With more than 11,000 inland lakes and over 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, Michigan is truly a water lover’s paradise. If you count yourself among those with a fondness for getting out on the rivers and lakes, the Petoskey Area should be on your list of places to visit. 

Sailing into summer, the daylight here lasts longer because of our location near the 45th parallel. Take advantage of it and plan on spending hours on the water. Don’t forget the sunscreen and your cell phone – you’ll definitely want to take pictures to share with your friends.

If sailing is your style, bring your boat and set your sights on a great day. You may want to come just to watch, too, when the Little Traverse Yacht Club hosts the “Ugotta Regatta” in the bay between the beautiful towns of Petoskey and Harbor Springs – it’s a breathtaking event (last weekend in July) that can be viewed from either shoreline. Don’t know how to sail? No problem. Lessons are available for young and old.

More of a motor boat kind of person? Fishing boat? You don’t even need to have your own – rent one from a number of different places throughout the Petoskey Area communities. The same goes for jet skis or pontoon boats – rent ‘em or bring your own. Put in at Crooked Lake near Alanson for a super cool experience of traveling through the Inland Waterway, a series of lakes and rivers for 38 miles, and finding yourself at Lake Huron at the end.

Maybe you like the quieter sports. Kayaking and canoeing are terrific ways to enjoy the natural beauty of Boyne City’s Lake Charlevoix, Little Traverse Bay, or Spring Lake in Petoskey. Standup paddleboards (SUPS) have become really popular over the last several years. Here again, you can bring your own board or rent one. Not only is this a peaceful way to travel, but it’s a first-rate workout for your arms and abs! For a wilder ride, hit the whitewater trail that ends in downtown Petoskey. Boasting the biggest fall in any river in the Lower Peninsula, this ¼ mile pathway is not for novices and attracts people from all around the state.

Sometimes you may just want to leave the piloting to the experts. Take a fun and informative tour of the Harbor Springs shoreline on the Pointer Boat, a replica of the water taxis that serviced the area years ago. Head to nearby Charlevoix for a family friendly sailing cruise or take a short trip to Mackinaw City to catch the Shepler’s Ferry for a lighthouse tour. Book a private day with family or friends on Pure Mish Sailing Charters’ Catalina 387 out of Boyne City. Take a fishing charter out of Bay Harbor. 2020 brings excitement as you will be able to park your car and board the brand new Little Traverse Bay Ferry for quick and beautiful treks between Harbor Springs and Petoskey.

Maybe your idea of being on the water is nothing more than bobbing along in a tube or on a raft. Or playfully swimming with your favorite people. No matter how you want to experience a day on the water (including inside at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark), there’s a place for that in the Petoskey Area. So come on in – the water’s fine!

New Call-to-action

 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.