10 Perfect Picnic Spots in Northern Michigan

Is there anything better than a crusty baguette, fresh cherries and a good view? We don’t think so. Spread out a blanket and enjoy these picnic spots in Northern Michigan!


Peterson Park, Northport
This park has the family stamp of approval. Playground equipment, grills, picnic tables, a volleyball area and 1,000 feet of beach for a post-picnic swim.

Grand Traverse Commons, Traverse City
Specifically the front lawn for views of the towering state hospital. Find picnic treats inside at the Underground Cheesecake Factory, Michigan Farm Market and Cuppa Joe. Or, skip packing a picnic entirely and grab your meal to-go from Pleasanton Bakery or Spanglish.

Magoon Creek, Manistee
A little off the beaten path, you’ll find a pet-friendly beach, hiking trail, restrooms, covered pavilions and plenty of picnic tables perched on a 150-foot bluff.

Point Betsie Light, Frankfort
There’s a reason the Point Betsie Light is one of America’s most photographed lighthouses. After lunch, head inside for a tour and a chance to go up the tower. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $2 for children (ages 6–11). Check the lighthouse hours before you go. 

Windermere Point, Mackinac Island
Watch the ferries whiz by while you chow down on your picnic goodies. Bonus: Great Turtle Toys often flies kites here on nice days (and they might even let you try one out!). Grab a hot dog or ice cream at the Doghouse restaurant if you need a little something extra.

Picnic Mountain, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
Well, the name says it all, but if you need more convincing, there are plenty of picnic tables, grills, shade trees and you can walk to the Dune Overlook, which is stunning.

Thorne Swift Preserve, Harbor Springs
Make it a day trip. Hike the trails, check out the Elizabeth Kennedy Nature Center, picnic at the pavilion and then head down to the beach.

Antrim Creek Natural Area, Atwood
The natural area offers a trail system, beach access and bathroom facilities. Bring watershoes—the beach is a rocky, but the views are so worth it!

Elk Rapids Day Park, Elk Rapids
After lunch, check out the Walk of Art Sculpture Park featuring up to 30 works of art along wooded trails. Picnic tables, grills, pavilion and restrooms available.

Mt. McSauba Recreational Area, Charlevoix
In the summer, this ski slope offers hiking trails (that connect to Lake Michigan) and an 18-disc golf course. Awesome views, especially at sunset.

Find the perfect picnic menu in the August issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine!
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