Petoskey Area Blog

The Complete Guide to Boating Fun in Petoskey, MI

Posted on July 30, 2015

BoatingIf your idea of a perfect summer day is warm sun and a refreshing spray breaking over the bow as you glide over northern Michigan’s most beautiful lakes, well, your ship has come in. Welcome to the Petoskey Area.

Can’t you just see yourself casting off onto Lake Michigan’s spectacular Little Traverse Bay?  Along with being one of the Great Lakes’ most breathtaking spots, Little Traverse Bay is the front porch for our resort communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor.

Oh, we haven’t forgotten Boyne City. Not by a long shot. It’s nestled along the shores of Lake Charlevoix — named the runner up for “America’s Best Lake” by USA Today.

Whatever kind of watercraft you’d like, you can find it here: canoes, kayaks, power, sail, pontoon and aluminum boats are all readily available. Our marinas have just about every nautical service you can think of; and our tours, charters and ferries do all the work for you.  

Free Petoskey Area Water Sports & Activities eBook Check out the list below for more details. Then set sail for the Midwest’s best boating destination.

Marinas
 
Bay Harbor Lake Marina
Bay Harbor
231.439.2544 ~ bayharbor.com/marina
Crafts of up to 200’ are welcome and we offer docking assistance. Luxurious lodging, shopping and dining are just steps away. Reservations for Bay Harbor Lake Marina can be made online.
 
Boyne City F. Grant Moore Municipal Marina
Boyne City
231.582.0336 ~ cityofboynecity.com/marina--boat-launch-156/
Located on the east end of Lake Charlevoix (USA Today's 2012 runner up for "America's Best Lake"), with direct access to Lake Michigan 15 miles away. Everything you need is within walking distance. Boyne City boasts over 400’ of broadside shoppers' dockage and plenty of additional transient slips for any size vessel.
 
Harbor Springs Municipal Marina
Harbor Springs
231.526.5355 ~ cityofharborsprings.com/marina-45/
Located on the deepest freshwater harbor in the country, 31 seasonal slips and 46 transient slips are offered. Day-use dockage is available. Marine supplies, boat launch, and hoist. Car rental, gasoline and diesel fuel can be found nearby.
 
Irish Boat Shop
Harbor Springs
231.526.6225 ~ irishboatshop.com
Sheltered in the deepest harbor in the Great Lakes. Complimentary water, electricity, and Wi-Fi are available. Bathrooms with showers and on-site parking open to dockage customers. Stand-up paddleboard rentals at Irish Boat Shop.
 
Petoskey City Marina
Petoskey
231.347.6691 ~
petoskey.us/departments/parks-a-recreation/marina-and-boat-launch
72 slips for transient dockage May to October. Reservations may be made up to six months in advance of your arrival date via the State of Michigan Central Reservation System. There is also approximately 192' of broadside dockage for larger vessels or groups. Petoskey is a Harbor of Refuge - staff will not turn you away and will raft vessels if necessary. Shopping Dockage is available for short-term docking at no charge. Hail the marina on channel 16 for availability.
 
Walstrom Marine
Harbor Springs
231.526.2141 ~ walstrom.com
A limited number of Basin Yachting Center seasonal slips available for the summer season. Slips range from 35’-75’ in length. Amenities include parking, Wi-Fi, water, electric, premium cable, pumpout, fuel, concierge, dock carts, picnic areas, ice, security, lounge, bath house, laundry and much more.
 
Tours/Charters/Ferries
 
Beaver Island Boat Company
Charlevoix
888.446.4095 ~ 231.448.2500 ~ bibco.com
Join the crew for a safe, beautiful ride from Charlevoix to the "Emerald Isle," Beaver Island. On the island you'll see lighthouses, lakes, shops and museums. Hiking, biking, boating, scuba diving and kayaking are all offered - you can even get a guided island tour. To make reservations for a large group, please call.
 
Inland Waterway
The 38-mile waterway has been called “One of the most beautiful small boat trips in the country,” and is Michigan’s longest chain of rivers and lakes. It begins at Crooked Lake (where boat rentals are available), then runs through Crooked River, Burt Lake, Indian River, Mullett Lake, Cheboygan River, and finally out to Lake Huron.
 
Keweenaw Excursions
Charlevoix
231.237.9365 ~ keweenawexcursions.com
Keweenaw Excursions operates the 110’ 130-passenger Keweenaw Star featuring a full bar and air conditioned cabins. Sunset and sightseeing tours from the convenient location in downtown Charlevoix. Private charters are available as well. Keweenaw Excursions also features 3- to 5-day Great Lakes Cruising trips from mid-May to October. Check out the website for more details.
 
Pointer Boat
Harbor Springs
231.526.6201 ~ pointerboat.com
Originally built in 1943, this historic boat was extensively upgraded in 2014 to meet today's U.S. Coast Guard standards. Tours depart from the Pier Restaurant in downtown Harbor Springs. This tour hugs the shoreline of historic associations including Harbor Point and Wequetonsing. Tours can be catered by Stafford's with hors d'oeuvres, sandwiches and beverages. Visit pointerboat.com for tour dates and pricing.
 
