Wedged between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, this marina town has all the Up North classics: fudge shops, ferries and a fishery, plus boutique shopping and dining up and down Bridge Street. The annual Venetian Festival, which started nearly a century ago with a candle-lit boat parade on Round Harbor, is a big draw each July. Head to the marina to boat-watch or catch the ferry to Beaver Island—a rustic Lake Michigan isle with camping, hiking and a rich history.  Family-run John Cross Fisheries is a downtown must-stop; south of town, historic Castle Farms is available for tours and as a stunning venue for weddings and events. The riverside Weathervane Restaurant, positioned near Charlevoix’s drawbridge, is an excellent spot for alfresco dining—it’s also an example of the town’s quirky “hobbit houses,” stone cottages designed by architect Earl Young. For more Earl Young homes, stop into the Chamber of Commerce to pick up a walking tour map. 

Photo(s) by Chad Phinney