23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Charlevoix (MI)

Charlevoix is a city situated on the shores of Lake Michigan in Charlevoix County, United States.

The City has a population of approximately two thousand, four hundred and sixty-seven according to the 2020 Census.

Charlevoix is one City in the United States that you should visit at least once and be sure of having a memorable experience.

There are many places to visit in Charlevoix, such as Castle Farms, Museum at Harsha House, Bier Art Gallery & Pottery Studio, Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant, Charlevoix Farmers Market, and several others.

If you are planning a visit to this city, here is a guide on the fun things to do in Charlevoix, MI.

Things to Do in Charlevoix

1. Earl Young Mushroom Houses

Earl Young Mushroom Houses
Credits: Deb Nystrom / Flickr
Earl Young Mushroom Houses

Have you ever heard of Earl Young Mushroom Houses? Earl A. Young, a man who designed and built thirty-one structures in Charlevoix.

Although he was never a registered architect, he was a realtor, insurance agent, and an American architectural designer.

Earl built the houses mostly in stone using boulders, fieldstone, and limestone he found throughout Northern Michigan.

The windows, doors, fireplaces, and roof designs are unique due to his use of curved lines; Earl’s major aim was to prove that small stones could be as glamorous as a castle.

Earl Young Mushroom Houses were constructed to create a true fairy tale side of this City and fuse with the surrounding natural landscape.

Earl A. Young built these houses over a span of fifty-two years which contributed to making Charlevoix the bustling town that it is today.

2. Boulder Manor

Boulder Manor
Credits: Deb Nystrom / Flickr
Boulder Manor

 Boulder Manor is one of the mushroom houses built by Earl Young as a waterfront home consisting of a natural stone fireplace.

Young began the construction of the house in 1928 and was delayed due to the looming Great Depression in 1929, and it was completed in the late 1930s.

Boulder Manor features a dining room with a table that can accommodate up to eight persons and a large parabola-shaped wiñdow overlooking lake Michigan.

There is a children’s playhouse where kids play, explore and have fun, as well as a picnic area with a gas grill.

Address: 1 Lake Shore Dr, Charlevoix, MI 49720-8909 United States

3. Charlevoix Cinema III

Charlevoix Cinema III
Credits: Zoran Zeremski / Shutterstock

A perfect way to spend the day is by watching a blockbuster movie; if this will interest you, visit Charlevoix Cinema III.

Charlevoix Cinema III was initially called Palace theatre and was established in 1818 in a mock-Tudor style design with a small balcony and painted in shades of blue.

On March 5, 1945, the cinema was demolished by a fire and was later rebuilt with a five hundred and twenty-four seating capacity.

It was a single screen theatre until it was closed, afterward around 2002 a new cinema with three screens while the previous one became a clothing store.

Charlevoix Cinema III features contemporary seats which are highly comfortable and offers clear views of the screen from any position.

There are concessions stands in the area that serve hot and delicious pizzas, chilled drinks, and many other snacks.

Address; 107 Antrim St #1305, Charlevoix, MI 49720, United States

4. Charlevoix Public Library

Charlevoix Public Library
Credits: LeicherOliver / Shutterstock

Charlevoix Public Library was built in 1927, and it was designed as a primary school with colorful artworks, expert workshops, and fascinating artifacts.

The library is beautifully designed with large, vibrant murals made by a renowned local artist who wanted to showcase the bustling city life in Charlevoix when the main building was erected during the 1920s era.

Charlevoix Public Library underwent renovations when its previous space became too small to accommodate everything and everyone. Hence, the community decided to refurbish the Art Deco building for the new library instead of destroying it.

The process involved renovating the entire 28, 000 sq. ft of the existing building and an extra construction of two additional 6, 000 sq. ft.

Charlevoix Public Library features a children’s activity room, a meeting center/community room with space that can accommodate 150 people, a computer center, and quiet study rooms.

There are Michigan archives, a local history room, a conference room, and computer labs. Occasional readers enjoy comfortable furniture in the former kindergarten room before a gas fireplace.

Charlevoix Public Library is open on Sunday from 1pm-5pm, Monday to Thursday from 10am-8pm, and Friday to Saturday from 10am-5pm.

Address: 220 Clinton St, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

5. Charlevoix Historical Society

Charlevoix Historical Society
Credits: Jan Davis Ruthig / Flickr
Charlevoix Historical Society

The Charlevoix Historical Society is a non-profit organization in 1879, which manages a museum at the Harsha house with rotating exhibits all year round.

Their main objective is to connect the past and future through active participation in local preservation efforts, diverse & interactive experiences, and educational programs.

The Charlevoix Historical Society had a strong revitalization in 1972. The museum at Harsha house was formerly the home of Horace Harsha, a businessman, and his granddaughter donated it in 1979 to the Historical Society.

You’ll find permanent exhibits like a photography exhibit displaying and promoting one hundred and fifty Charlevoix history.

The Charlevoix Historical Society also manages the Charlevoix Train Depot, and the historic South Pier Lighthouse, which are open for use by members for special occasions.

Address: 103 State Street, Charlevoix, MI 49720, United States

6. Mt. McSauba Recreational Area

Mt. McSauba Recreational Area
Credits: yanik88 / Shutterstock

Mt. McSauba Recreational Area is a top-notch recreational area in Charlevoix with a stretch of absolute pleasure in Lake Michigan.

This recreational area is filled with a soft and serene atmosphere offering a wide variety of exciting outdoor activities.

Mt. McSauba Recreational Area offers visitors an opportunity to play on the 18-disc frisbee golf course, climb beach dunes, and trails perfect for hiking.

Mt. McSauba Recreational Area was officially opened in 1956 by a group of local fathers who requested and wanted a ski club created for their kids to have fun during the winter season.

Mt. McSauba Recreational Area is open for an amazing snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating.

Address: 9223 Mt McSauba Rd, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

7. Beaver Island Boat Company

Beaver Island Boat Company
Credits: Deb Nystrom / Flickr
Beaver Island Boat Company

Since 1984, the Beaver Island Boat Company has been ferrying people and cars from Charlevoix to Beaver Island.

The Beaver Island Boat Company’s flagship ferry, the Emerald Isle built in 1997 through state and federal grants of 3.4 million.

Aside from the ferry schedule, the Beaver Island Boat Company offers tours of Beaver Island, referred to as “America’s Emerald Isle.”

With or without ferry tickets, tours can be booked, such as the half day or full day tours taking guests through the Island’s St. James Village, shops, the two lighthouses, churches, and museums.

Book a full day tour and also get a chance to go beachcombing along Iron Ore Bay; you will surely have an amazing experience.

Address: 103 Bridge Park Drive , Charlevoix, MI 49720, United States

8. Lake Charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix
Credits: Walter Perkins / Shutterstock
Lake Charlevoix

How does visiting the third largest lake sound? Great right? Then add a visit to Lake Charlevoix to your list of things to do in Charlevoix.

Lake Charlevoix comprises 6960.5 hectares ( 17, 200 acres) and a pristine shoreline of 90.1 kilometers (56 miles).

The lake has a maximum depth of 122 feet in the main basin and 58 feet in the south arm, with many nice public beaches.

Lake Charlevoix is a great location for fishing, be sure to find fishes like yellow perch, bluegill, walleye, rock bass, and more.

This lake is a favorite spot for many families in quest to have fun; make sure you check out the verdant parks and stellar water activities such as kayaking and sailing.

Also check out our list of things to do in Bay Citythings to do in Cadillac and cool things to do in Kalamazoo, if you are planning a Michigan road trip.

9. Charlevoix South Pier Light Station

Charlevoix South Pier Light Station
Credits: Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock
Charlevoix South Pier Light Station

Charlevoix South Pier Light Station is one place that will make you appreciate Charlevoix’s seaside bliss; this is an iconic and fascinating radiant red lighthouse that overlooks Lake Michigan.

The first lighthouse in Charlevoix was built in 1884 and located on the north pier as a way to guide ships to the newly improved pine River Channel.

Charlevoix South Pier Light Station’s original structure existed for sixty-three years but had to be replaced in 1947 due to terminal deterioration.

The new steel structure was installed in 1948, and the light was moved to its current location on the South pier; the lantern and lens were transferred to the new one from the old structure.

 Charlevoix South Pier Light Station is a place where you get to enjoy amazing sunset views over the water as you also take gorgeous pictures of yourself and the environment.

Address: 2 Grant St, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

10. Michigan Beach Park on Lake Michigan

Michigan Beach Park on Lake Michigan
Credits: Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock
Michigan Beach Park on Lake Michigan

Are you in for a fun experience? If yes, add a visit to Michigan Beach Park to your checklist of fun things to do in Charlevoix.

Michigan Beach Park is the perfect place for anyone to spend a sunny afternoon while having incredible outdoor fun.

The park is located on Lake Michigan with a marvelous and soothing shore that offers visitors an opportunity to shop for Michigan’s favored Petoskey stones.

Michigan Beach Park consists of a lovely and safe playground for the children with plenty of play equipment for the kids to explore.

There are fishing spots, forested walking trails, and well-maintained athletic courts such as volleyball courts and more.

Michigan Beach Park features clean and conducive restrooms; make sure you experience the beautiful setting of the sun.

Address: 95 Grant St. Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

11. Harwood Gold Cafe

Harwood Gold Cafe
Credits: Harwood Gold / Facebook
Harwood Gold Cafe

Every tourist-friendly City ought to have a place that serves a hearty breakfast and Harwood Gold Cafe offers just that.

Harwood Gold Cafe is a family-owned and operated cafeteria that officially opened in 2016 and offers an impressive farm-to-table dining menu.

The restaurant is owned by the Parson Family, who also operates a farm founded in 1898 and has been harvesting maple and making syrup for five generations.

The farm has continuously grown in the business of syruping, offering three grades of maple syrup and other related products.

Harwood Gold Cafe serves delectable meals like Braised Beef & Vegetable, beef brisket & mushroom, Montmorency Cherry, and Egg & Bacon Breakfast.

Harwood Gold Cafe offers different beverages like coffee, smoothies, Americano, espresso, cappuccino, mocha, and more.

Address: 230 Bridge St, Charlevoix, Michigan 49720, United States

12. Terry’s of Charlevoix

Terry’s of Charlevoix
Credits: Terry’s of Charlevoix / Facebook
Terry’s of Charlevoix

Terry’s of Charlevoix is a lovely upscale restaurant worth the stop and every penny you may spend.

They provide a romantic ambiance that draws many locals and visitors while offering an amazing dining experience.

Terry’s of Charlevoix offers a small but outstanding for many, comprising locally sourced seafood coupled with the incredible views of the water.

They serve meals like Meuniere, escargot, caesar salad, veal morel, Cherry Glazed Duck, filet mignon, Wild Mushroom Ravioli, Raspberry Creme Brulee, chicken schnitzel, long island duckling, French onion soup, and more

Terry’s of Charlevoix also offers an extensive wine list, including Chardonnay, Arcturos Unoaked, Old Mission Peninsula, MI, Malbec Don Miguel Gascon, Mendoza, Argentina, Pinot Noir Reserve, Argyle, Willamette Valley, Oregon and more.

They are open from Sunday to Thursday from 5pm-9pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5pm-10pm.

Address: 101 Antrim St, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

13. Museum at Harsha House

Museum at Harsha House
Credits: Royalbroil [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Museum at Harsha House
If you want to learn about the City of Charlevoix, visiting the Museum at Harsha House is one of the top things to do in Charlevoix .

Museum at Harsha House is a beautiful Victorian-style house that brings the history of Charlevoix to life.

The Museum is managed and operated by Charlevoix Historical Society; you’ll find an extensive collection of interesting artifacts and archival photos.

Members of the Charlevoix community donated the materials exhibited here; the museum showcases the bygone fashion through its lovely three rooms.

Museum at Harsha House displays the original marriage license of Ernest Hemingway’s with his wife, a talented 1917 player piano in working condition, and more.

Address: 103 State St. Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

14. Fisherman’s Island State Park

Fisherman's Island State Park
Credits: Ed McDonald / Flickr
Fisherman’s Island State Park

Fisherman’s Island State Park is nestled on 9.65 kilometers of Lake Michigan’s Pristine Shoreline, an evident mother nature’s excellence.

The park is a magnificent lakeside park that spreads to 2, 678 acres of well-maintained space with an authentic island vibe.

Fisherman’s Island State Park consists of high dunes, enchanting cedar bogs, and a beautiful, inviting beach.

The park features an outstanding network of hiking trails and a beautiful picnic area perfect for reunions or get-togethers.

For those who would love to stay for a while, incredibly rustic camping sites are scattered throughout the island’s interior landscape with aspen trees, birch, and tall maple.

Address: 16480 Bells Bay Rd S, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

15. The Cantina

 The Cantina
Credits: The Cantina / Facebook
The Cantina

For a memorable dining experience, add a visit to the Cantina to your list of things to do in Charlevoix with your loved ones.

The Cantina boasts an energetic and warm atmosphere with a casual setting for higher comfortability and enjoyment.

This restaurant serves meals made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients of high quality, which is the major reason for the amazing tastes of each meal.