Pure Mish Sailing Charters
Boyne City
231.582.2331 ~ puremish.com
Pure Mish specializes in trips that are custom designed to fit your dreams. Whether it's a day sail in the calm waters of Lake Charlevoix or a longer trip into Lake Michigan, we will match your comfort level. Overnights in Boyne City, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and more are all possible. Beautiful, secluded bays for lunch and a swim. Visit our Facebook page for pictures and sailing options aboard this beautiful 36' Catalina.
 
Riverboat Tours
Alanson
231.268.8530 ~ riverboattoursmi.com
The perfect way to experience the incredible beauty of the historical Inland Waterway with its ever-changing landscapes and scenery. You may even get a chance to see some of the abundant wildlife. Rides last approximately 1 1/2 hours and begin at 9am, 11am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm. $20 for adults, $16 for seniors, $16 for children 12 and under. Private charters available for groups of up to 24.
 
Shepler's Lighthouse Cruises
Mackinaw City
800.828.6157 ~ sheplersferry.com
Each cruise passes directly under the mighty Mackinac Bridge and is narrated by members of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. Round Island Light, Round Island Passage Light, Bois Blanc Light, Poe Reef and Fourteen Foot Shoal Lights, and Waugoshance Light are some of the lights viewed on these tours. Visit the website for trip routes, schedules and fees. Groups of 20 or more please call 800-828-6157 (US only) or 231.436.5023 or e-mail: lighthouses@sheplersferry.com. Night Sky Cruises also available!
 
Sunshine Charters
Charlevoix
231.547.0266 ~ sunshinecharters.com
Enjoy beautiful Lake Charlevoix, while taking our early, late afternoon, or sunset sails. Help raise and trim the sails or take the wheel and feel the exhilaration of steering a 40’ long, 24’ wide custom offshore sailing catamaran. The Sunshine 2 is Coast Guard inspected for blue water sailing, ensuring a safe and smooth ride on her spacious open deck. Great for groups: Private group charters for weddings and other events are available. Please visit the website or call for pricing and schedule.
 
Ward Brother Boats, Inc.
Charlevoix
231.547.2371 ~ wardbrothersboats.com
31’ Bertram boats with head that depart from Charlevoix for lake trout and Chinook salmon charters. Half-day trips are $125 per person (four person min.). Lake trout trips: 7:30am to 12 noon & 1:30pm to 6pm and salmon trips: 6am to 10:30am & 4:30pm to 9pm. In addition to fishing charters, Ward Brothers also offers rentals of bowriders and pontoons, inboard & outboard boats with seating for up to 12 people. Tube and ski rentals, too! Please call or visit the website for pricing and details. 
 
Watercraft Rentals/Lessons
 
Arts & Adventure Paddlesports at BrassWind Landing
Indian River
231.238.4843 ~ artsandadventure.com
Arts and Adventure Paddlesports offers kayak rentals and extended trips. Rentals for Sturgeon and Indian River trips as well as for Burt, Mullett and Crooked Lakes.
 
Bahnhof Sport
Petoskey
800.253.7078 ~ 231.347.2112 ~ bahnhof.com
In the summer, bicycles, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available. Bahnhof Sport also offers white water kayak and ducky rentals for the Bear River White Water Park. Bahnhof Sports is within two hundred yards of Lake Michigan.
 
Bear Cove Marina
Petoskey
231.347.1994 ~ bearcovemarina.com
A full-service marina with ski boats, pontoons and 14’ fishing boats available for rent. Serving Walloon Lake since 1958.
 
Bear River Canoe Livery
Petoskey
231.347.9038 ~ 231.838.4141
Enjoy a canoe or kayak adventure down the easy-flowing waters of the Bear River. Great for families, the Bear River allows paddlers and passengers a chance to see beaver, turtles, ducks and other wildlife. 1-, 2-, and 4-hour canoe and kayak rentals available, as well as paddleboarding. Group rates available. Please call in advance for reservations.
 
Big Bear Adventures
Indian River
231.238.8181 ~ bigbearadventures.com
With an average descent of 14 feet per mile, the Sturgeon River is the fastest river in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula! Not whitewater, but exciting and challenging. Check it out in a rented canoe, kayak, raft, tube or cat (inflatable kayak). You'll have a blast!
 
Boyne Recreational Rentals
Boyne Falls
231.549.3077 ~ boynerecreation.com
Summer fun with kayak, canoe, pontoon, fishing boat and speedboat rentals. Free delivery of recreational watercraft to any Boyne area lake you choose to navigate for the day. For those who prefer dry land, ATV rentals are available.
 
Boyne River Adventures
Boyne City
231.459.6990 ~ boyneriveradventures.com
Experience the tranquil beauty of the Boyne River - a great river for the beginner and appropriate for most age groups. Boyne River Adventures will take you to the river, launch you in the water and meet you at the end of your trip to ensure a carefree experience. Your trip also includes a great meal. Rent a kayak for a day on a local lake or choose the river experience. Bike rentals are also available.
 
