We get this question a lot: what’s in Charlevoix (not to be confused with our Canadian friends in Charlevoix Quebec)? The simple answer is that there are a lot of great things to do in our charming town. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, beachgoer, leisure traveler, or something else entirely, Charlevoix has something just for you.
This one is a visitor favorite! Earl Young’s mushroom houses are iconic because they feature one-of-a-kind designs, whimsical rooflines, and amazing doors, windows, fireplaces, and chimneys. Whether you choose to take a guided tour with Mushroom House Tours or do a self-guided tour, these unique buildings are a must-see.
Step back in time and explore the historic wonder of a castle designed in the renaissance style. Today, Castle Farms has lovingly been restored to its former glory. Today it serves as a wedding venue and historical tour destination that is open to the public. With magical gardens, Michigan’s largest model train collection, and a wide variety of historic memorabilia, we highly encourage you to explore this gorgeous charmer.
We love our downtown! Not only is our downtown walkable, but it’s also situated on Round Lake, features beautiful parks, and has ample stores and restaurants. During the summer months, our drawbridge goes up on the hour and half hour. Watching boats go through the bridge is a visitor favorite! Downtown stores offer unique items such a one of a kind artwork, boutiques, specialty food products and so much more. After visiting the stores, explore all of Charlevoix’s dining options. We highly recommend you try locally caught whitefish. It’s delicious!
Charlevoix has many trails just waiting to be explored! Experience Fisherman’s Island State Park with its windswept beaches and endless trails, stop by Mt. McSauba for a trail system that’s close to town, or the Susan Creek Nature Preserve is an easy one-mile loop. If you are a runner or biker, set course for the Little Traverse Wheelway. This 26-mile long path is a favorite of ours and you can go as far as you like! Even if you don’t have the equipment you are looking for, area vendors have a great selection of equipment available for rent.
There is something truly spectacular about the changing of the leaves. We love the vibrant display of fall colors and it’s the perfect time of year to explore the winding roads in Charlevoix’s countryside. Stop by the local orchards for u-pick apples, wander through a corn maze, or find the perfect carving pumpkin.
We want to take a moment to dispel any rumors that we are closed in the winter. Our restaurants, stores, and hotels are open every season! We love winter because we can cross country ski, snowshoe, and fat-tire bike. The family-friendly Mt McSauba is a favorite for beginner downhill skiers, and the larger ski hills are a quick drive from Charlevoix.
Petoskey and Charlevoix Stones
Did you know that the Petoskey stone is Michigan’s state stone? If not, you’ve learned something new today :) Charlevoix is one of the best places to find these unique pieces of fossilized coral. Charlevoix stones named for our lovely city, are also easy to find for the observant eye.
Life is always better at the beach. Lucky for you, living the lake life is a breeze in Charlevoix. Whether you prefer windswept and wild, sandcastle building, or the uninhabited, Charlevoix-area beaches and waterways, by far, are the best. Surrounded by large freshwater lakes and many small inland lakes, Charlevoix offers visitors an abundance of lake options. If you are looking for outdoor recreation, boating, kayaking, or just a leisurely walk on the beach, you are sure to find your perfect lake vacation in Charlevoix.
Michigan has amazing craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Located in Northern Michigan, you will find Shorts Brewery, Bier’s Inwood Brewery, Burnt Marshmallow Brewery, and so many more. There’s also a great variety of wineries including Charlevoix Moon Winery (available at the weekly farmers market), 1918 Cellars at Castle Farms, Spare Key Winery, and Rudbeckia. New this year, Long Roads Distilling is opening a new tasting room in downtown Charlevoix. Other distilleries in close proximity include Mammoth, Ethanology, and High Five Spirits. There are lots of tasty options available to you!
A large pie plate
Charlevoix was once the world record holder for the world’s largest cherry pie. You read that right dear reader, largest cherry pie. You can see the evidence of Charlevoix's ingenuity in a rather large pie plate. We may have lost the record for largest, but we still believe our cherry pie was the best! It also makes for a fun family photo op.