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13 Fun Summer Things to Do in Petoskey Michigan for All Ages

With more than 30 miles of shoreline along Little Traverse Bay, Petoskey is undoubtedly one of the best places to spend a Michigan summer vacation. The population of this town swells in the summer months as visitors from all over experience all the summer things to do in Petoskey Michigan.

In addition to flocking to this charming community in hopes of catching one of its “million-dollar sunsets,” this guide will provide everything you need to know about the best things to do in Petoskey during the summer.

Swimming & Splashing on the Best Beaches in Petoskey

If you’re planning a trip to Petoskey during the summer, you simply have to spend at least one day — or more — on the beach.

This community’s near-perfect location along the shores of Little Traverse Bay means that the beaches are calm and beautiful. Plus, they offer plenty of space for all beachgoers to enjoy.

Jones Landing Township Park

This local park is a bit of a hidden gem. While it’s well-known to locals as a quiet and peaceful place to spend a day in the water, it’s often passed over by travelers who have their sights set on the larger, more well-known beaches in the community.

However, Jones Landing Township Park offers an idyllic escape from the throngs of vacationers at Walloon Lake during the summer. With its covered pavilion, convenient restrooms, wheelchair-accessible beach, and public boat launch, it’s one of the nicest places to spend a quiet summer afternoon.

Jones Landing Township Park, Walloon Lake - Summer In Petoskey
Jones Landing Township Park | photo via @sara_dolmetsch

Magnus City Park Beach

Magnus City Park is operated by the City of Petoskey and is a campground that welcomes visitors throughout the summer months. With a large stretch of shoreline available to campers and visitors, this beach is a popular destination among families with young children.

It’s conveniently located just steps away from the historic downtown area and is known as one of the best places in the city to find the treasured Petoskey Stones.

Petoskey State Park

Petoskey State Park has, perhaps, the most well-known beach in Petoskey. The beach here is considered the best in the area by both travelers and locals alike.

This reputation is well deserved because the beach is known for its pristine condition and incredible views. In addition to having plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the surf and sand, this park is also home to two modern campgrounds, as well as a geocaching area.

Petoskey State Park, Petoskey - Summer In Petoskey
Petoskey State Park | photo via @bethanyc_se

Sturgeon Bay Dunes

Just outside of Petoskey is Sturgeon Bay Dunes, which is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a private and rugged beach experience. This beach features approximately 3 miles of shoreline, and there are many hilly sand dunes to explore.

Be ready for a day in the elements, however. There are no restrooms on site, although portable toilets may be available during the summer months.

Sturgeon Bay Dunes, Carp Lake - Summer In Petoskey
Sturgeon Bay Dunes | photo via @stephpurk_photography

Hunting for Petoskey Stones During Summer

The best souvenir to take home from experiencing summer things to do in Petoskey Michigan is an authentic Petoskey stone. Designated the official Michigan State Stone in 1965, the Petoskey stone is easily identified by its pebble shape and hexagonal patterns.

While it’s referred to most frequently as a stone, this rock is actually a combination of a stone and a fossil. People of all ages who come to Petoskey love to search for these unique stones.

Where to Find Petoskey Stones

The best places to go Petoskey stone hunting are along the shores of Lake Michigan. Families find that the beach at Magnus City Park is a great place to uncover Petoskey Stones, while others have better luck along the Petoskey breakwall.

If you plan to spend a day hiking trails or enjoying the beach at Petoskey State Park, you may want to look for some Petoskey stones there as well. With any luck, you’ll leave with several incredible stones. Although, you’ll likely treasure the experience of hunting for them more than the prize itself.

Petoskey Stone - Landmarks Quiz, Spring Things To Do, Summer In Petoskey
Petoskey Stone

Hiking & Biking Along Local Petoskey Trails

Most of the trails in the Petoskey area are multiuse trails, making them perfect for anyone who prefers a leisurely walk, an active hike, or a rugged biking experience.

In the summer, the trails are generally available and accessible, but local officials ask that all trail users rely on proper etiquette before they head out for a day of exploring. If there has been significant rainfall and the trails appear very muddy, it’s best to consider a different activity for the day.

