Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties host a wide variety of protected areas and habitats that attract a large number of Michigan’s over 400 bird species. Whether it is a pair of nesting, federally endangered Piping Plovers, a Snowy Owl visiting for the winter, or the many warblers and waterfowl that pass through the area on their way to and from their breeding grounds, the tip of the Northwest Lower Peninsula offers exciting birding opportunities. Local parks, nature preserves, and natural areas make prime birding locations easily accessible and also highlight local conservation efforts. Click here for more information about the Sunset Coast Birding Trail trails.
Fisherman's Island Park
- Located just a few miles south of the City of Charlevoix, Fisherman's Island State Park is not actually just an island, but a 2,678-acre park with five miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline. The park encompasses a tiny island, Fisherman's Island, currently connected to the mainland, due to low lake levels.
North Point Nature Preserve
- Winding through a diverse 27-acre dune and wooded area, the trails at North Point offer opportunities to enjoy forest, open and wooded dunes, and 2,800 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline. The trails provide access to the beach and wooded back dunes.
Charles A. Ransom Nature Preserve
- A mix of open fields and northern Michigan hardwoods, commanding one of the most spectacular views in northern Michigan, the Ransom Preserve is well worth a visit. From its highest elevation of 320 feet above Lake Michigan, viewers can see much of western Charlevoix County, a broad expanse of Lake Michigan, four islands, and the distant Leelanau Peninsula on a clear day.
Young State Park
- Young State Park is located at the east end of beautiful Lake Charlevoix. The park spans over 560 acres in Charlevoix County and is a mix of gently rolling terrain, lowlands and cedar swamp. Young State Park officially opened in 1921. The park concession located at the beach was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's.
The Hill Nature Preserve
- Featuring 119 acres and a 2.5 mile trail system, this preserve includes rolling hills and views of Lake Charlevoix overlooking Boyne City. In addition to the topography of the land, The Hill Preserve includes a nice diversity of both pines and hardwoods within its boundaries. Apple trees have risen from the seeds of the old farm orchard and lilac bushes reveal the old farmstead.
- Riverside Park is a quiet undeveloped nature park with wetland areas along the shores Boyne River. A narrow walking path is kept mowed during the summer months and there are benches and/or picnic tables are provided. This park provides a great natural habitat for many species of wildlife.
- This 5-acre park is located just across the bridge from downtown East Jordan. Located at the great vantage point where Lake Charlevoix and the Jordan River meet, it is the perfect spot for viewing waterfowl and wildlife including bald eagles and osprey.
Roger's Family Homestead Nature Preserve
- A broad diversity of habitats lies along this stretch of the Jordan River ranging from mixed hardwood/ conifer swamp to upland savannahs. From these preserves, the river empties into the Jordan River spreads on the outskirts of the city of East Jordan.