Set against rolling Northern Michigan waters on two sides, Charlevoix is a stunning destination with endless beaches and a darling downtown. We weren’t surprised when Charlevoix was voted among the top 10 “teensy towns” in MyNorth’s annual Red Hot Best contest in which more than 10,000 voters weighed in on 101 things they love about Northern Michigan. (View all 300 Red Hot Best winners!) To celebrate, we’re sharing more Red Hot Best things to do in Charlevoix including restaurants and places to visit the next time you’re on vacation.
Red Hot Best Island, Fisherman’s Island
Located south of Charlevoix, this tiny island is a part of Fisherman’s Island State Park, which has more than 2,600 acres, five miles of Lake Michigan beach and an 81-site campground. Due to years of low water levels in Lake Michigan, the island has actually become a peninsula that can be accessed from the beach at the end of Lake Shore Drive. Here’s a map.
Red Hot Best Fishing Pier, Charlevoix South Pier
Also home to the often-photographed Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse, this fishing hotspot is minutes from downtown Charlevoix—just head under the bridge and follow the sidewalk! Hit up the Villager’s Pub for their deep-fried whitefish to celebrate your catch. (The Villager Pub is a Red Hot Best winner for “restaurant serving whitefish,” so you know it’s going to be good!)
Red Hot Best Inland Lake, Lake Charlevoix
Lake Charlevoix is the third largest lake in Michigan making it a fun destination for boaters. A shallow ledge outlines the entire perimeter, perfect for anchoring and relaxing the day away. Boaters, reserve a slip at the Charlevoix City Marina, voted a Red Hot Best public marina! Here are three more ways to enjoy the lake.
Red Hot Best Shopping District, Downtown Charlevoix
The eclectic shops that line Bridge Street run the gamut from casual sportswear to sophisticated American and European decor. Tuck into downtown eateries like That French Place and Harwood Gold Cafe for a quick bite before hitting the next stop. Here’s a quick guide to Charlevoix’s shops and restaurants.
Red Hot Best Sledding Hill, Mount McSauba
It may be August, but it’s never too soon to start scoping out the best sledding hills—the “s” word always arrives sooner than you think. Mt. McSauba Recreation Area has a gazillion-dollar view of Lake Michigan, awesome sledding and a whole lot more—skiing, snowboarding, a terrain park, skating rink, snowshoeing, cross-country trails, rental equipment and a snack bar!
Red Hot Best Small Town Movie Theater, Charlevoix Cinema III
This home town theater was recently renovated adding digital projectors, a new sound system and new seats. It’s open daily featuring matinee and evening shows. All shows before 6 p.m. are matinee pricing, which means you can catch a 3D movie for just $6! Check out upcoming shows.
Red Hot Best Food Truck, Pigs Eatin’ Ribs
This food truck is serving up succulent Southern-style barbecue. The smoker was built right into the truck! Pigs Eatin’ Ribs also has a brick-and-mortar restaurant and offers catering. Or try these recipes from barbecue master Adam Kline at home!
Red Hot Best Soft-Serve Ice Cream Shop, Dairy Grille
The Dairy Grille is a local icon having served the Charlevoix community for almost 50 years. Soft-serve ice cream, shakes, sundaes and splits share the menu with burgers, coneys, fries and onion rings.
Red Hot Best U-Pick, Kiteley’s Farm Market
During summer you can find strawberries, raspberries, sweet corn, a variety of vegetables and U-pick flowers at Kiteley’s. Their farm market also has jams, jellies, pies, salsas, chips, dips and other specialty foods.
Red Hot Best Wedding Venue, Castle Farms
Castle Farms is a historic French Renaissance-style castle built in 1918 by the former president of Sears, Roebuck & Co. as a dairy farm. It was modeled after the stone barns and castles found in Normandy, France, and as you might guess, it’s absolutely stunning. (See photos from a recent wedding!) If you’re not getting married anytime soon, you can still go on the guided garden and historical tours.