Stafford's Blog

102 Things To Do In Northern Michigan

Posted on September 28th, 2017

Alanson Area

1.  Feed the fish in our pond, explore and hike our 20 acres, splash in our pool, relax in our hot tub or kick back next to our indoor fireplace or outdoor fire pit at Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge & Suites.

2. Visit the Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center in Oden on US-31.236a4916

3. Head to Indian River and visit the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods and museum (

4. The Hillside Gardens in downtown Alanson are planted by local volunteers and are free to visit year round.

5. Kayak or tube the Sturgeon River at Big Bear Adventures.

6. Take a walk on Sanctuary Island. Enjoy the hand cranked ferry and beautiful views of the Crooked River (seasonal).

7. Explore the Crooked River with a cruise on the Alanson River Boat Tours. 

8. Visit the Historic Inland Waterway Museum downtown.

9. Rent a boat and cruise the famed Inland Waterway, connecting you to a chain of lakes and rivers.

10. Alanson is home to the world’s shortest swing bridge. Walk or drive over it, or boat underneath it.

11. Catch a sunrise over the Crooked River. 

Boyne City

12. Boyne City offers shops and restaurants all year long.

13. Stroll the Boyne City marina. maple-river

14. Soar high with Wildwood Rush Zipline Canopy Tours, open mid-May through October.


15. Dine indoors or out at Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant in the Earl Young inspired building. 

16. Visit the downtown Farmers Market Thursday mornings into early fall (

17. Paved sidewalks on both sides of the Pine River in Charlevoix make for a scenic and relaxing walk to Lake Michigan.

18. Stroll the Charlevoix marina. 

19. Take a tour of Earl Young’s Mushroom Houses (

20. Play life-size chess on Castle Farms giant chessboard or take a guided tour of the grounds.

21. Friske Orchards has fresh fruit, produce and a petting zoo!

22. East Park features a ‘Fountain of Youth’ and has spectacular harbor views. 

23. Set sail with a private or group tour by Sunshine Charters.

Harbor Springs

24. Wine & dine at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, indoors or out! wv-employee-suzie

25. Enjoy a chair lift ride or zip line adventure at Boyne Highlands.

26. Hop in your car and take a tour to Cross Village through the Tunnel of Trees.

27. Stock your picnic basket with fresh produce from the Farmers Market, every Saturday morning on main street in the summer and early fall. 

28. Browse through the Andrew Blackbird Museum.

29. Visit Boyer Glass Works for one-of-a-kind items.

30. Peruse the Harbor Springs History Museum in downtown Harbor Springs (

31. Sweet tooth? Tom’s Mom’s Cookies in Harbor Springs is a great treat.

32. Connect with nature during a visit to Deer Park. 

33. Stroll the Harbor Springs marina.

34. For an adventure, sky dive with Sky Dive Harbor Springs.

35. Take a ride on the historic Pointer Boat. Call 231-881-8048 for reservations.

36. Visit Pond Hill Farms for fresh produce and sample their wines in the tasting room. fall-chairs-hs-bluff

37. Take the family to play a few frames of bowling at Northern Lights Recreation.

38. Go horseback riding! Take a one or two hour adventure through groomed trails at Boyne Highlands.

39. Catch a movies downtown at the Lyric Theater. 

40. Enjoy a famous Awesome Coffee at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant.

41. Pond Hill Farm hosts fall festivals throughout the season.

Mackinaw City / Mackinac Island

42. Enjoy the Straits of Mackinac with a lighthouse cruise on Shepler’s Ferry. 

43. Take a day trip to Mackinac Island.

44. Drive over the world’s 6th longest suspension bridge, Mackinac Bridge!

45. Visit the historic sites Colonial Michilimackinac and Mill Creek (

46. Tour the U.S.C.G.C. Icebreaker Mackinaw (

47. The Headlands is an International Dark Sky Park and the perfect place to watch the night sky (

48. Explore Wilderness State Park ( 

49. Sturgeon Bay is a local favorite and known for its sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, north of Harbor Springs.

Petoskey Areaphoto

50. Take a walking tour of historic architecture in Petoskey. 

51. Grab a drink in the Noggin Room Pub, complete an around the world tour of over 30 brews and add your name to the “Hall of Foam.”

52. Hike the picturesque sand dunes at Petoskey State Park. 

53. Voted Northern Michigan’s Best Brunch, Stafford’s Bay View Inn serves brunch every Sunday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm (May – October).

54. Browse the boutique shops of the Historic Gaslight District.

55. The Little Traverse Historical Museum features Hemingway artifacts, train memorabilia and other facts from the past (

56. Try your luck at Odawa Casino.

57. Gather local produce at the Downtown Petoskey Farmers Market Friday mornings from June 16 to September 29 (

58. Walk through the winding community of Bay View and enjoy the gingerbread Victorian cottages. Concerts are held throughout the summer (

59. Enjoy the ever changing exhibits and performances at Crooked Tree Arts Center (

60. Play outdoor putt-putt golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure. dsc_4099

61. Great American Adventures offers go karts, driving range, water wars, miniature golf and batting cages.

62. Petoskey is home to Kilwin’s quality confections – take a delicious treat or tour the kitchen. 

63. Pick up some new reading material at the award winning McLean & Eakin Booksellers in downtown.

64. Canoe, kayak or stroll the Bear River Recreation Area. 

65. Take home some jam & sauce from American Spoon Foods. Petoskey is where the company was founded.

66. Stroll the Petoskey marina and waterfront park area.

67. Enjoy breakfast or lunch on the Lewis Street Porch or H.O. Rose Dining Room at Stafford’s Perry Hotel.

68. Stop by Symon’s General Store for gourmet treats. 

69. Sample oils and vinegars from Fustini’s downtown Petoskey.

70. Catch a flick at the Petoskey Cinema.

71. Visit Lavender Hill Farm, just a few miles south west of town.

72. Peruse collections of Michigan art & history at Stafford’s Art Gallery, behind Stafford’s Perry Hotel (

73. Relax on the front porch of Stafford’s Bay View Inn or Stafford’s Perry Hotel on our comfortable wicker furniture or take in the views from our gardens in the adirondack chairs.

74. Stroll the Petoskey Breakwall. 

75. Visit  a northern Michigan brewery. Beards Brewery located in downtown Petoskey, Petoskey Brewing Co. located on M-119 or Tunnel Vision Brewery at Pond Hill Farm.

76. Enjoy live entertainment at the Noggin Room Pub Friday & Saturday evenings.14993370_10154690547843844_625562954781275846_n

77. Enjoy a treat at Maple Moon Family Sugary.

78. Improve your golf game at Shot Maker’s Indoor Golf Center.

79. Play a game of croquet on the lawn at Stafford’s Bay View Inn.

80. Take the little ones and spend some time at Busy Bodies Bounce Town.

81. Red Sky Stage is a coffee house style performing arts venue in downtown Petoskey (

82. Sign up for an hour of interactive entertainment at Know Way Out – Petoskey’s Escape Room!

83. Sturgeon River Pottery offers a great selection of homemade pottery and gifts, and they make it right in the store.

84. Camp Petosega is a 300 acre forested camp ground on Pickerel Lake offering free access to beach, trails & playgrounds (

85. Walk through the unique village at Bay Harbor.

Walloon Village

86. Whirl around on roller skates at Pied Piper Skatery. 

87. Spend some time on the beach and enjoy the nearby playground, too. weekend-getaway

Northern Michigan

88. Bicycle along the shore of Little Traverse Bay on the Little Traverse Wheelway, a 26 mile paved bike trail from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix (

89. Bike or stroll along the North Western State Trail from M-119 in Petoskey to downtown Mackinaw City (

90. Sit back, relax and take in the views of beautiful northern Michigan.

91. Pamper yourself at one of the areas renowned spas.

92. Try Stafford’s Oak Planked Whitefish – our specialty since 1961!

93. Experience exceptional northern Michigan wines along the Bay View Wine Trail (

94. Take a hike! Little Traverse Conservancy offers more than 172 nature preserves across northern Michigan (

95. Skip stones on the shores of Little Traverse Bay. 10955600_10153680435203844_1282052616325069039_o

96. Fish on! Whether you want to fly fish, hire a charter or toss a line from the dock, get out and spend some time on our Great Lakes.

97. Golf at one of the areas numerous world class courses.

98. Watch local performances! Catch a concert by the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra ( or at the Harbor Springs Performing Arts Center (

99. Go antiquing at one of the many shops in the area.

100. Visit one of the area’s signature fudge shops.

101. Search for Petoskey stones along the shorelines.

102.  Petoskey is known as the “Land of the Million Dollar Sunsets.” Stop by Sunset Park or stroll the beach to watch the sun slowly fade into the water.