Boyne Watersports
Boyne City
231.881.6000 ~ boynewatersports.com
Boyne Watersports offers ski boat, pontoon, Jet Ski, stand up paddleboards, kayaks, and fishing boat rental. Come explore Lake Charlevoix – voted BEST LAKE in America east of Lake Tahoe. There are so many places to discover including beaches, restaurants, and shopping all reachable by water.
 
Charlevoix County 4-H Youth Sailing School
Boyne City
231.582.6232
Learn to sail on beautiful Lake Charlevoix in a safe and well-supervised program. Our instructors are trained and certified by US Sailing. They also each hold American Red Cross and/or American Heart Association First Aid and CPR Certifications. Two-week classes are offered in Boyne City, and in Charlevoix for six weeks. For registration information, call 231.582.6232.
 
Crooked Lake Sailors
Oden
231.838.7775 ~ crookedlakesailors.org
Crooked Lake Sailors offers sailing lessons for youths ages 9-18, and for adults, too. Learn the fundamentals, how to rig, launch, and sail independently. Also included are nautical terms, knots and safe seamanship practices. View Crooked Lake Sailors' website for session dates and pricing.
 
Harbor Springs Paddleboard Club
Harbor Springs
231.622.9084 ~ harborspringspaddleboardclub.com
Harbor Springs Paddle Board Club is the only ASI Accredited SUP (Stand Up Paddle) School in Michigan. High-end SUP rentals are offered at Zoll Street Beach right off Bay Street; delivery to your location may be available and lessons are offered. Harbor Springs Paddle Board Club is the first company to provide LED underwater lighting systems on your paddleboard! Check out the tours available in the evening on Little Traverse Bay with the light of the moon - and your paddleboard - leading the way!
 
Jordan Valley Outfitters
East Jordan
231.536.0006 ~ jvoutfitters.com
Jordan Valley Outfitters is your Eco-Tour headquarters offering family paddling on the Jordan River and surrounding waterways. Geo-caching and Moonlight Paddle Tours are available. Equipment consists of solo or tandem kayaks.
 
Lake Michigan Yacht Sales
Bay Harbor
231.439.2675
Ski boat rentals available.
 
Little Traverse Sailors
Harbor Springs
231.412.0656 ~ LittleTraverseSailors.org
Have fun while learning to sail in the harbor during sailing classes for youths. Classes run Monday-Friday from mid-June to mid-August. Students may take the classes for as many weeks as they choose. 
 
Outfitter (The)
Harbor Springs
231.526.2621 ~ outfitterharborsprings.com
Get out on the water with hassle-free rentals (2-hour, daily or weekly). Our staff will outfit your family with kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Special events and programs are also offered including Kids' Paddle Camp and Full Moon Paddles. Open every day, The Outfitter is located in the old Lyric Theater on Main Street in Harbor Springs.
 
Ryde Marine
Alanson
231.347.8273 ~ rydemarine.com
Fishing boats, ski boats, kayaks and canoes are all available. For a fun group adventure, pontoon boats are also offered. For those willing to let the wind carry them, sunfish sailboats can be rented. Half-day, daily and weekly rates.
 
Summertime Rentals
Charlevoix
231.547.7700 ~ summertime-rentals.com
Rentals consist of Jet Skis, ski boats, tritoons, pontoons, fishing boats, water trampolines, kayaks, paddleboards, all sorts of tubes, skis, wakeboards, and more! Plus you can grab some sunscreen, sunglasses, beverages, and Lake Charlevoix apparel. Visit the website or call for details.
 
Tommy's Michigan
Walloon Lake
231.535.6039 ~ walloonvillagemarina.com
Tommy's offers stand up paddleboard rental, as well as new Bennington pontoons and Malibu ski boats for both daily and weekly rates. Please call for reservations.
 
Two Loons Lagoon
Alanson
231.548.5802
Pontoon boats for rent and a seasonal marine store. Also a seasonal take-out deli offering homemade sandwiches, salads, beer and wine. Enjoy your meal on our deck!
 
Walloon Central Power Sports
Boyne Falls
231.535.2166 ~ wallooncentral.com
Ski boats and Bennington pontoon boats are available. If you're looking for fun on beautiful Walloon Lake, Walloon Lake Central Power Sports is the place to see.
 
Windjammer Marina
Oden
231.347.6103 ~ windjammermarina.com
Pontoon boats and houseboats available for rent. Wave runners, ski boats or cuddy cabins also available. Located on the beautiful Inland Waterway, Windjammer Marina delivers to Walloon Lake, Lake Charlevoix, Burt Lake, Mullet Lake, Long Lake, Douglas Lake, and Paradise Lake with a 3-day minimum.


With all of the nautical choices in the Petoskey Area, the hardest part will be deciding which to try first. Whatever you choose, you can count on having the time of your life. 

Visit the Petoskey Area soon, and dive into a world of water sports and fun.

Free Petoskey Area Water Sports & Activities eBook

About the author
Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of 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. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.