The Petoskey Area is a terrific place to bring kids. Little kids, middle kids, big kids – there’s fun for the whole family in our waterfront resort communities of Harbor Springs, Walloon Lake, Alanson, Petoskey, Bay Harbor and Boyne City.
But here’s the deal. Summer is flying by. Before you know it, this year’s chance to be together and create memories will have disappeared, never to return.
So right now, while you’re thinking about it (and there’s still time), make plans to take advantage of everything that makes the Petoskey Area a Michigan treasure. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
- Pond Hill Farm – Whether shooting the Squash Rocket, walking the trails, or feeding the animals, kids of any age will find something to make them smile at this fun family-owned operation. Beer and wine tastings, a farm market, and a delightful café make this an all-around family pleaser.
- Ride a Segway – Those 14 years or older can get a bit of instruction and then take a tour on special trails at Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain. It’s easy to learn and so much fun — stand up and merrily roll along.
- Inland Waterway – Explore this water trail on a pontoon boat that can accommodate up to 12 or 14 people. Take it slow and easy down the Crooked River or open it up for more excitement on Crooked or Burt Lake. Or go all the way to Lake Huron. You may spot a blue heron, turkeys or other wildlife. In Alanson, see the world’s shortest swing bridge.
- Avalanche Mountain Preserve – The kids will probably race by you on the way up – let them! Reaching the top of Avalanche Mountain Preserve is quite a feat, but so worth it when you see the view on top. Make sure to have a cell phone handy – you’ll want a family picture from the pinnacle with sparkling Lake Charlevoix in the background.
- Little Traverse Wheelway – This scenic bicycle route stretches all the way from Charlevoix through Bay Harbor, Petoskey, Bay View and into Harbor Springs. Dazzling views along the way include Little Traverse Bay. Make sure to stop for necessities like ice cream. Smaller children will do better on areas other than the M-119 stretch between Petoskey and Harbor Springs. Bike rentals (including carts for kids), and electric bikes for the less ambitious family members, are also a terrific option.
- Know Way Out - Petoskey’s Escape Room – This one’s for bragging rights – see who can best solve riddles, puzzles and clues in order to escape within an hour. It’s great interactive entertainment for kids and families (13 years and older).
- Events – There are a wide variety of festivals and events yet to happen this summer – and into fall – in the Petoskey Area. From the Bay Harbor Arts Festival to Alanson’s Riverfest, Festival on the Bay in Petoskey to the Harbor Springs Car Festival. These are but a small sampling of a fantastic lineup of family fun. If you’re trying to plan around an event, check out the Petoskey Area events page.
- Ziplining – A quick rush on the twin zip or an exciting multiline zipline adventure – whichever fits your clan’s style, you’ll find here. Family members 70 pounds or more will be thrilled on the area’s ziplines including Wildwood Rush in Boyne City, the Midwest’s largest zipline adventure park. Zipline Adventures at nearby Boyne Mountain and in Harbor Springs at Boyne Highlands will whisk you away at speeds of up to 25 mph!
- Live Music and Entertainment – All of these events cost nothing but time
- Boyne City has Evenings at the Gazebo (Wednesday) and Stroll the Streets (Fridays).
- Music on Main is held at Bay Harbor on Thursdays.
- Harbor Springs serves up music and kids fun on Thursdays during Street Musique.
- Petoskey has Concerts in the Park on Wednesdays and Fridays during the day, and Petoskey Rocks on Friday nights.
- There are also Movies in the Park – in Petoskey (Friday nights) and Alanson (Thursday nights). Bring some snacks and a blanket to snuggle on and watch a family friendly flick.
- Petoskey Stone Hunting – No fees, no lines, no special equipment required; all you need is the desire to find Michigan’s state stone and a little patience. You’ll be surprised how the time flies while strolling the water’s edge and hearing “I found one” or “Did you see any yet?” Best time to hunt? While it’s raining or shortly after. The intricate design is more easily seen when the fossilized coral is wet.
- If ten things aren’t enough to keep you busy, try a round of putt putt golf, a scenic chairlift ride or a leisurely canoe or kayak trip. Explore unique shops and boutiques, watch the fish jump as you feed them at the hatchery, tour a scrumptious smelling chocolate factory, or simply sit in one of area’s beautiful parks and while away the day with those you love.
Your kids grow up fast. Spending time with them on a northern Michigan vacation is something you’ll always be glad you did. Find the perfect place to stay and take advantage of all the Petoskey Area has to offer.
About the author
Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern 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. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.