Stretching for about 40 miles from Pickerel Lake near Petoskey, all the way to Lake Huron, the North’s own Inland Waterway is the ultimate summer route for seasoned sailors and water babies alike. Indian River, a burg sandwiched between the southern tips of Burt Lake and Mullett Lake, is the perfect halfway launch point for cruising this illustrious trail of H2O. To prep for the journey, swing into Christopher’s Downtown Café (3803 Straits Hwy., 231-238-9312) for a savory plate of biscuits and gravy. Then, make your way to Indian River Marina (231-238-9373, to rent a pontoon for the day. (Tip: Call at least a week in advance to secure your rental during the peak months of summer.) A round trip from here to Cheboygan takes about four hours, allowing you plenty of extra time to explore as you please.

Settle in at the helm and steer your way northeast into Mullett Lake. Anglers can take this opportunity to drop a line in the water; potential catches in these parts include walleye, smallmouth bass, pike, lake trout and yellow perch. Motor up along the lake’s west shore and jump ship at Aloha State Park (231-625-2522) for a quick splash in the water and a picnic on the beach.

At Mullett Lake’s northern tip, ease into the Cheboygan River and follow it all the way to downtown Cheboygan. Cruise into Lake Huron and head east to loop around at Cheboygan State Park, or drop anchor at a slip in front of the Boathouse Restaurant (106 Pine St., 231-627-4316). The menu includes daily specials and mainstays like honey pecan walleye and Delmonico rib-eye steak with bourbon sauce. Cap it off with a slice of blueberry pie to make the return trip that much sweeter.

Emily Bingham is assistant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s

This article was first published in June 2007, and was updated for the web February 2008.

Photo(s) by Elly Johnson