We haven’t always been “outdoorsy” people. To be sure, Josh and I both spent a good deal of our younger years outdoors—sports for him and farm life for me—but as adults, especially since starting our family together, we’ve spent the bulk of it indoors. Last year we decided to change that.
Relearning to love the outdoors has been kind of daunting since we moved to Michigan. We had “cold” in Missouri, but nothing like the COLD we have here. Our warmer months feel much shorter, which puts the pressure on to really get out there and enjoy them…and to make it last as long as possible.
We ventured out last Autumn to discover why everyone loves the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula and discovered a whole world full of wonderful outdoorsy things to do that didn’t involve a boat or skis—those seem to be the basis of many Michiganders’ outdoor plans.
8 Delightful Opportunities to Get Outdoors Around Petoskey, MI
- Stay some place that encourages you to get outdoors. – Sure, we all enjoy relaxing in a well-appointed room, but for me traveling is all about getting out and enjoying a new place. A chain hotel rarely cuts it for me, and I’d rather stay someplace that provides me with convenient things to do. In the Petoskey area, Elvyn Lea Lodge and Boyne Highlands Resort are perfect places to stay to enjoy both the indoors and outdoors. In an area known for skiing, I was amazed at all of the “off-season” activities at or near both of these lovely places. I really loved the outdoor seating area off of our suite at Boyne during our hosted stay. It was a little chilly, but a perfect place to sit and enjoy a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy the Fall colors. And the community fire pit area with nightly smores is sure to be a hit for people of all ages.
- Go zip lining. – You know what a ski resort is great for when there’s no snow? Flying downhill through the trees. At Boyne Highlands, you get the gorgeous views on your way up the chairlift and then you get to fly through that pretty canopy as you zip line your way back down. It’s a creative way to get a look at those Fall colors! (Not that into the idea of flying through the trees? No worries, you can stick to the scenic chairlift for going both up and back down the slopes.)
- Play a round of golf. – An early morning tee time is surprisingly meditative. It felt like we’d wandered into a fantasy land when we started our round at The Heather. Fog, fall colors, and some of the best wildlife I’ve ever seen on a course. And, yes, the course itself was fantastic.
- Saddle up! – Many places offer guided trail rides and it’s a great option for those who aren’t equine savvy but want to experience the trails from horseback. Boyne Highlands offers a wonderful trail experience that’s perfect for beginners, like Josh. It was great for me, too, since I hadn’t been on a horse in years, but next time we’re up that way, I’m looking forward to trying some of the other riding options. I was pleased the number of stables, services, and equine trails available in the area.
- Hit the trails. – And if you’re not into horses, there are so many other ways to hit the trails. Hike it, bike it, or even snowshoe it if the weather is right. The trail system around Petoskey is absolutely amazing with everything from paved walking trails along the bay to less trodden hiking paths. There are lots of options for both leisurely road biking and mountain biking. I wasn’t brave enough to try it, but watching the mountain bikers come down the ski slopes was quite fun. Elvyn Lea Lodge even boasts 44 wooded acres with trails!
- Go for a drive. – Enjoy the outdoors without actually being outdoors. After a day of trail riding and zip lining, take a relaxing drive through the Tunnel of Trees. It’s beautiful in any season and many of the turns bring you to breathtaking views of Little Traverse Bay.
- Explore the many waterfronts and downtown areas. – I thoroughly enjoyed wandering through both Harbor Springs and Petoskey and checking out their shops and restaurants. Some of my favorites were Stained Cup Coffee Company, Duffy’s Garage and Grille, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, and North Perk Coffee.
- Hunt for Petoskey stones. – You didn’t think I’d leave it out, did you? I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to say you went to Petoskey and didn’t take at least a little bit of time to look for the state rock. The locals all recommended Magnus Park. Good luck, it’s not as easy as you’d think!
The fun part is that this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the ways you can enjoy the Great Outdoors in the Petoskey Area. You can plan your trip by visiting Petoskey Area Visitor Center’s website.