In the heart of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula lies a region where sparkling clear lakes mirror the endless skies, and lush forests beckon adventurers with the promise of hidden wonders. Imagine winding roads leading through quaint towns, each corner revealing a new vista waiting to be explored.

Things to Do and See

When it comes to activities, the Northwest Lower Peninsula has something for everyone. From hiking the sandy trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes to exploring the historic Gaslight District in Petoskey, there is no shortage of adventures to embark on.

Emerald Vale Golf CourseOver 80 Golf Courses to Choose From

Northwest Michigan offers some of the best public courses in the state. You will find challenging courses in every corner of the region. Be sure to visit Golf Up North to find your Northern Michigan golf course.

Hop on a Car Ferry to Beaver Island

For a one-of-a-kind experience, consider visiting the serene Beaver Island, where you can immerse yourself in the island’s rich history and unspoiled landscapes. The Beaver Island Boat Company will ferry you and your car between Charlevoix and the island.

On to the Petoskey Area

Head further north and stop by Pond Hill Farm just north of Harbor Springs that offers something for the entire family. A farm market, café, winery and more. Make sure to stop by the Bear River Valley Recreation Area for walking trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

Lighthouses, Dunes, and Fishtown

Sleeping Bear Dunes on a stormy dayIn Benzie County make sure to visit Point Betsie Lighthouse that offers views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area. Continue down M22 where the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore awaits. While the towering dunes are well-known, the park conceals quiet trails leading to secluded beaches and overlooks. Escape the crowds and find your own slice of paradise amidst the rolling dunes and pristine shores.

Explore the charming coastal Village of Leland, where the historic Fishtown docks stand as a testament to the area’s maritime heritage. Amidst the weathered fishing shanties, boutique shops, and local eateries, Fishtown invites you to step back in time. Take a leisurely stroll along the docks, breathing in the scent of the freshwater breeze, and you will feel like you have stepped into a living postcard.

Visit a Real U.S. Coast Guard Ship

Then head south and visit the S.S. City of Milwaukee/USCGC Acadia. The historic ship and museum is a must see. For a taste of tranquility, head to the Arcadia Dunes, a nature preserve often overshadowed by more famous parks. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy protects this hidden gem, offering miles of hiking trails that wind through dunes, forests, and meadows. As you reach the overlooks, the panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding landscape will leave you breathless.

Dinner at BubbasYou Will Not Go Hungry!

Northwest Lower Peninsula boasts a vibrant culinary scene with a diverse array of restaurants that showcase the region’s rich agricultural offerings and proximity to the Great Lakes. From Traverse City to Petoskey, charming eateries dot the landscape, offering a mix of farm-to-table experiences, waterfront dining, and innovative cuisine.

Traverse City’s thriving food scene. Traverse City has captured the attention of food critics and aficionados with its diverse culinary scene. The area food culture emphasizes local ingredients, and many restaurants boast a farm to table menu.

The abundance of fresh seafood from the Great Lakes contributes to the delectable menus, providing locals and visitors with a taste of the region’s natural bounty. Whether indulging in lakeside views or savoring locally sourced ingredients, dining in Northwest Michigan is a delightful journey through the flavors of the area.

Fall Season Up North is Magical

Fall color in Northwest MichiganConsider visiting during the fall season when the vibrant colors of the foliage create a breathtaking tapestry across the landscape. You may have heard of the Tunnel of Trees drive from Harbor Springs to Cross Village with a stop at the historic Leg’s Inn. Do not forget about Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at Sleeping Bear Dunes that offers spectacular color and views. Just about anywhere in Northwest Michigan will not disappoint if you are looking for vistas of colors.

As you plan your trip to Michigan’s Northwest Lower Peninsula, keep in mind that the real magic of this region lies in its unspoiled nature and hidden treasures. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or a history buff, this area has something special in store for you.

Northwest Michigan Year Round

Although the tourist season is typically the warmer months, you should visit during the off season at least once. The area transforms and you discover new and exciting things to do that are not available in the summer months. Snow skiing, cross country, and snowshoe trails, snowmobiling or snuggling up with a glass of local wine around a bonfire. Discover the scent of cherry and apple blossoms throughout the region and watch the area come alive in spring. Northern Michigan is so much more than the lakes and beaches.

Michigan’s Northwest Lower Peninsula is a place where adventure meets serenity, and where every twist and turn reveals a new delight. So why not pack your bags and set off on a journey to uncover the countless wonders that await you in this captivating corner of the Great Lakes State?