Petoskey State Park, located halfway between Petoskey and Harbor Springs, is a popular camping and outdoor recreation location. What was previously the Petoskey Bathing Beach, a municipal park, is now a state park with all the facilities as well as a beautiful beach area. You can go through this Petoskey state park camping guide and figure out activities available for you to do.
What can you do at Petoskey state park?
The park provides a variety of year-round activities, including camping, bicycling, swimming, hiking, and cross-country skiing. The 304-acre park has picnic spots, camping places, defined paths, kilometers of beach, a beach shelter, playground, and summer recreational events.
In July of 1855, Pay-Me-Gwau received the park property as part of an Odawa Indian deal. The W.W. Rice Company afterwards occupied most of the area. The city of Petoskey bought the site in 1934 and renamed it the Petoskey Bathing Beach. The beach was sold to the state of Michigan in April 1968. In July of 1970, the campsite welcomed its first campers. State Park 1 in Petoskey
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Here’s what you can expect to see at the park
There are two campsites in the park. Tannery Creek has 98 campsites as well as two tiny cottages, while Dunes has 80. Electric hookups are available at all sites, as well as contemporary restroom and shower facilities. Picnic tables and grills, a playground, and a one-mile-long beach for sunbathing are all available in the day use area.
Petoskey State Park has two hiking trails. The stairs to Old Baldy, a sturdy dune that is one of the park’s highlights, is part of the Old Baldy Trail. The view of the water that is accessible after ascending the dune is spectacular. The Portage Trail runs across a variety of terrain, allowing nature lovers to see a variety of flora and fauna. Picnics Throughout the park, there are many picnic places. There are several tables with grills accessible.
What a beautiful beach! This is the place to come if you want to see beautiful dunes, soft beaches, and waves that range from mild to wild. Beach walkers have plenty of space to explore. Water walkers, who wander in shallow regions, should wear beach shoes since the terrain might be rough. Because of the shallow portions, children like this beach, and floating on tubes is a popular pastime.
- Stones of Petoskey
Petoskey Stones may be found here! Walkers on this beach are often observed with their heads down, searching for fossils. The rocks tend to collect here since the park sits near the edge of Little Traverse Bay.
- Bear Valley recreation area
We proceeded down the coastline for another 0.5 mile after seeing the cascade until we passed the Bear River bridge. We turned left after passing under the bridge and went across the street to the Bear River Valley Recreation Area.
The Bear River Valley Recreation Area is a 1.5-mile park that runs next to the Bear River near downtown Petoskey. The park has recently undergone a multi-million dollar restoration, which included the creation of Lower Michigan’s first whitewater kayaking park. A new restroom facility, river vistas, and hiking and bike routes are also available.
- Bear valley river trail
We walked upward on a paved route for approximately a mile before continuing on a crushed stone path for another 0.5 mile to River Bend Park.
- Throne Swift Nature Preserve
We picked up the van the following morning and drove north on M-119 to see the famed Tunnel of Trees. The Thorne Swift Nature Preserve, approximately 4 miles north of Harbor Springs, was our first visit. 30 acres of cedar swamp and low dunes make up this lovely small park. There are 950 feet of Lake Michigan beachfront, with 300 feet available to the public as a beach. Non-township residents must pay a $5 parking charge. 1.5 miles of well-maintained hiking paths and boardwalks lead to the property. We went down the Cedar Trail from the Nature Center, staying to the right.
- Beach around Throne Swift Nature Preserve
The pathways through the lowland cedars were fascinating, with a variety of flora to see. As we got closer to the lake, we also stirred up a few of deer. A small set of steps leads down to the beach around halfway through the circle. For those who want to spend longer time on the beach…or had too much morning coffee, there are outhouses just at the access. We headed south on the Balsam Trail along the crest of the dune after rising back up from the beach. A spur route leads back to the lake and the Dune Observation Platform after approximately 500 feet.
- Rain tunnel of trees
Our initial plan was to spend the day at the beach and then dine at Cross Village’s famed Legs Inn. We started driving back to Petoskey as the light rain began to fall, since it was still a couple of hours early for even an early supper. Driving through the M-119 Tree Tunnel was nevertheless a fun way to spend the day. I suppose we’ll have to keep the Legs Inn in mind for our future trip.
- Petoskey brewing company
The remainder of the day was spent reading and waiting for the rain to stop. We went to Petoskey Brewing Company just outside the State Park for supper.
The modern Petoskey Brewing Company first opened in a 115-year-old facility erected by the previous Petoskey Brewing Company in 2012. The structure is truly remarkable, with solid brick walls that are 26 inches thick and tower 70 feet tall. “The edifice owes its unusual stature to the late nineteenth-century brewing operations,” according to the website. It is almost 70 feet tall but just 20 feet deep, with four storeys. Gravity was used to transport water, wort, and beer through the brewing process back then.
A big water tank supplying the brewery’s demands was most likely housed in the fourth-floor cupola. The brewing of the fire (possibly wood-fired) occurred on the third level, as demonstrated by the chimney flues that can still be seen today. Fermentation and packing were most likely done on the second and first floors as the manufacturing moved down.” Another fascinating fact is that the brewery still utilizes pure artesian spring water for its beer, which was initially selected because of the artesian wells on the site.
Where is Petoskey State Park?
Petoskey State Park is situated on the east end of Little Traverse Bay, about halfway between downtown Petoskey and Harbor Springs. There are 180 contemporary campsites in the park, divided between two campgrounds. With fewer sites and narrower roads, the Dunes Campground seems to be older. This location seems to be better suited to smaller tents and campers. In comparison to other State Parks, some of the locations here provide greater seclusion. Tannery Creek Campground is located at the park’s southern end and offers somewhat larger sites in four “D” shaped loops with camping pads. Larger RVs will benefit from these locations. This campsite has access to the beach at the end of each loop.
The 1 mile of sand and stone beach at Petoskey State Park is the park’s major feature. The nicest sandy beach is at the day use section at the park’s north end. There are around 3 kilometers of hiking paths in the park. Because of its position in one of the state’s most famous tourist locations, the park is often booked throughout the summer, so make your reservations early.
Park Recreation The park staff provides a range of activities, such as walks and other activities. Petoskey State Park is situated immediately outside Michigan Petoskey on M-119. Please contact the Petoskey State Park directly for further information.