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Exploring Lake Charlevoix: A Hidden Gem of Northern Michigan

If you’re searching for a relaxing getaway in Northern Michigan, look no further than Lake Charlevoix. Known for its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and charming towns, this hidden gem is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and relaxation seekers. From boating and fishing to hiking and biking, there’s plenty to see and do in and around Lake Charlevoix. (Click here to see all Lake Charlevoix Homes for Sale)

In this article, we’ll explore some of the top activities and attractions in the area. Whether planning a weekend trip or an extended stay, this guide will help you maximize your time exploring Lake Charlevoix.

The Beauty of Lake Charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix is one of the most beautiful and picturesque lakes in Northern Michigan. Its crystal-clear water and sandy beaches make it a popular destination for visitors looking to relax and unwind in a serene natural setting. The lake stretches for 17 miles and covers over 17,000 acres, making it one of the largest inland lakes in Michigan.

The rolling hills and forests surrounding the lake provide a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere perfect for outdoor recreation. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking at the public beaches around the lake, including Depot Beach in Charlevoix and Lake Charlevoix Beach Park in East Jordan.

Fishing is another popular activity on Lake Charlevoix, with bass, pike, and walleye being some of the most commonly caught fish. Visitors can hire a fishing guide or rent a boat to cast a line from the water.

For those who prefer to explore the lake by boat, several marinas offer boat rentals and jet ski tours. Visitors can also take a scenic boat tour around the lake to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding hills and forests.

Overall, Lake Charlevoix’s natural beauty and serene atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Northern Michigan.

Exploring Lake Charlevoix by Water

One of the best ways to explore Lake Charlevoix is by water. With its crystal-clear water and stunning natural scenery, the lake is a paradise for boaters, anglers, and water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can rent boats, jet skis, and paddleboards from the many marinas around the lake or bring their own.

Fishing is a popular activity on Lake Charlevoix, with various fish species including bass, pike, and walleye. Visitors can hire a fishing guide or cast a line from the shore or a boat.

For a more relaxed experience, consider taking a scenic boat tour around the lake. These tours offer breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and forests, as well as opportunities to see wildlife such as eagles and ospreys.

Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular on Lake Charlevoix, offering a peaceful and quiet way to explore the lake’s many coves and bays. Visitors can rent equipment from local rental companies or bring their own.

Overall, exploring Lake Charlevoix by water is an unforgettable experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the lake’s natural beauty and tranquility.

Scenic Drives Around Lake Charlevoix

Scenic drives are a great way to explore the natural beauty and charming towns around Lake Charlevoix. One of the most popular drives is the Tunnel of Trees, a winding road that runs along the shore of Lake Michigan and offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding forests. The Tunnel of Trees drive is particularly popular in the fall when the leaves on the trees turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Another popular drive is the Chain of Lakes, a series of interconnected lakes and rivers that offer scenic views and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The drive takes visitors through several charming towns, including Bellaire, Elk Rapids, and Central Lake, and offers stunning views of the water and surrounding hills.

For visitors who prefer a shorter drive, the Jordan Valley Scenic Drive is a 20-mile route that winds through the Jordan River Valley and offers scenic views of the river and surrounding forests. The drive is particularly popular in the fall when the leaves on the trees turn brilliant shades of red and gold.

Several scenic drives around Lake Charlevoix allow visitors to immerse themselves in the area’s natural beauty and explore its charming towns. Whether visitors are looking for a leisurely drive or a more adventurous route, there’s a scenic drive for everyone around Lake Charlevoix.

Outdoor Adventures in Lake Charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix and the surrounding area offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. Visitors can explore the natural beauty of the area by hiking or biking on the many trails, including the 32-mile Little Traverse Wheelway that runs from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs.

For those feeling more adventurous, several companies in the area offer zip-line tours and rock-climbing experiences. These activities provide a thrilling way to experience the area’s natural beauty and get the adrenaline pumping.

During the winter months, the area is popular for skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands are two popular ski resorts in the area that offer a variety of runs for all skill levels.

Water sports enthusiasts can also enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, and scuba diving on Lake Charlevoix. The lake’s clear waters and stunning scenery provide an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Overall, the many outdoor adventures in and around Lake Charlevoix provide visitors with an incredible opportunity to experience the area’s natural beauty and participate in the great outdoors. Whether visitors prefer a leisurely activity or a more adrenaline-filled experience, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Discovering the Towns Around Lake Charlevoix

In addition to its natural beauty, Lake Charlevoix is surrounded by charming towns that offer their own unique attractions and experiences. Visitors can discover the towns around Lake Charlevoix and enjoy the local culture, history, and cuisine.

Charlevoix is one of the most popular towns around Lake Charlevoix, known for its beautiful downtown area that features unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The town is also home to the famous Charlevoix Mushroom Houses, a collection of whimsical homes designed by architect Earl Young.

East Jordan is another charming town located on the shores of Lake Charlevoix. The town is home to the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery, which offers tours and educational programs for visitors. East Jordan also hosts the East Jordan Sno-Mobilers Winter Festival every February, which is a popular event in the area.

Other towns around Lake Charlevoix worth visiting include Boyne City, which hosts the Boyne Thunder Poker Run every summer, and Petoskey, which is known for its historic Gaslight District and offers a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities.

Overall, discovering the towns around Lake Charlevoix is an essential part of any visit to the area. Visitors can enjoy the unique charm and attractions of each town while also immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding area.

Big Race

July’s Boyne Thunder race is a popular lake event. It’s a Poker Race, so the speed isn’t important. Rather, to get a playing card, racers must visit five checkpoints. As a result, the crew with the best five-card poker hand wins.

