7 Charlevoix Waterways to Explore in 7 Days

If you seek a definition of Pure Michigan Lake Effect, simply look at Charlevoix. Surrounded by three different lakes and located within minutes of other area waters, Charlevoix has a reputation as the water enthusiast’s paradise. Here you can enjoy Michigan summers at their best: water, sun, and sand. Plan a vacation (or two) using the list of our favorite bodies of water and the activities to enjoy on each.

1. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan offers unlimited access to sailing, motor boating, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving and many other fun adventures. Spend the day exploring the coastline of Charlevoix, or head over to Beaver Island for an amazing day trip. Lake Michigan beaches in the Charlevoix area provide some of the best hunting ground in the state for the elusive Petoskey Stone. Make sure to see a sunset over Lake Michigan during your visit!

Stunning sunsets are just some of the beautiful views to be found in Charlevoix

Photo Courtesy of Mark Haveman

2. Lake Charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix was voted the best lake in the eastern half of the country, via a USA Today vote, for good reason. Nestled between Charlevoix, Boyne City, and East Jordan, Lake Charlevoix guarantees a day of adventure and beauty. If you’re a thrill seeker, Lake Charlevoix is great for wakeboarding, waterskiing and tubing. Paddlers can access the lake from the many beaches that dot the shoreline. Fishing on Lake Charlevoix is diverse because of the two distinct sections. After a day in the sun, enjoy the courtesy docks at the Charlevoix, Boyne City and East Jordan marinas to grab a bite to eat.

3. Round Lake

Located between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake is a gateway between waterways. Don’t let this small lake fool you! Be sure to check out the beautiful houses located on Round Lake and see if you can spot several Earl Young buildings. Paddle through the hidden river next to the Coast Guard Station to explore the wildlife and historic homes.

The lakes and waterways around Charlevoix are a boater's paradise

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Kazmierski

4. Torch Lake

Did you know that Torch Lake is the second largest inland lake in Michigan as well as one of the most popular boating destinations? Known for its amazing turquoise blue water, this lake is a must see. Stop by the large sandbar in the southern portion of the lake and enjoy a picnic in the sun.

5. Jordan River

Spend the day tubing, rafting or kayaking down the Jordan River. At a moderate pace, the Jordan River offers great meandering views of northern Michigan’s natural beauty in a serene setting. There are rentals available for kayaks, canoes, or tubes. Make sure you wear water shoes…this river likes to steal flip flops if you tip!

Explore the pristine waterways around Charlevoix on the coast of Lake Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Alan Leese

6. Walloon Lake

Walloon Lake is a perfect mix of natural beauty and boater’s paradise. This inland lake offers boaters and sailors the perfect opportunity for both exciting adventure or leisurely travel. Looking for a great place to fish? Walloon Lake is home to perch, walleye, northern pike, trout, and small mouth bass. If you’re looking for a great paddling destination, Walloon Lake is the perfect size lake to explore.

Explore the many waterways in and around Charlevoix via speed or sailboat

Photo Courtesy of Michael Murphy IV Photography

7. Chain of Lakes (Six Mile, St. Clair, Ellsworth, Wilson, Benway, Hanley, Intermediate, Bellaire, Clam, Torch, Skegemog, Elk)

This area is a hidden gem and a popular place to go fishing! The inland grouping of lakes winds its way through East Jordan, Ellsworth and ends in Elk Rapids. Spend the day exploring the waterways and waterfront towns. When planning, make sure to check which lake connections are navigable for your choice of watercraft.

Whether you are a motor boat enthusiast, beach lover, fisherman, kayaker, standup paddle boarder, adventure seeker, a sailor, or simply looking for beautiful water views, the Charlevoix area offers amazing water voyages. For more information on getting out on the water, renting or chartering boats and paddle sport equipment, or for planning your next summer vacation go to visitcharlevoix.com.

 What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Charlevoix? Share with us by commenting below!

Explore Sun, Water and Fun in Benzie County This Summer

They say water is life and we couldn’t agree more!  With over 57 inland lakes, over 20 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 200 miles of rivers, Benzie County Michigan is a water wonderland.

Benzie County is located in the heart of Northwest Michigan’s Lower Peninsula along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and home to some of the most beautiful lakes and rivers in the state.  The sapphire waters of Crystal Lake offer recreation of all types from fishing to water skiing.  The Betsie and Platte Rivers are among the best kayaking, canoeing and tubing, or maybe a smaller lake is more to your liking, if so, we have over 50 others to choose from.

Explore Lake Michigan fishing in Benzie County

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

The Sleeping Bear Dunes, which begins in Benzie County and continues into Leelanau County, was named The Most Beautiful Place in America by the viewers of Good Morning America in 2011. The Dune climb or the Pierce Stocking scenic drive should be on everyone’s bucket list.  The park also offers many other beach and trail options along with a variety of educational programs throughout the year.

