Charlevoix & Chain of Lakes: Beaches, Food Finds, Attractions

If you can’t spend the whole summer floating all 75 miles of the Chain of Lakes, here are some spots that you absolutely have to see in Charlevoix and throughout the entire Chain of Lakes region.

Elk Rapids Dam Beach:

This white sandy swath next to the Elk Rapids dam somehow retains a sense of the untouched. A great spot for fishing and swimming, located just steps from downtown on Dexter Road.

Spirit of the Woods Museum

This eclectic museum, showcasing dioramas of taxidermied Michigan wildlife, is a classic Northwoods attraction. With its big selection of moccasins, deerskin gloves and other souvenirs, the gift shop alone is worth a visit. 11060 S. US 31, Williamsburg, 231.264.5597,

Short’s Brewing Co.

A renovated, century-old hardware store in Bellaire is HQ for one of the Mitten’s most beloved craft breweries. Epic beers, elevated pub grub, live music weekly throughout the summer. 121 N. Bridge St., Bellaire, 231.533.6622,

Barnes County Park

This gem just north of Torch Lake’s northern tip offers a huge sandy beach on Grand Traverse Bay, plus family-friendly camping, a play area, and a network of hiking and biking trails. 12298 Barnes Park Rd., Eastport, 231.599.2712.

The Cellars Winery

The new family-owned winery at Royal Farms—a favorite local roadside fruit stand and market—specializes in vino that features fruit from the farm’s orchards. Try the Sassy Apple wine, which gets its sass from the farm’s own honeycrisps. 10445 N. US 31, Ellsworth, 231.599.3222,

Jordan River National Fish Hatchery

This hatchery produces more than three million lake trout and brown trout annually for stocking waters around the Great Lakes. Free tours and a trail system for hiking. 6623 Turner Rd., Elmira, 231.584.2461,

Ironton Ferry

Take a trip on one of the shortest ferry rides in the world: the four-car cable-guided Ironton ferry, which transports cars, people and bikes across the narrows of Lake Charlevoix. Rates and hours online.

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For more summer vacation ideas in Northern Michigan, grab the 2013 MyNorth Vacation Guide!

Your Guide to Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Leelanau, Benzie & More

From the same people who produce Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, this is a colorful, easy-to-use guide to Northern Michigan vacation ideas from Ludington to Traverse City, from Charlevoix to Mackinac Island and everything in between. It is filled with ideas, tips and hundreds of websites that connect you to fun, food, activities, lodging and recreation in every part of Northern Michigan.

  • More than 140, full color pages with stunning photography and travel stories
  • Maps of each region
  • Hundreds of resources

Be sure to also check out our free online area-specific vacation guides!

Traverse City

Ideas for your ultimate vacation in Traverse City, Acme, Fife Lake, Interlochen, Kingsley, and Williamsburg


Ideas for your ultimate vacation in Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, Mackinac Island, and Boyne Country

Charlevoix & Chain of Lakes

Ideas for your ultimate vacation in Charlevoix, Alden, Beaver Island, Bellaire, Central Lake, Easst Jordon, Elk Rapids, and Torch Lake


Ideas for your ultimate vacation in Cedar, Empire, Glen Arbor, Lake Leelanau, Leland, Maple City, Northport, Peshawbestown, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Suttons Bay, and Omena

Benzie & West Shore

Ideas for your ultimate vacation in Benzie, Manistee, West Shore, Beulah, Benzonia, Crystal Lake, Frankfort, Ludington, Onekama, and Pentwater

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