A setting of natural beauty, a charm that makes people smile—A visit to Charlevoix will convince you that water and land truly couldn't have picked a finer place to meet. Live a memory you'll cherish forever. When looking beyond the business of the day, the Charlevoix area provides countless opportunities for fun in the sun, awe amid vibrant fall colors, the thrill of outdoor snow sports and the stillness of woodland wanderings in spring. Each season provides a unique offering of activities that benefit residents and visitors of all ages. A love for the water and knowing your neighbor are common denominators for residents and resorters of various backgrounds, interests and stages of life. Despite their differences, these resorters and residents create a fulfilling sense of community. Visitors – whether experiencing Charlevoix for the first or 50th time—easily become part of the social blend. There's just something about Charlevoix. Something that says Welcome! Life is Grand!
Earl Young Homes
Some call them "Fairy Houses" because they possess storybook whimsy; others call them "Mushroom Houses" because of their irregular shapes. By any name, the stone houses of Charlevoix are an amazing legacy to one of Michigan's most fascinating builders. Born in 1889, Earl Young grew up in Charlevoix, walking the shorelines collecting interesting rocks—a pastime that grew into a passion. A visionary, who would make sketches and then often have his wife follow with precision drawings from which the houses were built. The construction of the buildings, utilizing the boulders left behind by the great glacier, are a unique architectural accomplishment. Included are the turreted Weathervane and Lodge motels, the rustic Weathervane Restaurant, and story-book homes on Round Lake, Park Avenue, and in Boulder Park. Earl Young left a lasting legacy on Charlevoix. The houses and buildings he created continue to fascinate visitors when they see the wave-like rooflines and inimitable stonework that have become his trademarks. Maps of the Earl Young homes are available at the Chamber.
Charlevoix's South Pier Lighthouse has long been a treasured landmark to boaters seeking safe passage between Lake Michigan, the Pine River Channel, Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix. It is also a premier location to watch the spectacular sunsets over Lake Michigan. The first lighthouse to be built at the entrance to the Pine River was actually located at the end of the north pier. This pyramidal wooden tower served from 1885 to 1914, when it was transferred to the end of the south pier and replaced with the current steel tower in 1948. In 2005, the lighthouse, deemed excess by the Coast Guard, was offered at no cost to eligible entities. After the review process, the National Park Service awarded the lighthouse to the City of Charlevoix in 2008. In August of 2009, the light, which had been painted white in recent decades, was returned to its original bright red coloring.
The crown jewel of the north, East Park sits in the heart of downtown Charlevoix. Renovated in 2008, the park is beautifully kept and the ideal location for a family picnic or community event. Nestled between the downtown shopping district and the Round Lake Yacht basin, East Park features the Odmark Music Pavilion where the Summer Concert Series takes place. Bring a towel because children of all ages will enjoy cooling off in the Fountain of Youth, a 30' diameter heated interactive water fountain with multiple water nozzles and choreographed lighting and music. Additionally, the East Park Trout Habitat is a fully functioning trout ecosystem. The habitat is designed to replicate the conditions found in a northern Michigan trout stream.
Charlevoix is home to a double-leaf bascule bridge, which is dedicated as a memorial to 22 local men who died during World War II. Built in 1949, this 44 foot steel-mesh structure spans the Pine River Channel. The channel, which was dredged in 1870, connects Lake Michigan to Lake Charlevoix via Round Lake. The bridge carries US-31 (Bridge Street) in downtown Charlevoix. Gates and flashing signals warn pedestrians and motorists that the bridge is opening to allow clearance for watercraft taller than 17'. The bridge opens throughout the busy summer season on the half-hour and hour.
Charlevoix is well known for its beaches and the accolades are richly deserved. The city has four beaches, two on lakes Charlevoix and Michigan, as well as a State Park beach. The Lake Michigan beaches (Lake Michigan, Mount McSauba, Fisherman’s Island) offer a perfect opportunity to find the official State of Michigan stone, the Petoskey Stone. This stone can only be found in the Little Traverse Bay region of northern Michigan.