Benzie County is also known as “the Best Place in Michigan for Outdoor Sports & Recreation.” Outdoor activities cater to a wide variety of sports and recreational interests including biking, hiking, running, golf, fishing, kite boarding, surfing and more. Championship level to intermediate and beginning golfers have plenty choices at area courses which boast natural beauty and magnificent scenic views.  There are locations for renting golf clubs, bikes, kayaks and other recreational equipment, as well.

An aerial shot of the Benzie County coast

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

So after a day on the water or exploring a trail, Benzie County has great shopping and dining choices.  Many of the local dining establishments offer farm-to-table options on their menus.  If a winery, brewery or distillery is more to your liking, we have those too!  Our option of overnight lodging has something for everyone.  From our world class resort, Crystal Mountain to small mom & pop resorts, motels, cabins and homes that fit every need, you will find a great place to lay your head at the end of the day.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse stands tall

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

Explore the Benzie Treasure Trove package this summer

Photo Courtesy of the Benzie County CVB

Looking to add some value to your vacation to Benzie County?  Our 2016 Benzie Treasure Trove promotion is an excellent way to put some real bang in your vacation bucks.  Come stay two or more consecutive nights at one of our 24 participating lodging properties and we’ll load you up with “booty” valued to nearly $300 from over 20 local businesses!  The package includes freebies, two-for-ones, discounts and a prize from the Benzie County Visitors Bureau by pulling a jewel from our Treasure Chest.  Just a few of the items included are a free slice of cherry pie from the Cherry Hut, a free root beer float from the A&W, two-for-one golf at Betsie Valley Golf Courses, a free dessert with your dinner purchase at Cold Creek Inn and so much more. Details and requirements for this promotion can be found on the Benzie County Visitor Bureau’s website, www.visitbenzie.com .

For more information on visiting Benzie County, Northern Michigan Preserved®, you can call our office at 800-882-5801 or explore our website, www.visitbenzie.com and be sure to like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/benziecounty.cvb

Mary Carroll is the President of the Benzie County Visitors Bureau and Benzie County Chamber of Commerce overseeing both organizations for the past eight years.  A born and bred Michigander, Mary love her state and appreciates the fact that she gets to work in and promote one of the best area in Michigan.  

 

Two New Golf Courses Debut in Pure Michigan This Summer

Since the frenzied building of new golf courses in the 1990s, Michigan golfers have in large part been unable to contemplate new places to play. As the 2016 golf season opens, however, the Great Lakes state golfers can eagerly look forward to a pair of projects in the grow-in stages and planning debuts this summer.

Renaissance Golf Design of Traverse City has a hand in both, though Renaissance proprietor Tom Doak is involved in just one.

Doak found the perfect client in Lew Thompson, who was open to his idea of a reversible course that can be played one way one day, and another way the next, and the result is The Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon. Four other architects who work for Doak’s firm, meanwhile, teamed up with the time-tested successful Scott family at Gull Lake View Golf Club and Resort in Augusta and created the new Stoatin Brae course. It promises to be a dramatic departure from the other five courses that are part of Gull Lake View.

TheLoop

Meanwhile, golfers can get excited for not only new courses, but the new ideas behind the courses as well. The reversible golf course idea that resulted in the design of The Loop was something Doak has contemplated for years.  When Thompson showed him the property and asked for a course that would make people choose to stay and play again, Doak knew the contemplation could end.

Doak’s team, which included the lead associate for the project Brian Slawnik, as well as design associates Brian Schneider and Eric Iverson, completed the 18 holes last summer. The first reversible design in the U.S. is set to open June 27. He borrowed some ideas for the design from the links courses in the United Kingdom, including the Old Course at St. Andrews. It used to be played backwards for a few weeks each winter so that the areas where divots were concentrated would have time to heal. Garden City in New York, which he has long thought would work well in reverse, also gave him ideas.

StolenBrae

Meanwhile in southwest Michigan, the Scott family has provided a golf destination for over 50 years,  growing from one 18-hole golf course to 90 holes on five courses as well as overnight lodging, practice facilities and restaurants. Make it 108 holes with a soft opening by the end of July planned. Stoatin Brae, which means Grand Hill in Scottish Gaelic, is only the second course of the six that is not designed by the talented family and cut through the trees and hills on the area’s natural rolling land.

Iverson, Don Placek, Schneider and Slawnik, senior associates for Renaissance, collaborated, and the new course sits atop an open grassland bluff overlooking the Kalamazoo River valley. Iverson said they knew instantly it had all the elements for a great golf course. Jon Scott, a third generation of the family to own and operate Gull Lake View, said the family sees an opportunity to grow the business with customers who seek out new golf. It will play to par 71 over 6,800 yards.

What is your favorite course to play in Pure Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!