The boats leave Boyne City in the morning, race across Lake Charlevoix, Charlevoix’s Round Lake Channel, Lake Michigan, Grand Traverse Bay, the pine river, and Little Traverse Bay, and return to Boyne City to finish in northern Michigan’s natural beauty.


Looking for sun-filled fun? Lake Charlevoix summers are perfect. Petoskey stones abound on the lake’s beaches and state park. With the lake’s size and multiple public boat launches, you can spend your time tubing, wakeboarding, water skiing, jet skiing, or just cruising around and looking at million-dollar homes.


Exploring Lake Charlevoix for fishing spots while boating is a fun thing to do. Moreover, this lake and Charlevoix County are great places to take the whole family fishing. For example, check out the nearby Jordan River, too. Walleye, Yellow Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Rock Bass, Catfish, Crappie, and more live in the lake.


Lake Charlevoix’s home to some famous shipwrecks, too. Some of them include the wrecks of the Gordon, Beaver Queen, Onekama, and Jennie Mullen boats in the early 1900s and 1910s, the 1920s shipwreck of the Keuka, and the Avery and “Pottowatmee” with the dates of their sinking still unknown. Moreover, You can even see the wreckage of an unidentified ship at the northern point of Oyster Bay on Google maps.

If you’re coming to northern Michigan, exploring the beautiful blue waters of Lake Charlevoix is a must. Earl Young has left his mark in the area, and the natural preserves and beauty are must-sees.

Lake Charlevoix’s top-notch beaches

Some of the greatest beaches on the Great Lakes may be found in Charlevoix, Michigan. Charlevoix offers a lot of beaches and easy access to boat launches on these lovely freshwater lakes because it’s situated on the coasts of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan.

Most public beaches in Charlevoix are pet-friendly and free to use. Two state parks are also close to the city; admission may be subject to restrictions. You may pick your preferred beach in Charlevoix, from kid-friendly areas with snack bars to remote dunes for getting away from it all.

Beaches along Lake Michigan

The South Pier Lighthouse of Charlevoix may be found here, along with other family-friendly amenities like a playground, snack bar, restrooms, paths, stand-up paddle board rentals, picnic tables, and more.

Fisherman’s Island State Park

Six miles of pristine shoreline as well as various hiking routes through woodlands and sand dunes may be found at Fisherman’s Island State Park. Moreover, numerous hiking and bike paths can be found in this state park. You can also go fishing or kayak on Lake Michigan. To enter the park, you must have a state recreation park pass.

Recreational Area at Mount McSauba

The inhabitants’ preferred beach is a remote, undeveloped dune region. This nature park offers a variety of hiking paths, a disc golf course, and excellent cross-country skiing trails, all with magnificent views of Lake Michigan.

Beaches at Lake Charlevoix

Depot Beach

The nearby old railroad depot inspired the name Depot Beach, which offers bathrooms, stand-up paddle board rentals, and a pavilion. In addition, be sure to visit the magnificent garden close to the depot!

Ferry Beach 

Because the sandy swimming area gradually gets deeper, families adore Ferry Beach. A day at the beach is enjoyable because of the playground, concession, bathrooms, picnic area, stand-up paddle board rentals, and pavilions.

Young State Park

A fantastic beach is available at this 560-acre state park, which is situated on the north arm of Lake Charlevoix between Charlevoix and Boyne City. To enter this park, you must have a state recreation park pass.

Petoskey Stone Hunting

Immerse yourself in Charlevoix’s rock-hound tradition by collecting Petoskey stones. For example, Petoskey stones, commonly fossilized coral from 350 million years ago when Michigan was under warm seas.

Over time, the continents migrated, shifting Michigan from the equator to the Great Lakes. As a result, Petoskey stones, 300 million years older than humans, include preserved colonial coral.

Petoskey stones can be found in gravel pits and roadbeds throughout the top section of the lower peninsula, but Charlevoix beaches are one of the best places to look. However, Petoskey stones can also be found at Michigan Beach, McSauba, and North Point.

Weather Affects Petoskey Stones

Choosing the perfect time to visit depends on the weather and waves. for example, windy, choppy days might send all the stones into the lake or onto the beach. In addition, Petoskey stones are found in rocky locations.

The hexagonal form of Petoskey stones makes them simpler to find. So, if you’re yards from the water, wear a raincoat. The amount of Petoskey stones you can collect is a 5-gallon bucket’s worth. Petoskey Stones can be found in Charlevoix, Petoskey, and Traverse City gift shops.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Charlevoix

  1. How big is Lake Charlevoix? 
    A. Lake Charlevoix is 17 miles long and has a surface area of over 17,000 acres.
  1. What kind of fish can you catch in Lake Charlevoix? 
    A. Bass, pike, walleye, and several other fish species can be found in Lake Charlevoix.
  1. What is the best time to visit Lake Charlevoix?
    A. Summer and fall are the best times to visit Lake Charlevoix, with warm weather and beautiful foliage.
  1. Are there any public beaches on Lake Charlevoix?
    A. There are several public beaches around the lake, including Depot Beach in Charlevoix and Lake Charlevoix Beach Park in East Jordan.


Lake Charlevoix is a hidden gem in Northern Michigan, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend on the water or an adventurous outdoor excursion, there’s plenty to explore in and around the lake. From scenic drives and water activities to charming towns and outdoor adventures, Lake Charlevoix is a must-visit destination for any Michigan traveler. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this stunningly beautiful lake!

Northern Michigan Escapes – Your Northern Michigan Tour Guide

Ready to explore Lake Charlevoix and other hidden gems in Northern Michigan? Contact Northern Michigan Escapes today for all of Lake Charlevoix your real estate, property management, and vacation rental needs.