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Guide To A Three-Day Weekend In Charlevoix


Looking for a getaway from the hustle and bustle of life in the city? Within driving distance of Detroit is a gem of a town, Charlevoix. Tucked away along the western coast of northern Michigan, it is just waiting to be explored. Charlevoix is an historical city known for the stunning lakes that surround it and its charming scenic atmosphere, including its infamous petunia-lined streets. Depending upon what time of year you travel, there are a host of activities, festivals and events to enjoy. Each season brings with it a different set of things to see and do including sailing, biking, skiing, hiking or exploring the waterfront and nearby lighthouse

Getting There

From Detroit, hop onto 75 North. The scenic drive will take around four and a half hours. Charlevoix is approximately 275 miles from the Detroit city limits. Stay on 75 North for almost the entire route, getting off at Exit 282 at the Gaylord/Alpena exit. Stay on M32 until you reach West Main Street, onto which you will turn left.

Related: Best Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles of Detroit

A Stop Along the Way

Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum
Saginaw Valley State University
7400 Bay Valley Road
Saginaw Road, MI 48710
(989) 964-7125  

Less than 10 minutes from Interstate 75, at exit 160, is the Marshall M. Fredricks Sculpture Museum. View over 2,000 pieces of art created by Detroit sculptor Marshall M. Fredericks. This is one of most comprehensive collections of a single artist's work in the world. This expansive exhibition includes work from the illustrious artist whose career spanned over 70 years. The museum not only houses original casts and models, but also has Fredericks' drawings, sketches, archives and photographs on display. Many of his commissioned pieces can be found in the Metro Detroit area including the Henry Ford Estate in Dearborn, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak and Belle Isle. An outdoor sculpture garden provides a breathtaking collection of 24 of his bronze masterpieces, located on the immaculately landscaped grounds of Saginaw Valley State University.

What To Do

Earl Young Home Tour
Ellair Gallery
106 Pine Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720
(231) 547-4655

Visit the homes only found in fairy tales...and Charlevoix. Unique to Charlevoix are the stone structures created from the imagination of architect Earl Young. Using boulders native to the area - remnants from a glacier - these homes resemble tiny mushrooms. Young's whimsical designs can be found throughout Charlevoix with weekly tours given by Ellair Gallery. The Earl Young Home Tour can be enjoyed as a walking tour or as a trolley tour. Either option will be a delight.

Fisherman's Island State Park
16430 Bell's Bay Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720
(231) 547-6641 

Just south of Charlevoix is Fisherman's Island State Park, the prime spot for exploring the shoreline of Lake Michigan and for discovering Petoskey Stones. The distinctive stones are unique to this area; they were adopted as Michigan's state stone in 1965. The stones are petrified coral, created during the Devonian Period, over 350 million years ago. Searching for stones is an unusual activity that will bring enjoyment and years of memories of time spent together on the rocky banks.

Castle Farms
5052 M-66 N.
North Charlevoix, MI 49720
(231) 237-0884  

This 35-acre estate features a Renaissance-inspired stone castle. The grounds are filled with things to see and do. Visitors can play a life-size game of chess, feed the rainbow trout that reside in the pond or view the garden railway model train exhibit that has over 1,600 feet of track. The castle also houses a collection of antique toys and memorabilia from across the globe. Embark upon a self-guided tour and partake in a scavenger hunt, play hide-and-seek in the enchanted forest or stroll about one of the many beautiful courtyards.

Related: Best Campgrounds In Southern Michigan

Keweenaw Excursions
109 Bridge Park Drive
Charlevoix, MI 49720
(231) 237-9365 

For a distinct evening experience, Keweenaw Excursions conducts nightly sunset cruises through October. Fireworks excursions are available during festivals and special events throughout the summer months. The tour lasts two hours, as the boat glides atop Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. Patrons venture under the Charlevoix Drawbridge, garnering a truly unique vantage point. You also have the opportunity to witness the remarkable sunset on the water and to gaze overhead as stars begin filling the night sky.

Where to Stay

MacDougall House Bed & Breakfast
109 Petoskey Ave.
Charlevoix, MI 49720
(231) 547-5788

To really take advantage of the charm of Charlevoix, consider staying at one of the bed and breakfasts in town. The MacDougall House Bed & Breakfast offers guests relaxation and tranquility within walking distance of many of the activities Charlevoix has to offer. The Victorian home, constructed in 1896, awakens the senses with a stunning garden filled with a colorful array of flowers in full bloom. The guest rooms each have a private bath. Every morning starts with a full breakfast of Scottish and American homemade specialties.

Inn At Bay Harbor
3600 Village Harbor Drive
Petoskey, MI 49770
(231) 439-4000  

Superior in standards and appointments, this Victorian-inspired lakeside resort offers guests remarkable views, unparalleled service and luxury accommodations. Salon and spa services, yoga, equine journeys and golfing are available on the property. Concierge service is available prior to and throughout your stay. Inn at Bay Harbor is located within minutes of downtown Charlevoix.

Where To Eat 

Roquette Burger Bistro
103 Park Ave.
Charlevoix, MI 49720
(231) 237-9016

This is the best little burger joint in the state - maybe in the Midwest. It makes many items in-house, grows some of its own food and tries to keep the menu local and grass-fed. There are games to play while you wait and you most likely will wait; it will be worthwhile after you take your first bite into the bacon jam burger. Quaint outdoor seating is available. This bistro is mainly a lunch spot but it is also open on certain evenings.

101 Antrim St.
Charlevoix, MI 49720
(231) 547-2799 

Terry's casual fine-dining restaurant features French continental cuisine. It is lauded for its fresh ingredients and innovative yet subtle assemblage of flavors. The menu is widely known for its fresh, locally caught fish prepared to perfection, although the steak, duck and lamb are impressive as well. The service is superb and the ambiance is comfortably upscale. An extensive wine list is available.

After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at and

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