Did you know that Michigan has the largest state park system in the country? There are 78 state parks that residents and visitors can visit for under $20 per year – go to as many as often as you wish. I think that’s an incredible deal!

A favorite for many visitors, Petoskey State Park is special partly because of its location between Petoskey and Harbor Springs – the center point of paradise! You can even ride your bike to the park from downtown Petoskey (and beyond) or Harbor Springs on the paved Little Traverse Wheelway. Keep in mind, when you ride in or walk in there is no admission charged, so you get a super fun day without spending a lot.

The Petoskey State Park offers hiking trails that crisscross the park, and a stairway that leads to the top of Mount Baldy for those looking for some exercise. Take your sandals off and run through the sand dunes (where allowed – steer clear of sensitive areas) and then jump into beautiful Lake Michigan to wash away the sand. The concessions area is open until Labor Day where you can grab a treat or even rent a kayak and explore further out into the water.

And of course, Petoskey State Park is prime hunting ground for Michigan’s state stone – the Petoskey stone. After a day of adventure here and taking your own dip, be sure to stay and watch the sun dip into the lake. Sunsets here are a legendary cap to the perfect Pure Michigan day.

If you’re in the area, don’t overlook Young State Park in Boyne City. You may not find a Petoskey Stone here, but the kids can drop a line in the fishing pond or swing to their hearts’ content on the swing set overlooking Lake Charlevoix. (I admit, I have been known to sit in those same swings and leisurely just drag my toes in the sand).

If you live in Michigan, be sure to check the box to get a Recreation Passport when you renew your license plate tabs. See you at a state park!

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About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of 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. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.