Lake Effect

Water Water Everywhere

Surrounded by three large fresh water lakes and many small inland lakes, Charlevoix offers visitors an abundance of lake effect options. If you are looking for outdoor recreation, boating or just a leisure walk on the beach, you are sure to find your perfect lake vacation in Charlevoix. Rest up after your adventures at one of our many accommodations options.


Lake Michigan Beaches

Michigan Beach- Here you will find Charlevoix's South Pier Lighthouse as well as a myriad of family must haves: playground, snack shack, restrooms, pavilion and much more. Be sure to rent stand up paddle board at this beach! 

Fisherman's Island State Park- Fisherman's Island State Park offers six miles of unspoiled shoreline and numerous hiking trails through forests and sand dunes.

Mt McSauba Recreational Area- Remote and rustic beach and dune area. This beach is a favorite for locals and it's also a great place to bring your four legged friends.

Rex Beach & Antrim Creek Natural Area- This mile-long Lake Michigan beach just west of Atwood lies at the end of Rex Beach Road and down a two-track. Walk south along the beach to find where Antrim Creek spills into the big lake. 

Lake Charlevoix Beaches

Depot Beach- Named Depot Beach for the adjacent historic train depot, this beach features restrooms, playground equipment, stand up paddle board rentals, and a pavilion. Make sure to see the incredible garden located behind the depot.   

Ferry Beach- Families love Ferry Beach as the sandy swimming area gradually deepens. Playground, concession restrooms, stand up paddle board rentals, picnic areas and pavilions make a day in the sun easy!

Young State Park- This 560 acre state park located on the north arm of Lake Charlevoix between Charlevoix and Boyne City offers a great beach and camp facilities. 

Petoskey Stone Hunting

Immerse yourself into the Charlevoix rock hound culture by finding some Petoskey stones. Petoskey stones are actually fossilized coral from over 350 million years ago during the Devonian period when Michigan was covered by warm sea water. Over time the continents shifted from then, Michigan being near the equator to where Michigan now lies in the middle of the fresh water Great Lakes. When you find a Petoskey stone you hold in your hand a fossil of colonial coral which predates humans by about 300 million years.

The Charlevoix area beaches are touted as one of the best places to look for them, though they are found across the entire top third of the lower peninsula in gravel pits and road beds. Look for Petoskey stones at Fisherman's Island State Park, Michigan Beach, McSauba Recreation Area/North Point Nature Preserve.

Choosing a time to go is important because the stones shift with the weather and waves. On windy wavy days the stones may all wash out into the lake or may wash into the shore and litter the beach. Where there are numerous rocks you can usually find Petoskeys. They are easiest to find when wet so the hexagonal pattern is visible. Don't discount going out in your rain coat when it's possible to find them yards away from the water. Remember, each person is limited to a 5 gallon bucket of Petoskey stones to take with you.

Part of the fun is hunting for your own Petoskey Stones, but they are generally for sale at many gift shops in the Charlevoix, Petoskey and Traverse City areas.




Water, Water everywhere! Charlevoix is centrally located to Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake, Lake Michigan and many inland lakes. These beautiful lakes offers fisherman over 100 different fish species to catch. With many boat launches in the area, fisherman will no problem accessing any of these waterways. Leaving your boat behind? The Pine River Channel provides easy access to on shore fishing as well. If in need of charter fishing, Ward Brothers Charter Boats and Whitecap Charters are excellent options. Exploring Charlevoix’s natural waterways are a must for fisherman! Visit our fishing page for more details.   



The Charlevoix area boasts the most beautiful lakes in Michigan, if not the world. The City of Charlevoix is bordered by Lake Michigan which connects to the downtown Round Lake via the Pine River Channel. Round Lake then spills into award winning Lake Charlevoix (the second best lake in the US). There are a number of small inland lakes that are great for paddle sports and fishing. Other notable lakes within short driving distance include Walloon Lake, Torch Lake, and the Chain of Lakes. To access the water you can rent a boat or kayak, charter a sailboat, join a tour aboard a catamaran sailboat or launch your own boat. Visit the boating page for more info.