We’ve all heard that when you are in Northern Michigan you are never more than 4 miles from the water. But what we don’t always hear is how close we are to all sorts of amazing hiking trails and nature preserves.

Northern Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful and well maintained trails in the state.

Nature Preserves are an amazing and accessible way to see all of the beauty our county has to offer, so while you’re up here, ditch the cell phone, grab your sneakers and get in touch with nature!


Thorne Swift Nature Preserve

This beautiful preserve is located in Harbor Springs, on Lower Shore Drive. It sits on 30 acres, including 300 feet on the shores of Lake Michigan.

There are two different hiking trails that are open year round, and in the summer they offer several classes and exhibits. Not only is Thorne Swift a Nature Preserve, it is also a beach. You can walk on the board walks through the swamp then take a dip in the lake to cool down.

There are even plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy on the rainy days in Northern Michigan!

Thorne Swift Nature Preserve
6696 Lower Shore Dr
Harbor Springs, MI 49740


McCune Nature Preserve

The McCune Preserve is one of Petoskey’s hidden gems. It is located on the Minnehaha Creek. The preserve sits on 168 acres of secluded hardwood forest. The Minnehaha Creek is a spring feed creek that flows into Crooked Lake.

There is a three mile hiking trail that winds around the creek and through the woods. On your walk you will discover the peaceful wonders that nature has provided. McCune Preserve is the perfect get away!

McCune Nature Preserve
Maxwell Road
Petoskey, MI 49770
(231) 347-0991


The Headlands

West Michigan Weekly

West Michigan Weekly

Off the beaten path is where you will find this untapped treasure. The headlands have been a preserve since the 1950’s and it includes 550 acres of woodlands and two miles of beach frontage.

The Headlands is very secluded and is the perfect place to star gaze. The Headlands participates in the Dark Sky program, where a few times a year they open up their property to provide a dark space to watch the Meteor showers.

The Headlands also has a home rental on property. This house is located near the beach and has room for 22 people. The Headlands is the perfect spot for a picnic and some star gazing!

The Headlands
15675 Headlands Road
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
(231) 436-4051


Oden Island Nature Preserve

Located on the shores of Crooked Lake, Oden Island Nature Preserve is a great place to take a walk. Oden Island is a 0.8 mile easy hiking loop with two scenic over looks with benches.

Pack a lunch and take a hike, it’s the perfect way to spend a day! If hiking isn’t your thing Oden Island also has a boat launch for your kayak.

Paddlers all over Northern Michigan love Oden Island!

Oden Island Nature Preserve
Leeward Drive
Alanson, MI 49770
Phone: 231-347-0991


Round Lake Nature Preserve

Harbor Springs is the home to this family friendly preserve. Round Lake Preserve sits on 58 acers and 2,500 lake frontage.

A one mile easy hiking trail with board walks over the marsh area.  This preserve is a mix of woods, marsh and beach front.

Round Lake Nature Preserve
Powell Road
Harbor Springs, MI
(231) 347-0991



Beaches are the real reason we all come to Northern Michigan and the reason why some of us never leave.

Petoskey and Harbor Springs are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and the perfect place to view our million dollar sunsets. In Petoskey alone there are four different places to access Lake Michigan and three inland lakes! You truly are never more than four miles away from a body of water when you are up north.

So grab your sunscreen and pack the cooler and head on out to one of our amazing beaches.


Petoskey State Park

Located at the northern end of Little Travers Bay. Petoskey State Park is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The beach is sandy, safe, and clean. There is a park with swings and monkey bars across from the beach. The State Park is also home to several beautiful hikes and a camp ground with 98 sites. If you look close you may even find a Petoskey Stone, or two!

Petoskey State Park
2475 M-119 Highway
Petoskey, MI 49770
(231) 347-2311


Zorn Park and Beach

Located in Harbor Springs, on the shores of Lake Michigan, Zorn Park Beach is fun for the whole family. You can watch the boats come into the marina, while your kids play in the water. Zorn Beach has a swimming raft and life guards on duty. There are picnic benches and plenty of trees to provide shade. Just outside of downtown Harbor so there are plenty of places to grab snacks before you hit the beach!


Jones Landing Beach

Located in Petoskey on the beautiful Walloon Lake, Jones Landing is one of the newer parks in town. There is a covered pavilion and boat launch. Walloon Lake is a favorite for all who come north. The water is warm and not very wavy. If you have a kayak there is a dock so you can launch your boat and head back into the Schoof’s Creek.

Gruler Road, U.S. 131 south of Petoskey


By Britta Dennis – Employee of Bearcub Outfitter

Bearcub Outfitter is located in downtown Petoskey at 321 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI 49770. Make sure to frequent their location during your stay at Hearthside Grove for all things outdoor from clothing to gear and more.