August 08, 2018

What to Do, Where to Stay and What to Eat Near Charlevoix, Michigan

I was so excited when we booked our trip to the Torch Lake and Charlevoix, MI area because we had never been. I read that Torch Lake is comparable to visiting the Caribbean in terms of blue clear waters and I couldn’t wait to check it out ourselves. Charlevoix is about 4 ½ hours from the Detroit area which we traveled early one Monday morning.

We visited Charlevoix, Eastport, Central Lake, Torch Lake and Lake Michigan. I definitely want to be able to explore more there another time.

Our first stop was Hotdoggers- a hotdog and sandwich shop right in downtown Charlevoix. I loved their house salad and veggie dog which was a unique homemade veggie burger with pickled asparagus and a mustard sauce. At first, I ordered a BLT and switched my order after seeing the veggie dog which sounded so unique. I was glad with my choice!

The kids split a hotdog and fries and Troy got a Chicago dog and chili fries. Everyone loved their lunch. I was excited to see that the mascot was a long haired dachshund like my mom’s dog. The inside was decorated really cute and had purple sparkly seats which Adalyn was all about.

We checked into where we were staying Torch Bay Inn and Cottages located in Eastport, MI. We had our own cottage and I was so pleasantly surprised! The cottage was extremely clean and updated very modern. I don’t have a single complaint about where we stayed! We had an outdoor patio which Troy and I relaxed at each evening when the kids were trying to fall asleep.

The bathroom had a wonderful stone shower and the bathroom was very large. FYI for parents of young kids- the perfect place for a pack and play! Also, the inn is just across the street from a great restaurant and super close to a park with trails and beaches to Lake Michigan and Torch Lake and only 20 minutes from Charlevoix.

We had a king sized bed and pull out couch which was perfect for Adalyn. There was a kitchenette with a microwave, sink, silverware, plates, a mini fridge and more. The cottage also had a table with chairs in case you want to dine in your room.

The cottage was super spacious. A family of 5 could easily fit in there. We had never stayed in our own cottage together so this was super special. 

The grounds were well maintained with cute touches such as flowers all over and wine bottle décor. I would highly recommend staying at Torch Bay Inn and Cottages if you want to visit the Torch Lake area.

That night, we went back to Charlevoix for dinner at Scovie’s. Must-haves are the jalapeno popper dip and super fresh marinara sauce. We also ordered a delicious cherry chicken and chicken marsala. The green beans were cooked perfectly and I loved the toasted almonds. The atmosphere was super family friendly which was perfect for us with kids.

Don’t forget to grab dessert to go from the case in the front. They serve lunch all day in the front of the restaurant if you just want to grab food to go.

Along with the shops in Charlevoix, we enjoyed watching the bridge raise up at each ½ hour and hour. It was so exciting for the kids to see the bridge and road raise so that boats could go by. We also enjoyed walking the canal walkway to the lighthouse for beautiful views of the water.

The next morning, we went to breakfast at Torch Lake Café which was literally right across the street from our hotel. It is the cutest light yellow building with a covered porch that you can dine at. We enjoyed eggs, home fries, bacon, eggs and more. Everything was delicious!

We went to Barnes Park which I highly recommend for a beautiful beach, Petoskey stone findings and swimming in Lake Michigan. It is super close to the hotel we stayed at and we could have even walked there. Jumping off the sand dunes was a favorite for everyone!

We were walking on the beach when a huge downpour occurred!!! We ran back and had to change up our plans a bit due to the pouring rain.

We drove over to Traverse City which was about a 40 minute drive and hit up our favorite mall Grand Traverse Mall. We always find good deals there and the kids love to play at the indoor playground.
For lunch, we ate delicious sandwiches from Harwood Gold in Charlevoix which we picked up the day before. 

It is a grab and go café with sandwiches, salads, baked goods, coffee, drinks and more. They also have a ton of products to sample and purchase which are made with maple syrup from a nearby farm. I recommend their raspberry maple coulis! I can’t wait to enjoy it on waffles and pancakes.

The kids napped back at the inn and afterwards, we hit up Friske’s Orchard which was about 6 minutes down the road. They had an awesome store with fresh produce, baked goods, souvenirs and more. Troy and I can’t pass up apple fritters so we grabbed one to split along with a cherry cake donut and enjoyed them outdoors.

They had a cute maze for the kids along with farm animals which was a highlight. It was Oliver’s first time seeing goats and we loved petting them and Oliver gave them a kiss! We love animals so much!! They also had an incredible playground for the kids including a huge Noah’s Ark playground. If you are in the area, I highly recommend stopping by if you have kids. They will absolutely love it like my kids did.

After, we visited William K. Good Day Park beach which was about 2 miles away. We finally got to see what everyone was talking about when they talked about how gorgeous Torch Lake was! The water even where it was 6 feet deep was clear to the bottom. They have a nice swimming area that is marked. We had a ton of fun playing in the water.

We brought along a boogie board which was fun for the kids to float on and we walked the little boardwalk.

We enjoyed dinner at Torch Lake Café which was our favorite meal of the trip. I can’t recommend the spinach salad with bacon, strawberries and pecans enough as well as the tomato basil pasta. The pasta was super creamy and the warm bacon vinaigrette was amazing. Need to recreate both of these ASAP! I couldn’t have enjoyed my meal more. Troy loved his wedge salad, French onion soup and chicken parmesan. We shared everything with the kids. The best part was that we ate outside on the patio which was so nice.

After dinner, we went back to Barnes Park beach and I am so happy that we did! It was a bit late when we arrived and we weren’t sure how the kids would be but they had SO much fun and played in the water, played in the sand, Troy made Adalyn a mermaid tail out of sand, we walked on the beach and more. It was one of those evenings you never want to end and that you’ll always remember. The sunset was gorgeous! I highly recommend stopping here!!

The next morning, we packed up and headed 30 minutes south to my favorite part of the trip, Grass River Natural Area where they had an amazing hiking trail. We did about 1 ½ miles and it was just so special. Adalyn walked most of the way and Troy wore Oliver. They have a boardwalk trail for part of it and a well-groomed trail for the rest. I love hiking and seeing the river, walking through the woods and being with my family is my favorite thing in the world. Just don’t forget the bug spray…

On our trip, we got to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC. It had so many amazing features that we couldn’t stop telling people about them. The side mirrors went in on their own when you turn the car off. If you start to get out of your lane, it beeps so you know to pay better attention. When a car is driving by you, the side mirror lights up.

When it starts to rain, the wipers turn on automatically. When you have cruise control on, if the car senses another car coming up, it will slow down automatically. The safety features really blew us away and I couldn’t recommend it more for a safe vehicle. I do like my minivan for space but besides that, the car was complete luxury and drove really safe and smooth.

Our trip to the Torch Lake/ Charlevoix area was like a dream! Everything went perfectly aside from a couple of overtired kiddo tantrums. I can’t wait to visit again and check out more.

Thank you to Torch Bay Inn, some of the restaurants and Mazda for providing accommodations, meals and vehicle to test out.

Share this post: