Surrounding Walloon Lake in Charlevoix County are a handful of small, charming townships. However, there’s something truly special about the Village of Walloon Lake at the foot of the lake. Add a visit to Walloon Lake to your Michigan summer bucket list!
About Walloon Lake
Walloon Lake itself has a unique shape, and the southeast end of it looks like a boot or foot. The lake is lively during the summer with people canoeing, kayaking, fishing and swimming. Boats of all types and sizes adorn the waters. You can get a motorboat rental at Tommy’s Walloon Lake, which manages 60 slips in the marina.
If you have a canoe or kayak, there’s a small beach and boat launch just across the street from Melrose Township Park, which is situated off M-75 at the southern entrance of town. You can see the park sign from the road. In addition to parking and restrooms, the park features playground equipment, a picnic area, and potable water.
The Hemingway Connection
Another draw to Walloon Lake is the history that it has with the Hemingway family. They built a summer retreat — Windemere — in the town after their first visit in 1898. In fall 1899, the family made their first trip to Walloon Lake with 3-month-old Ernest Hemingway.
The family visited the region often. It’s where the famed novelist learned how to boat, camp, fish, hunt, swim, and write. Those experiences ultimately shaped his life and career. Hemingway also spent some time here in 1919 to recover from a serious mortar fire wound that he suffered while working for the American Red Cross in Venice during World War I.
Additionally, he married Hadley Richardson, his first wife, at the Methodist Church in Horton Bay in 1921. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon at Windermere. Although this was his last visit to Walloon Lake, it became the backdrop for “The Nick Adams Stories,” his famous collection of short essays that was published in 1972 after his death.
More Charlevoix County Attractions and Restaurants
Rich in natural beauty, Charlevoix County has many outdoor things to do with a few great indoor places to visit and restaurants to keep your belly full. If you like wine, Boyne Valley Vineyards is just north of Walloon Lake and makes delicious wine that you can sample.
Before heading into Boyne City, have a fancy dinner at Walloon Lake Inn, whose fine dining menu features dishes such as truffle fries, seafood risotto, braised wagyu, and steak au poivre. Afterward, visit Sweet Tooth for handmade chocolates and Moomers Homemade Ice Cream.
In Boyne Falls, Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark is a fun place to spend the day if you want to take a break from the sun. The 88,000-square-foot facility has seven waterslides, four activity pools, and more. There are even 10 restaurants to choose from after working up an appetite.
For a learning experience, head to Raven Hill Discovery Center in East Jordan. Currently only open by appointment, it’s the only location in the Northern Lower Peninsula where you can link the arts, history, and science through hands-on activities.
If you head over to Charlevoix, Fisherman’s Island State Park has more than 6 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, rolling dunes, a hiking trail, and a day-use area. You can grab a bite to eat at Grey Gables Restaurant & Catering, which serves pizza, sushi, burgers, sandwiches, and homemade desserts.
Lodging & Campgrounds in Charlevoix County
You can visit these places and more when you stay in Charlevoix County for a few days. Whether you’re looking for a Charlevoix vacation rental, hotel, or campground, there are plenty of lodging options near Walloon Lake:
Photos of Walloon Lake Area