The Charlevoix/Chain of Lakes region is filled with gorgeous Lake Michigan coastline, pristine inland lakes, picturesque villages and a river system connecting much of it. Here are some fun "must do's," whether you're visiting Boyne City, Charlevoix, Elk Rapids and Torch Lake for a day or a week. And don't forget to click on the links at the bottom of the page to more fun ideas in the Charlevoix/Chain of Lakes region!
May Up North means morels—the tasty little umbrella-shaped ’shrooms that take eagle eyes to find. Strike out on your own (string bag in tow), or show up at Boyne City's National Morel Festival to learn everything you need to know about these elusive morsels. MAY 14-17, MORELFEST.COM.
Hip Lulu’s Bistro in Bellaire serves up artful eating. Sunday is fondue night—linger over a pot of bubbling cheese, and chocolate fondue for dessert. 231-533-5252.
This ginormous indoor waterpark at the base of Boyne Mountain features the Rip Tide surfing simulator and the Vertigo—a ride around a big bowl connecting two covered chutes. Don’t forget the play structures and the lazy river. 231-549-7979, AVALANCHEBAY.COM
The 27 fairytale stone cottages sprinkled throughout Charlevoix neighborhoods, known as Hobbit houses, were designed by local
architect Earl Young in the 1930’s and 40’s. Tour maps available at Charlevoix Chamber of Commerce. Remember when touring the houses, no trespassing, please. 231-547-2101.
What once was the stately old Carnegie Library in East Jordan now houses the Jordan River Arts Center. Browse an exhibit or take in a class at the headquarters for this artistic community. JORDANRIVERARTS.COM. 231-536-3385.
Tour the lush grounds, stone arches and soaring turrets of Charlevoix's Castle Farms, built in 1918 by the then president of Sears Roebuck, Albert Loeb. Self-guided tours, 10 a.m-4p.m. weekdays. Weekends by appointment. Children’s tours include a treasure hunt. 231-237-0884, CASTLEFARMS.COM.
There’s a free nine-hole disc golf course at Avalanche Preserve Recreation Area in Boyne City (1129 WILSON ST.). Bring your own Frisbee to play a round, then head up the 462 wooden steps to Avalanche’s overlook for a bird’s-eye view of Lake Charlevoix. GOV.BOYNECITY.COM.
For six decades and counting, Charlevoix's John Cross Fisheries has been wrapping the day’s Great Lakes catch in butcher paper for devoted customers. The staff also serves up whitefish sausage and cooking tips—including what you’ll need for an authentic Lake Michigan fish boil. 231-547-2532.