Petoskey Delivers Big on Fresh Air and Family-Friendly Fun
The first time I visited the Petoskey area was pre-kids for a work trip. I stayed in a fancy hotel and ate at fancy places and stopped in fancy shops.
So when I was asked to write about visiting with kids, I wasn’t sure what there were even things for kids to do in Petoskey.
If You Thought the “Tip of the Mitt” Was Just for Grown-Ups and Ski Bums, It’s Time to Think Again!
Turns out there are a thousand reasons to visit the Petoskey area with kids!
Okay, maybe not a thousand, but we stayed busy for the weekend with activities that kept our whole family happy. We were consistently blown away by how family-friendly everything is and how kind everyone is.
Farms, Trails, and Lavender Fields–You’ll Want to Get Outside and Play in Petoskey
Pond Hill Farm has Beer & Wine Tasting for Grownups and a Gnome Hunt and Hayrides for Kids
The sun came out just in time for our visit to Pond Hill Farm! Pond Hill Farm is a family owned farm that offers something for everyone in your family .
Most activities are free – like seeing farm animals, playing on their playground, or going for a gnome hunt. You can pay a small fee to go on a hayride of the farm as well.
Grown-ups can do beer and wine tasting here and can even take a plastic cup to go wander around outside. Their market store is filled with homemade dressings and pickled/canned goods that were almost too pretty to think about eating!
Bike the Little Traverse Wheelway for Spectacular Bay Views
Before heading home we had to go for a bike ride on the Little Traverse Wheelway . This is a paved bike path that goes 26 miles from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix with spectacular views of the bay all the while.
We brought up our own bikes, but opted to rent a trailer from Bahnhof Sport instead of packing ours. They offer outdoor rentals of all varieties (bike helmets to kayaks to skis) for as little as 3 hours and as long as a week.
The staff here is incredibly kind and helpful – I can’t say enough good things about them!
The trail itself was a highlight of the weekend for me. We headed toward Bay Harbor for better water views. The trail is well maintained and well marked. There are several parks and playgrounds along the way if your little travelers need a break.
If You’ve not been to a Lavender Farm, You Need to Make Plans ASAP
Our last stop of the weekend was at Lavender Hill Farm . Unfortunately, we were a little early for the lavender to be in bloom. However, the farm is free to peek around and they also offer golf cart tours for a small fee.
I can only imagine how heavenly this place is at its peak bloom!
Engage Your Brain with Educational Outdoor Attractions
Raven Hill Discovery Center has Snakes, Lizards and Plenty of Hands-On Fun
Our first stop was at Raven Hill Discovery Center . It was a delight. While we didn’t get to see everything outside due to weather, we did get to spend some time in the music garden, on the Jurassic Trail, playing in the school house, and exploring the treehouse.
Inside there are loads of fun, educational toys and games like a giant magnet table, bikes you can pedal to power light bulbs, plenty of instruments, old fashioned toys, and much more.
The highlight for my two kids was the rescue animal area.
We were the only visitors there (along with one other adult couple) and Founder Cheri Leach was informative, patient, and kind with my kids. S he went out of her way to teach my kids about the animals in a way that was accessible to them.
Oh, and she let them hold snakes and lizards!
Enjoy Free Fishing, Trails, and a Tour at Oden State Fish Hatchery
We visited the Oden State Fish Hatchery early on a Saturday and were pleased to find free fishing in one of their stocked trout ponds. The DNR provides poles, worms, and safety glasses and kids (and adults) were allowed to do some catch and release fishing.
In addition to fishing, there are lots of trails, a creek viewing area (like a living aquarium), and you can take tours of the fish hatchery if you’d like.
By the Visitors Center there is an old Department of Conservation train car that has been turned into a small museum. This was informative and there were some hands-on things for the kids to do, too.
Petoskey Knows How to Celebrate with Charming Annual Festivals
The Petoskey area is full of old fashioned festival fun year round. We happened to hit two during our visit. It’s always a good idea to see what special events might be happening while you’re visiting a new place!
Taste of the North is an annual festival that celebrates local restaurants. Several local restaurants had tables with a sampling of one of their dishes. Tastes were $2 a piece and it was a great way to try a little bit of everything . My favorite was the paella from Palette Bistro and my husband loved the authentic Polish food from the iconic Leg’s Inn .
The festival also included free admission to the Little Traverse Historical Museum and there were fun activities and games outdoors for the kids too!
The Bay Harbor In-Water Boat Show is also an annual event that was also going on during our stay. Dozens of beautiful, humongous boats park themselves in the marina for all to admire. You can slide your shoes off and peek around the boats (most of which cost more than my home-no joke).
The event was free and there was plenty of fun stuff for kids to do like fly down a wet bouncy slide and a get a balloon animal from a man on stilts. The balloon dinosaur was my son’s favorite part of the whole trip!
Space for the Whole Family With Condo Lodging Options
There is no shortage of lodging options for the Petoskey area. Between vacation rentals, hotels, and ski lodges–you definitely have plenty of choices. We stayed just outside of Petoskey, in a condo in Harbor Springs.
Staying at Trout Creek Condominium Resort was perfection for our family. Trying to sleep two littles and two grown-ups in one hotel room is stressful. We loved having space to relax after the kids were in bed.
And my kids loved sharing a room for the first time! It was also great to have our own kitchen; we enjoyed breakfast at “home” before exploring the day away.
Trout Creek offers hotel amenities like a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, hiking trails, and saunas.
Despite all the fun activities we did, my kids both thought swimming was one of the best parts; we had a hard time getting them out of the pool!
Eating Out or Ordering In Around Petoskey – Your Taste Buds Will Be Delighted
We did a bit of eating in and a bit of dining out on our stay. Restaurants tend to be a little bit pricier than they are in the Grand Rapids area, so we tried to indulge accordingly.
Petoskey Brewing came recommended by a fellow mama-friend and it was so great for our family! It’s kid-friendly (for a brewery) with great outdoor seating.
There’s no kids’ menu, but our kids happily shared a hamburger. I was thrilled to find gluten-free bread/buns available and my husband was excited to try a local brew.
We ordered in pizza from local spot Piper’s on Saturday. They offered free delivery to our condo which was a great perk. They have a lot of creative pizza options (crab rangoon pizza anyone?) and offer gluten-free and vegan options, too.
While in downtown Petoskey, we had to try the handmade gelato from American Spoon. This is the cutest little gelato shop (and be sure to check out their market next door). The coffee flavor was delightful and my toddler loved the “pink one” (strawberry).
This area is filled with wineries so we had to check out a couple. Most places are about $10 for 5 tastes (again, a little more expensive than wine tasting around Grand Rapids).
Wine tasting with kids along can be tricky, but the staff at Resort Pike Cidery and Winery were truly happy to have them there. They had plenty of board games, outdoor bag toss, and a few farm animal friends, too!
Whatever the Weather, Petoskey Delivers Big on Family Fun
I was initially worried about our fall-like forecast for a summer visit to a beach town, but Petoskey is just full of surprises. We found plenty to do in the rain and with chillier than average temperatures.
What does your family love most about Petoskey? Did we miss anything? Leave a comment and let us know!