The Charlevoix and Chain of Lakes Region is full of activities for the entire family. From exploring some of Northern Michigan’s best golf courses to taking the kids to the Charlevoix splash pad, view 10 of the must-dos during your visit to this region.

This article was featured in the 2021 Traverse Magazine Vacation Guide. Download your free digital issue today to experience the full guide for yourself.

Map of Charlevoix

Each icon on this map represents one of the things to do below. Keep reading to start planning your Northern Michigan adventure to Charlevoix and the Chain of Lakes region.

1. Cruise the Northern Michigan Breezeway
Drive the scenic, bucolic C-48 that winds through East Jordan, Ellsworth and Atwood—past farm stands, small towns and lakes. For more information and a free downloadable scavenger hunt, visit our recent Breezeway article on MyNorth.

2. Paddle on the Au Sable
Canoe or kayak the beautiful Au Sable River. Find the livery best for you on the official Grayling website.

3. Tour a Castle
Tour the stunning castle and gardens at Castle Farms in Charlevoix. Don’t forget to check out Michigan’s largest outdoor model railroad or the World War I museum.

4. Explore the Jordan
Paddle, raft or tube the wild and scenic Jordan River. For rentals and more information, visit the Jordan Valley Outfitters website.

5. Ferry Over to Ironton Narrows
Put your car or bike on the Ironton Ferry for the five-minute float across Lake Charlevoix’s picturesque Ironton Narrows.


Ready for more Charlevoix attractions, restaurants, outdoor ideas, history and more? We've got it!

6. Grab Your Clubs and Head to Otsego Resort
Golf the acclaimed (and breathtaking) courses, The Classic and The Tribute, at Otsego Resort in Gaylord.

7. Head out for a Picnic
Fill your picnic basket at the Bellaire Smokehouse with smoked fish, wine and cheese. Enjoy at a local park or beach!

8. Hit the Links at Shanty Creek
Golf one or all of the four lauded courses at Shanty Creek Resort.

9. Go Antiquing in Elk Rapids
Browse the 8,000-square-foot Elk Rapids Antique Market to see what local treasures you can find.

10. Explore the Fountain of Youth
Soak up summertime with the kids at the Fountain of Youth, an interactive fountain with a music-and-light show in Charlevoix’s downtown East Park.

Making your trip a quick one? Here are the best things to do in Charlevoix if you only have 24-hours.

Find this article and more in the 2021 issue of the Traverse Magazine Vacation Guide. If you’re not subscribed to Traverse Magazine, you can download the Vacation Guide for free.