Thank you to the Inn at Bay Harbor for sponsoring this post and our stay. All opinions remain my own.
I’m continuing my summer blog series called America’s Fresh Coast, where I’ll be featuring Michigan’s best beach towns. I’ll show you where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in each destination! In our first weekend getaway, we explored the cherry capital, Traverse City!
Michigan is home to the longest freshwater coastline in the United States, so grab a Faygo and your friends, and let’s head “Up North” to our next incredible destination: Petoskey and Bay Harbor!
My family grew up camping in nearby Boyne City on Lake Charlevoix every August, and we would always take a day trip to Petoskey. It is such a fun and cute town to explore!
Petoskey, Michigan Highlights
What to Do:
1. Petoskey is home to Michigan’s state stone, The Petoskey stone! These fossilized coral are fun to search for among the rocks at the beach. The hotspot is said to be at the breakwall, but you can also look along Lake Michigan in both Petoskey and Harbor Springs.
2. Explore Historic Downtown
Named the gaslight district, downtown Petoskey is full of fun shops, restaurants, coffee spots, and window shopping. Not only that, but it is so clean, beautiful, and the streets are lined with gorgeous flowers and landscaping throughout Spring and Summer. There’s a large park in downtown with old train tracks that run right through it (but are safe to play around!) In the summertime, this park is a perfect spot to run around, enjoy a picnic, take a break from shopping, or take in a concert.
Canan woke up bright and early to hit the links during our weekend in Petoskey and loved playing Crooked Tree! The course is beautiful and overlooks Lake Michigan and the bluffs from several angles.
4. Brewery and Winery Tour
The Petoskey area is full of Michigan breweries and wineries. Check out Beards Brewery right downtown or follow along with the wine trail for spots to drive to not far away.
5. Explore nearby Harbor Springs
This adorable town is just a few miles around the bay from Petoskey and worth the trip for its shopping, marina, historic houses, and restaurants. We spent the majority of our time at the resort but would love to come back again to explore more of Harbor Springs!
6. Tour Hemingway’s landmarks
Ernest Hemingway grew up spending summers in Michigan and there are many local spots you can check out to follow along with his favorite spots that inspired his writing! Look for the landmarks around town and even head out to Walloon Lake.
7. Walk the Pier
The pier at Bayfront Park is a fun walk after a day at the beach. It is a narrow pier, so it isn’t suitable for strollers, but the photo opps and views are worth it!
Where to Eat in Petoskey:
1. Knot Just a Bar is in Bay Harbor, right along the marina. It’s a casual nautical bar and restaurant with pub food and outdoor seating. I would definitely recommend it for a family or going out for dinner and drinks in a group! If you’re staying at the Inn at Bay Harbor, its a very short and beautiful walk along the water to get here. (Time it to walk back as the sun is setting for a spectacular view along the water.) PS. The nachos are HUGE!
Backlot is so much fun! Right downtown, this food truck park has something for everyone. Happy’s tacos, pizza, bbq, a full bar, and more! There’s tons of adirondack chairs and picnic tables, as well as outdoor heat lamps for cooler nights. We were so obsessed with Happy’s tacos when we visited Traverse City, we knew we had to come for them in Petoskey as well!
3. City Park Grill
This is a great spot for families and large groups! Also one of the spots on Hemingway’s tour.
4. American Spoon Foods
This place is a perfect stop after dinner for gelato! It is on the main drag downtown and right next to the park, so if its busy, head out to grab a seat on the lawn.
Chandler’s is our favorite restaurant in Petoskey, but not great for young kids. If you’re on a romantic getaway or couples weekend, definitely come here! TIP: Ask for a table in the wine cellar.
6. Cabana Bar at Inn at Bay Harbor
Best. Bloody. Mary. of. My. Life.
Where to Stay: Inn at Bay Harbor
If you’re staying in the Bay Harbor and Petoskey area, I would recommend booking your stay at the Inn at Bay Harbor! Not only is this luxury resort and spa part of the Marriott brand, they are also celebrating 20 years! We were blown away by our entire stay, the thoughtful details, and all the family friendly amenities. We left knowing we will definitely make this a family tradition of our own.
The property is incredibly large, but feels accessible and is easy to get around. We stayed in a master suite that had a balcony, fireplace, living room, and kitchen. It also had a murphy bed and living room couch that pulled out into a sleeper sofa, so it was the perfect set up for a family. Leo loved having his own big bed! We arrived to find milk and cookies welcoming us in our room! The thoughtful detail for Leo was so sweet. Also, those were the best chocolate chip cookies we’ve ever had!
The heated pool and hot tub were perfect for lounging during the day and we loved that there was a 2 ft shallow end that Leo could play in while we watched. The expansive lawn had tons of yard games like croquet, bocce ball, and chess. At night, there was even someone teaching you how to fly fish! How cool is that?! We loved hanging out watching the sunset while we roasted smores by the firepit. The cabana bar was delicious for poolside drinks and snacks (get the bloody mary!) We didn’t try either during this stay, but they also offer bikes to explore the paths around Bay Harbor as well as afternoon tea inside.
Why Inn at Bay Harbor is Ideal for Families
Family trips are so fun but sometimes tiring. Canan and I try to give each other a little break for alone time and relaxing. Since Canan played golf Saturday morning, I headed to the spa Sunday morning to indulge in the Petoskey Hot Stone Massage. The hot stone massage is a signature service and uses real Petoskey stones, Michigan’s state stone. The spa was so tranquil and relaxing. Erin was my masseuse, and I can’t recommend her enough! She worked on the knots in my neck and shoulders from nursing and even helped work in aloe on my sunburned legs from the pool the day before.
The optional honey glaze wrap felt amazing and added a smoothness to my skin that rivals my two month old! The Petoskey hot stone massage is more popular in the cooler months and winter after a day of skiing on the slopes, but will feel amazing year round.
We had such an incredible weekend and are already dreaming of when we can come back. I love showing my boys what a Michigan summer is like and creating new memories as a family of our own.
Have you been to Petoskey and Bay Harbor? What are your favorite spots? I’d love to hear!
Looking to visit in the off season? Check out my winter travel guide to the Inn at Bay Harbor!