One-Day Petoskey Itinerary

Seeing everything a place has to offer in one day can be tough! That’s why is here to help you see those can’t-miss stops and give you a few food recommendations. Take a look at the following things we have highlighted if you just have a day in Petoskey. We have narrowed it down to our top 10 within Petoskey.

Where to Stay?

Check out our listings of accommodations within the Petoskey Area by visiting Having so much fun you decide to stay the night? Don’t worry we have lots of options and price points to choose from. Check out the historic Stafford’s Perry Hotel that is located right downtown Petoskey.


1. Explore Downtown Petoskey

Downtown Petoskey is known for its Historic Gaslight District, anywhere you go downtown with the green gaslights along the street will be this district. What started in 1890 is now known as the Gaslight District of Petoskey which is home to over 100 small shops of souvenirs, gifts, clothing, jewelry, galleries, restaurants, and more! With great views of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay at various downtown points, this is truly a unique place to explore. Make sure to check out our parks in the downtown area too: Pennsylvania Park, Arlington Park just next to Stafford’s Perry Hotel, Bear River Valley Recreation Park, and Bayfront Park is also walkable through the tunnel where Petoskey Street turns into Bay Street—looking for a tour of the downtown area? We have several options for that too!

2. Hunt for Petoskey Stones

Michigan’s state stone, the Petoskey Stone, is a common occurrence on Lake Michigan beaches in our area. If you’ve never found one yourself, this is a great thing to check off your list if you are visiting the area for even just a day. Although it may only thought of as an activity to accomplish in the summer months, you can hunt for Petoskey Stones in almost any season when the beach is accessible and the weather allows you to do so. Springtime is your best bet to find one as it is post-snow, the ice is thawing and it is a relatively slower season for visitors so the beaches haven’t been picked over as much.

You might know the look of Petoskey Stones when they are all polished up to see their telltale pattern but looking for them at the beach is a bit different in their raw state. You’ll want to look along the shore where the water meets the sand. If you can bring a spray bottle or a water bottle with some holes poked in the cap that would be great. When they a misted or wet you can see the typical Petoskey stone pattern as you would when they are polished. Don’t have a spray bottle? Take your suspected stone and dip it in Lake Michigan to see if it reveals a hexagon pattern.

For more tips and places to hunt for Petoskey Stones, click here.

3. Walk Along the Bear River

Petoskey is lucky to be located along the Bear River Valley. There are designated trails just a few blocks outside of the immediate downtown that run along the Bear River and even connect you to Bayfront Park (another area we recommend spending some time sightseeing). Along the Bear River, you will find paved and non-paved trails, bridges that cross over the river, posts to set up your hammock, picnic areas, benches, a dam near the mouth of the river, and a few lookout platforms.

Be sure to check out the guide along the trail using the QR codes you will see along the way.

4. Bayfront Park and the Petoskey Pier

Just steps from downtown and accessible via car, biking the wheelway, or walking through the midway tunnel that goes under US 31 is Petoskey’s Bayfront Park. A popular walk is out the breakwall to see the beacon at the end, walking along the shore to the left side of the breakwall to look for cool rocks and stones, walking out to the end of the marina’s pier, or down the walkway towards east Bayfront Park to see the waterfall area. This is also a port for the Little Traverse Bay Ferry in the summer and early fall months. Check out the ferry's website to see if they have any sunset cruises available on their Harbor Princess.

5. Visit the Little Traverse History Museum

Depending on which season you visit, the Little Traverse History Museum is a great place to visit and at a low cost that is located in the Bayfront area as well. You can discover their current collections from throughout Petoskey History. For a list of current collections/exhibits on display check out their website.

Some exhibits to highlight:

  • A Century of Fashion
  • Hemingway's Michigan
  • Passenger Pigeons

6. Check out Crooked Tree Arts Center

Crooked Tree Arts Center is located in downtown Petoskey just across the street from the Petoskey District Library. Originally constructed in 1890 as a church, this facility has been fully restored and renovated as an award-winning cultural center. They offer fine art exhibits, local artists’ work for purchase, concerts, performances, and film in the 220-seat theater, classes, workshops, and more! Admission to the gallery is free!

Check out their Event Calendar

7. Enjoy the Architecture in Bay View Association

This community just outside of Petoskey has seasonal residents and is home to the year-round Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant. The old Victorian architecture throughout this community has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark. A stop in the warmer months is the best time for a self-guided walking tour – stop by the Bay View Administration Office to pick one up. Not feeling like walking? Feel free to drive around the community as well.

8. Walk or Bike the Little Traverse Wheelway

Walk, bike, or rollerblade the Little Traverse Wheelway, a 26–mile paved trail from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix. This is a great way (if weather allows) for you to experience multiple must-see spots on your list in the area. This trail will take you along a scenic route through waterfront areas, parks, Petoskey’s Bayfront Park, Historic Bay View, and Bay Harbor Village with great pitstops along the way.

9. The Petoskey State Park

Whether you’re looking for a great sandy beach with rock hunting opportunities, hiking trails, a place to watch the sunset, or a spot to explore some dunes, Petoskey State Park is a must-see spot with all of that and more. Beach it up in the summer months. Rock picking and hiking the trails aren’t strictly for summer months. Trails can be enjoyed year-round with the appropriate equipment in the snow-covered months. Rock hunting is great in spring, summer, and fall. Picnic area and playground on site as well.

10. Eat Like a Local for Every Meal


Looking for a great start to your day? Check out some of our favorite spots for breakfast in Petoskey and some recommendations on their menus.

  • Sam’s Graces Cafe - check their website for current hours - eggs benedict, greek frittata, and pancakes
  • Julienne Tomatoes: Lamp Lighter breakfast sandwich or wrap; or Vegetarian Delight as a wrap
  • Roast & Toast: breakfast pita, avocado toast, or vanilla greek yogurt pancakes
  • Looking for a cup of coffee and a pastry?
    • North Perk on Howard Street – specialty, brew coffee, and teas; don’t skip out on a pastry as they are from Crooked Tree Breadworks of Petoskey
    • Johan's Pastry Shop - brewed coffee and the largest cinnamon sweet bun ('J' Bun) you'll ever see, great donut and danish selection as well


After a morning of having fun in Petoskey, you’ll want to grab a bite to eat for lunch! We have a variety of eateries whether you’re looking for a deli for takeout, a nice sit-down meal, or a casual restaurant. Here are some recommendations on spots to grab lunch and recommendations from their menus.

  • Cormack’s Deli - think large portion deli sandwiches on homemade bread, a variety of homemade deserts (bread pudding!), and homemade daily soups
  • Julienne Tomatoes - be sure to check the daily special and soups - Robyn's Reuben, B.L. Tomato, Grilled Ham & Brie - SO many great ones
  • Roast & Toast - lunch at Toast is great as well; avocado BLT, chicken Caesar salad, rotating homemade soups


Whether you’re looking for a casual or a more upscale dining experience, Petoskey has some great dinner options!

  • Duffy’s Garage & Grill - sit down and share a pizza, a great buffalo chicken dip appetizer served in a bread bowl
  • City Park Grill - whitefish, a filet, a burger, their signature wedge salad, you name it - it's delicious
  • POUR - an extensive wine pour list, specialty cocktails, gourmet food like sushi, wagyu steak, poke nachos, and great appetizers to go with a glass of wine too!