Summer Getaways in Michigan's Little Traverse Bay
Charlevoix: An easygoing beach town with a triple lakefront
In a word Easy. Check out the photo at left. Lake Michigan, Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix line up like blue pearls on a string. Charlevoix fills what little land separates the lakes with a compact business district and historic neighborhoods. Every street seemingly ends at a glittery body of water. Your strategy: Park and enjoy.
Your kind of town? Families love Charlevoix. You can dash from the sandy Lake Michigan beach for an ice cream or fudge break, and souvenir shops abound. On the Round Lake side, people picnic in a grassy harbor park with a splash fountain, umbrella tables, amphitheater and fish pond. You'll find lots of affordable condo rentals, along with grocery stores to stock the kitchens, but not as many interesting restaurants and shops as in Petoskey. Visitors should also note that US-31 cuts through town, making noisy traffic a constant.
Quiet moments What does stop cars in Charlevoix? Boats. A narrow channel links the lakes. When tall boats glide through, the US-31 drawbridge rises, drivers pause and pedestrians gather to wave at the skippers. Those transitory moments when the hum subsides define the watery rhythm of life in Charlevoix. For a longer break from the bustle, Fisherman's Island State Park, a hidden gem outside town, offers miles of untamed Lake Michigan shore. Kick back at a waterfront picnic site for a day of bird-watching and beachcombing. Keep an eye out for speckled rocks called Petoskey stones.