Michigan Beach offers white sand, good stone hunting; wooded trails and children's play equipment. There is also a concession stand, picnic areas, restrooms and lifeguards. This beach is a short walk from downtown, along Park Avenue or the Pine River Channel. It is also an excellent location to view the lighthouse and the stunning sunsets over Lake Michigan.
Depot Beach on Lake Charlevoix is adjacent to the old train depot, which is now an historical museum. This beach usually has warmer water than Lake Michigan and the waves are calmer. Depot Beach is located at the end of Mercer Boulevard off U.S. 31 and has lifeguards, playground equipment, restrooms and picnic areas.
Ferry Beach is also located on Lake Charlevoix. The gently sloping sandy swimming area is a popular beach for parents and their children. Ferry Beach offers lifeguards, playground equipment, a concession, picnic areas, and restrooms. The beach can be reached by taking Stover Road east off of M-66, or Belvedere Avenue from downtown.
Mount McSauba is a natural area with rolling dunes that culminate in a wide sandy beach on Lake Michigan shoreline. Behind the dunes is a series of well-kept trails through a beautiful canopied wooded area. There are no lifeguards or facilities.
Fisherman's Island State Park offers seven more miles of Lake Michigan public beach. It is located south of Charlevoix on Bells Bay Road. In addition to the beach, the park offers trails through a beautiful 3,400-acre forest.
And don't forget that swimming is available year round at the CHARLEVOIX AREA COMMUNITY POOL.
Little Traverse Wheelway
Pump up your tires and hit the trail! The Little Traverse Wheelway is a 26 mile, non-motorized paved path that extends from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs. It has been the topic of news features, and it continues to be a regional draw for vacationers and residents. This stretch of paved trail extends from Charlevoix to Petoskey to Harbor Springs and draws thousands of walkers, bikers and in-line skaters each year, with some of the most breathtaking scenery to accompany them. This trail offers a unique boardwalk bridging a wetland area rich with wildlife, and direct water access at several points along the Lake Michigan shoreline, including two MDOT roadside parks that are perfect for a picnic or scenic resting spot. Spearheaded by The Top of Michigan Trails Council and host to local and national rides, the free trail has been an effort of several area organizations and municipalities. for more info, visit www.trailscouncil.org. Trail Map | Bike Rentals
Mt. McSauba Recreation Area
North Point Nature Preserve For hiking, cross-country skiing, nature studies, nature photography or just a quiet commune with the wilderness, several protected natural areas near Charlevoix are difficult to match. A 28-acre dune and wooded area at North Point features wood chipped trails and wooden viewing platforms where one can sit and watch the waves roll in on Lake Michigan. Mount McSauba is the highest of the steep sand dunes north of Charlevoix and the centerpiece of a 50-acre recreation complex owned and operated by the city. In the summer, Mount McSauba offers a city-operated day camp for boys and girls.
Winter Park: Skiing - Snowboarding - Terrain Park - Skating Rink - Sledding Hill - Snowshoeing - Groomed and Un-groomed XC Trails - Rental equipment - Snack Bar! The City of Charlevoix offers one of the few municipal ski facilities left in Michigan. Mt. McSauba became a municipal ski resort in 1956 and is ranked as one of the top three small ski areas in the United States. Mt. McSauba is perfect for the beginner or intermediate skier with a sprinkling of slopes for the more advanced downhill skier. It offers six runs, four rope tows, lighted skiing and a free-lighted sledding hill. Snowboarders, snowbladers and snowshoers will enjoy a day spent at Mt. McSauba. Equipment is available for rental. Group lessons and private lessons are also available. Skier or not, the view from atop Mt. McSauba is spectacular!
