It happens every year and it seems many of us are not ready for the inevitable. Kids are heading back to school, summer is winding down and Labor Day is knocking loudly at our doors. 

Hey, don’t panic! There’s still time to enjoy many of the things that you like about summer. Golfing, hiking, bike riding and yes, boating — even If you don’t own a boat. 

There’s something about being on Michigan’s lakes and rivers that is nearly magical.  Maybe it’s the relaxing sound of the paddle swishing through the current, perhaps it’s opening the throttle and racing across the open water, or it could be the camaraderie one feels when gathering on a boat and drifting through new territory. If you didn’t make it out on the water yet, or are anxious to get out again, here are some suggestions for taking advantage of the dog days of summer. 

Point yourself towards Harbor Springs

The Pointer Boat is docked at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant in Harbor Springs and offers public and private tours, for up to 12 guests, through at least the end of September. This gem of a boat has been lovingly recreated to match its 1930’s identity, when she ran guests back and forth from the Harbor Point Hotel. Today, you can celebrate the beauty of Little Traverse Bay, while your friendly captain treats you to a 1 hour to 1 1/4 hour cruise.

Rent a canoe or kayak

Go where peaceful waters flow and you can travel at your own pace. Canoe and kayak rentals are available near Lake Charlevoix, on Walloon Lake, on Crooked Lake near Alanson, and in Harbor Springs and Petoskey for use on Little Traverse Bay and other area lakes and rivers. 

Feel the power

Jet across the lake with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. Many people love the freedom of Jet Skis which can be rented at the Windjammer Marina, Boyne Recreational Rentals, Boyne Watersports and Summertime Rentals.

Take a stand

You don’t have to spend the day sitting down. Stand-up paddleboards let you be your own captain and give your arms, abs and legs a workout, too. Talk to Josh and his crew at The Outfitter in Harbor Springs, Tommy’s on Walloon Lake, or Paddle Your Harbor and Paddle Boards by the Bay in Bay Harbor to rent yours.

Keep it private, sailor

Sail off into the sunset on the private trip of your choosing with Pure Mish Charters for up to six (or just the two of you) for a memory-making experience that begins in beautiful Boyne City on sparkling Lake Charlevoix. This is the type of trip so many desire, but so few make time for. Don’t you deserve an end of summer gift? 

Travel with a crew

Bring the whole family, or your friends, and experience fun times aboard a pontoon boat. There’s room to move around, bring a portable grill and dock somewhere for lunch, and jump in the water to go swimming. Pontoons are available at several Petoskey Area locations.

Just relax

Leave the driving in the capable hands of the captains of the river on the Keewaydin Queen II, a 40-foot Coast Guard-certified pontoon boat that travels the historic Inland Waterway. Learn a little bit of the history of this river trail and maybe see blue heron, sand cranes, or a deer amongst the ever-changing landscape. The tour is about 1 hour and 45 minutes of pure Michigan bliss.

We can’t slow down time, but we can all make the most of the warm weather days that lead from summer’s lake effect to autumn’s orchard time. Need lodging? Find it here and then book your September water adventure.


About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.