area, and the best time to visit with the plants in bloom is mid-June through late July.
20. There are so many things to do in Petoskey in the summer, it needs its own post.
Autumn in Petoskey Michigan
21. Walking, biking, or driving through the scenic roads of Petoskey Michigan in the autumn is like entering a living canvas. The colors are so vibrant and varied, even the simple act of a walk can take one’s breath away.
22. Why not learn a thing or two while you walk? Petoskey Yesterday offers walking and riding tours of the historic Petoskey that thrived during Papa’s years in the region. They also offer haunted tours and seasonal tours of Bay View. I did the classic Hemingway’s Petoskey tour and it was truly eye opening.
23. Kayaking may be something most people consider in the summer, but really, it’s an all season activity. In the fall, when the breeze off of Lake Michigan may be too chilly, kayaking down the Bear River becomes a symphony of stillness. The colors of the trees may keep your eyes skyward, so make sure to pay attention to where you are going.
24. Don’t miss the annual Taste of Harbor Springs! With 2019 being the 25th year of this fall festival, you can try the best food of area. This is one of the most popular events in the Petoskey area. This year, it is on Saturday, September 21st.
25. You’ll probably want to wash down those tasty eats with a drink or two. Are you a beer drinker? Maybe you’d like to try out Petoskey Brewing or Beards Brewery. Prefer wine? How about Maple Moon Sugarbush and Winery or Walloon Lake Winery? If you like both, go to Rudbeckia Winery and Burnt Marshmallow Brewery, operating under the same roof.
26. Enjoy the sophistication of historical properties and the quiet of shoulder season at one of the Petoskey area’s gorgeous hotels. Stafford’s Hospitality is a mainstay in hotels and restaurants in the Petoskey area, and their attention to detail makes you want to visit again and again. The common areas are beautiful, rooms are spacious and clean, and the food will make you want to bring something with an elastic waistband.
Have you ever been to the Petoskey Area? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Many thanks to the Petoskey Area CVB for arranging the details of my stay in order to write this article. As always, all opinions are my own.