To golfers, the former Little Traverse Bay Golf Club in Harbor Springs was known for dramatic downhill tee shots and unparalleled views of the water from high above. Although the course now has closed, the 290-acre property high on a bluff above Little Traverse Bay retains all the same rolling hills and scenic vistas.
Only now, instead of being a destination for golf, the land that has reopened as the Offield Family Viewlands offers a glorious escape for hiking, biking and birdwatching that everyone can enjoy free of charge.
“There are hiking trails all over the Petoskey Area communities, and this is another wonderful addition,” said Diane Dakins, assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau.
With the Little Traverse Conservancy turning the former golf course into a natural space, there’s more room to roam than ever in the Petoskey Area near the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. That’s especially important in the midst of an ongoing pandemic when many outdoor activities present low-risk opportunities for recreation. In the Petoskey Area communities of Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, Alanson, Petoskey and Boyne Falls/Boyne City, it’s easy to social distance, get fresh air and enjoy the striking beauty of northern Michigan all at the same time.
In addition to plenty of room to roam, the Petoskey Area also features room to glide through the pristine waters of northern Michigan on a kayak, boat or paddleboard. There’s room to ride through the beautiful scenery of biking trails, and room to safely enjoy time with family. Of course, there’s still lots of room to take out the golf clubs and launch drives on award-winning courses, too.
Here are five more places with “room to roam” for you to keep in mind while planning a northern Michigan getaway this summer:
- Boyne Valley Trailway – Newly completed this summer, this scenic 6-mile paved path between Boyne City and the Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls is perfect for biking, running and roller blading. It’s one of many paved trails in the Petoskey Area including the Little Traverse Wheelway, a 26-mile path between Harbor Springs and Charlevoix that passes through beautiful parks, along eye-popping stretches of waterfront and into unique places such as historic Bay View and the elegant Bay Harbor. (Please note that a couple sections of the Little Traverse Wheelway are currently closed due to erosion.) Whatever trail you choose to ride, you can find bikes to rent at shops throughout the Petoskey Area.
- Bay Harbor Golf – With 10 golf courses at Boyne resorts alone, there’s more than enough tee times to go around in the Petoskey Area. The Boyne collection includes one of Golf Magazine’s top 10 courses in the country in Bay Harbor, as well as the National Golf Course Owners Association’s 2019 National Golf Course of the Year in The Heather. Beyond Boyne, there are several other renowned golf courses within a 30-minute drive including Belvedere Golf Club, Dunmaglas and Hidden River Golf & Casting Club.
- Little Traverse Bay Ferry – The new non-profit ferry service between Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor made its debut this summer. It’s the first time in 80 years that the communities have been connected via ferry service. The ferry offers a unique perspective on Little Traverse Bay and is one of many ways to get out on the water this summer in the Petoskey area, from sailing or charter fishing in the big lake to renting a kayak and paddling down the river to boating the Inland Waterway that is Michigan’s longest chain of rivers and lakes. To experience an old-fashioned car ferry, check out the Ironton Ferry over the south arm of Lake Charlevoix.
- Petoskey Breakwall – This harbor breakwall in Petoskey is one of the best places to find an elusive Petoskey stone. Searching for Michigan’s state stone is a relaxing and fun activity for all ages, and it’s a thrill to find one of our state’s special treasures! Other popular Petoskey stone hunting grounds include Magnus City Park Beach, just west of downtown, and Petoskey State Park northeast of the city. If you like relaxing without being on the hunt, the Petoskey Area has plenty of beaches to spread out a blanket, soak up the sun and take a dip in the crystal clear waters of northern Michigan.
- Zipline Adventure Tour – Imagine yourself soaring down a mountain instead of skiing down one. On the Zipline Adventure Tours at Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands you’ll ride a chairlift up to an elevation of over 3,000 feet, then fly back down on the longest zip line in Michigan at speeds of up to 25 miles an hour! For a slower-paced experience of the panoramic views atop the ski hills, you can enjoy a scenic chairlift ride and see as far as the Mackinac Bridge on a clear day.
In addition to all the great places with room to roam, the Petoskey Area also features hundreds of rooms where you can rest your head after a day of adventure. Whether you’re looking for a world-class resort, a hotel in the middle of town, a secluded getaway tucked in the woods or an historic bed-and-breakfast, you can find it in the Petoskey Area.