You can't ask for more glorious scenery than the landscape along the paved Little Traverse Wheelway, a family-friendly path linking Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs. The 26-mile trail hugs Lake Michigan's shore, and along many stretches, riders drink in panoramic views of sparkling blue water. Dedicated overlooks beg you to stop for pictures. Occasionally, stairs lead down to the shore. (Bring a lock to secure your bike.)
We explored the trail both north of Petoskey and south, which we preferred. There, the trail rolled past quiet Magnus Park Beach, where we stopped to hunt for Petoskey stones. The trail also cuts behind wooded residential areas and occasionally creeps up from the lake, providing blufflike views to the water.
North of Petoskey, the trail leads past the marina concession stand and an adorable Waterfall Area, with picnic tables around a picturesque cascade. However, if you plan to bike all the way to Petoskey State Park or Harbor Springs, know that the path runs parallel to the highway for a stretch. We never felt unsafe, but it was rather noisy. Still, this trail ranks as one of the loveliest we've seen in the Midwest.