Summer vacations routinely involve beaches and visiting local stores, but what do you do when you can’t get in the water and the kids won’t tolerate following mom into another boutique? Well, Charlevoix has a great selection of parks for young and old alike! Here are some of our favorites, their amenities, and how to get there.
1. Michigan Beach Park
With the iconic Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse as a backdrop, Michigan Beach Park is an ideal place to spend the day with children. In addition to sandy beaches on the shores of Lake Michigan, the park has two playground areas; one in the sand and another playground in the lawn area. The beach playground is great for parents that want to enjoy the sun while also letting the kids do their own thing and remain within view. The lawn playground, which is ADA compliant, has a wide variety of climbing equipment, slides, and swings for ages 3-99. Michigan Beach Park is also a great place to search for Petoskey Stones along the water’s edge. If you decide to make a day of the beach, there is a covered picnic area complete with picnic tables. Don’t want to do the work of packing a lunch? Grab a bite to eat at the ByWater Cafe! The cafe is right on the beach and has a full selection of burgers, hot dogs, and pub food, along with ice cream and beverages.
2. Depot Beach Park
If a quiet beach with a water view is what you’re looking for, go no further than Depot Beach Park. Located by the old train depot and the Coast Guard station, this park is a great spot to let the kids burn off some energy! The park has a giant playground, set within several trees to keep it shady even on hot summer days. There is a small beach as well that looks out to Lake Charlevoix and has a slide that kids can use to splash into the water. Complete with charcoal grills for public use, restrooms, and covered picnic areas, Depot Beach Park offers a great spot to run and play that is shielded from the winds off of Lake Michigan.
3. Ferry Beach Park
Ferry Beach Park offers a fantastic location to play while also being close to the water. Set along Lake Charlevoix on the southern side of town, Ferry Beach Park has a sandy play area complete with swings, slides, and climbing playgrounds. There is a pavilion for picnicking and its sandy beach is great for toddlers. For large groups, you can reserve the pavilion by clicking here. With its proximity to the marinas, it is also a great place to watch the boats and yachts come and go throughout the day.
4. Charlevoix’s “Fountain of Youth” Splash Pad
What better way to have some summer fun than by running through the sprinklers? Check out the splash pad, which gives children a place to play while the parents watch from comfortable benches that overlook the play area and harbor. Don't forget to take the kids to the trout pond adjacent to the splash pad so they can feed the fish. In addition, its location in the heart of downtown Charlevoix makes for easy access to shops, restaurants, and ice cream galore!
5. Charlevoix Trails Network
Whether walking, biking, or running, Charlevoix has an enormous trail network for the whole family to use. Nearly every direction from town has several well-maintained trails that can put you amongst the old-growth forests or along the shorelines of Lake Michigan or Lake Charlevoix. For a list of trails, click here to request a free travel planner or visit our “Trails” page.
Charlevoix has something for everyone, including your little ones! Be sure to check out all of the free recreational activities available during your stay and make the most of what Charlevoix, Michigan has to offer.