Castle Farms is a Renaissance castle with magnificent stone towers, fragrant gardens and cobblestone courtyards - the perfect place to get a petit taste of European romance! The host of many elegant weddings, corporate events, festivals, and visiting tourists - Castle Farms has something to offer everyone. Historic Castle & Garden Tours are available from 10am – 4pm daily except on event days. The one and a half hour walking tour of the Castle and surrounding gardens is fully handicap accessible, and also features a children’s treasure hunt. The tour includes a video and map of the Castle, exhibits and surrounding gardens. The Hedge Maze and tower bridge lead to an aerial view of the Garden Railroad with eight trains running on three levels. While visiting the Castle, enjoy lawn games, feeding trout in a pond and exploring the Enchanted Forest. Unique and whimsical gifts are available in the Castle Gift Shop. You may want to link your visit to one of our Festivals or Shows listed on www.castlefarms.com.
Keweenaw Excursions consists of the excursion vessel Keweenaw Star. The Keweenaw Star is 110 feet long and has a passenger capacity of 149 passengers. We offer 2 to 3 hour cruises of Lake Michigan, or in cases of bad weather, Lake Charlevoix. Private charters are available for weddings, reunions, and corporate functions, etc. Public charters are available for sight-seeing tours and fall color tours. The Keweenaw Star is equipped with heated/air conditioned cabins, a full bar, and full galley for food service. Make your party "one to remember" with a cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star."Catch the Star!" downtown Charlevoix! Click here for a video clip of the Keweenaw Star. www.keweenawexcursions.com.
Former World's largest cherry pie
When driving into Charlevoix from S-US 31, you may have noticed the large pie pan displayed on the side of the road. You may be surprised to learn that Charlevoix is not only world famous for its charming marina, or aqua blue waters, but for its creation of the world’s largest cherry pie. Charlevoix was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest cherry pie in the years 1976-1987! The diameter of the pie tin is 14ft, and the actual cherry pie weighed 14,000 lbs. There was plenty of pie to go around, for the pie consisted of 37,300 6 oz servings. The pie pan is a must see in Charlevoix! It is located just south of town on US-31, offering parking, picnic tables, and background information. Photographs are welcomed and encouraged.
Charlevoix Historical Society
Harsha House Museum was built in 1891 by Charlevoix businessman and community leader Horace S. Harsha. His granddaughter Ann Harsha donated the Victorian-style house to the Society in 1978 to be used as a museum. Attractions include: 3 Victorian Period Rooms, 10,000 Historic Photos, Local History Artifacts in Displays, 1917 Working Player Piano, Local Oral and Family History Collections, Local History Research Materials, Original Hemingway Marriage License, and more.
Railroad Depot Museum is owned and operated by the Charlevoix Historical Society, a State and National Historic Site located next to Depot Beach. Mr. & Mrs. Robert Pew donated the railroad station to the society in June 1992 on the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first passenger train in Charlevoix. The Charlevoix Area Garden Clubs have developed a Heritage Garden on the grounds based on historic garden principles and utilizing local cutting wherever possible.
The Charlevoix area offers golf courses ranging from the modest to the challenging, all in picturesque settings and enjoyable to play. From a nine hole municipal course designed by the renowned architect Willie Watson and identified as one of the earliest regulation courses in the United States, to the historic Belvedere Club, which has hosted the Michigan Amateur State Championship 39 times and the Golf Association of Michigan Senior Men's Amateur Championship in 2004. There are many courses to choose from including The Belvedere Golf Club, Charlevoix Golf Club, Antrim Dells Public Golf Course, Charlevoix Golf & Country Club, and Dunmaglas Golf Course.
Charlevoix hosts a Farm Fresh Farmers Market every Thursday from 9am to 1pm. The market is held in East Park located in the heart of the downtown district June 1 through the end of October. It then moves indoors to the Charlevoix Public Library through the end of December. Eat Fresh and Shop Local is our motto. The market boasts fresh veggies, flowers, plants, eggs, meat, cheese, baked goods and more. Call the Chamber for details.