Some of the best trails in Petoskey include:

  • The Bear River Trail — This 2.5-mile trail runs along a scenic river in the Bear River Valley Recreation Area.
  • The Old Baldy and Portage Loop — Spanning just about 2 miles, this popular trail is an excellent option for those interested in seeing local wildlife on their hike.
  • North Country Trail: Brewbaker Road — This 3-mile trail winds through a forested area of Petoskey, giving you a different perspective of the local landscape.
Bear River Valley Recreation Area, Petoskey - Summer In Petoskey
Bear River Valley Recreation Area | photo via @the_michigan_guru

Exploring the Culinary Trail & Enjoying Fresh Food in Petoskey

If you’re searching for a place where you can enjoy delicious and flavorful meals while soaking up beautiful views, then Petoskey is the perfect summer vacation destination.

Culinary Trail

This city is quickly becoming known as a foodie destination, and it has even developed a culinary trail that leads to some of the hottest dining locales in the city. Along the culinary trail, you’ll discover Petoskey restaurants, wineries, fresh farm markets, local gardens, and artisan bakeries.

Palette Bistro, Petoskey
Palette Bistro | photo via @charissakaschel

Farmers’ Markets

In addition to exploring the culinary trail in Petoskey, you may want to check out the Michigan farmers’ markets that are open during the summer season with fresh fruit and vegetables for your days on the beach.

Morel Mushroom Hunting

Another popular food-related activity that’s available for a fleeting moment is morel mushroom hunting. These elusive mushrooms pop up in Petoskey from mid-May until mid-June, and morel hunters from around the state flock to the area in hopes of finding a few savory morels to enjoy.

Morel Mushrooms - Spring In Northern Michigan, Summer In Petoskey
Morel Mushrooms | photo via @scenehappy

Planning Summer Family Fun in Petoskey Michigan

With sprawling beaches and gorgeous parks, it’s no surprise that Petoskey is a popular family vacation destination. In addition to the natural beauty that surrounds you, you and your family will surely enjoy some of these fun-filled attractions in the city.

Pond Hill Farm

With activities and attractions for people of all ages, Pond Hill Farm is a favorite among families visiting Petoskey. The youngest children love to visit with the animals at the livestock barn, while older children and adults alike delight in finding the gnome houses hidden around the property.

Pond Hill Farm, Harbor Springs
Pond Hill Farm | photo via @gone.journaling

Beaver Island Boat Company

The Beaver Island Boat Company will take visitors by ferry to Beaver Island, which is known as America’s Emerald Isle. Families of all shapes and sizes delight in the boat ride itself, as well as the excursion to this pristine island.

Uncovering Petoskey’s Past on Historical Tours

When you arrive in Petoskey’s Gaslight District, you’ll quickly see that this community has preserved its past while progressing toward the future.

When it comes to local history, most visitors are interested in the places where famed author Ernest Hemingway used to spend his time. There are self-guided brochures available that will take you to his favorite local haunts in the historic downtown area.

Other historic points of interest in Petoskey include the Andrew Blackbird Museum and the Bay View Association.

Summer Golfing in Petoskey Michigan

For those who are passionate about golf, Petoskey is a dream come true. The city alone has 17 golf courses, all of which offer breathtaking views and challenging holes.

Most of the golf courses open for the season in the middle of May, making this one of the most popular summer things to do in Petoskey Michigan.

Frequently Asked Questions About Summer Things to Do in Petoskey Michigan

What is Petoskey Michigan known for?

Petoskey Michigan is a quaint town in the northern reaches of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It’s best known for its charming downtown area and beautiful stretch of shoreline along Little Traverse Bay.

Petoskey is a popular vacation destination in the summer months, largely because of its many beaches and local shops and restaurants.

Where is the best place to find Petoskey stones?

The best places to find Petoskey stones are at the beaches with a Lake Michigan shoreline. These rocks are most often found at the surf, and it’s easiest to spot them when they’re wet. When they’re dry, it’s harder to see the hexagonal pattern.

Is Petoskey Michigan worth visiting?

Yes, absolutely! Petoskey Michigan is an idyllic Northern Michigan town that has a welcoming atmosphere and plenty of things to see and do for people of all ages. With a hint of Victorian charm, Petoskey is the kind of place where people can enjoy the leisurely days of an era gone by.

How much does it cost to go to Petoskey State Park?

Michigan residents need a Recreation Passport to enter Petoskey State Park. The passport can be purchased in advance or when you arrive. Out-of-state residents can purchase a day pass or an annual pass to visit all of Michigan’s state parks.

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