The Cantina offers a comprehensive food menu that includes flavorful beans, shredded cabbage, fluffy rice, spicy pico de gallo, Chihuahua cheese, cool avocado, tacos, chorizo, and more.

While in the restaurant, Try out stellar margarita, or a warm churro served with chocolate and caramel dipping sauce; it is worth it.

The Cantina is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 11am-10pm, Friday & Saturday from 11am-11pm, and Sunday from 11am-9pm (closed on Monday).

Address: 101 Van Pelt Pl, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

Considering a Michigan road trip, check out our guides on things to do in Manistee, things to do in Port Huron and things to do in Saugatuck for a memorable trip.

16. Charlevoix Circle of the Arts

Charlevoix Circle of the Arts
Credits: guruXOX / Shutterstock

Charlevoix Circle of the Arts was founded in 2008 as a non-profit organization through the efforts of volunteered local artists and community members.

This organization is dedicated to motivating and enlightening the community in the performing and visual arts.

Charlevoix Circle of the Arts offers a wide variety of art and cultural events such as entertaining theatrical, attention-grabbing visual arts exhibits, music performances, and stimulating lectures.

This nonprofit organization is certainly the major highlight of Charlevoix’s cultural scene; visitors also get the chance to view the high-quality works made by local artists, such as photography, pottery, hand-blown glassworks, and paintings.

Charlevoix Circle of the Arts offers art classes, yoga, dance instruction, special events, and many other programs for both adults and children.

 The gift shop is filled with items made by local artists, Charlevoix Circle of the Arts is open from Monday to Saturday from 11am-5pm (closed on Sunday)

Address: 109 Clinton St, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

17. Bier Art Gallery & Pottery Studio

Credits: Curioso.Photography / Shutterstock

Whether you’re an art lover or not, add a visit to Bier Art Gallery & Pottery Studio to your list of things to do in Charlevoix.

Bier Art Gallery & Pottery Studio has been in business for more than thirty years and provides a lively and welcoming space for artists to explore.

The art gallery displays the works of numerous local artists on display, and visitors are given a chance to watch artists as they mold, sculpt and paint their latest masterpieces.

Bier Art Gallery & Pottery Studio showcases fine sculptures, functional pottery, paintings, jewelry, delicate ceramic art, and flickering glassworks.

If you have plans to venture into the artistic world, you can sign up for pottery and painting classes. Also, make sure you shop for special gifts for yourself or a loved one; the staff is always ready to attend to you.

Address: 3500 US-31, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

18. Charlevoix Farmers Market

Charlevoix Farmers Market
Credits: Chubykin Arkady / Shutterstock

One of the top things to do in Charlevoix is shopping at Charlevoix Farmers Market, a market located in the town’s downtown district.

Charlevoix Farmers Market is one of the most popular farmers’ markets in the country, attracting hundreds of people.

The market features a large selection of colorful and fresh vegetables and fruits sourced from hardworking local farmers who takes pride in showcasing their goods.

Charlevoix Farmers Market also offers good deals on scented candles, baked goods, fresh flowers, fragrant soaps, and more.

The market helps bring the community together and educates the people about health as a family by offering the best local produce, artisan baked goods, and more.

Charlevoix Farmers Market supports the local growers and nurtures small businesses and organises instructions on gardening tips, expert cooking demonstrations, and floral arranging, including hands-on activities for kids.

Address: 220 Clinton St, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

19. Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant

 Stafford's Weathervane Restaurant
Credits: Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant / Facebook
Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant

Are you planning a family eat-out? Dining at Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant is amongst the best things to do in Charlevoix.

Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant is located in a restored grist mill overlooking the waters of the radiating pine river channel.

There is a notable and striking stone fireplace; you will notice it the moment you walk in; made with smooth glacial boulders shaped into an image of Michigan.

Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant offers a breezy outdoor deck where guests can dine and watch the activity of boats that sail by and the

 working drawbridge.

The restaurant serves meals like Prime Rib French Dip with Horsey Sauce, shrimp cocktails, Lamb Lolipop, carrot cake, garlic butter, Plank Whitefish, Parmesan Crusted Walleye, Fish and Chips, French Onion Soup, and more.

Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant is always open from Sunday to Thursday from 11:30am-9pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11:30am-9:30pm.

Address: 106 Pine River Ln, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

20. Downtown Charlevoix

Downtown Charlevoix
Credits: Michigan Municipal League / Flickr
Downtown Charlevoix

No list of fun things to do in Charlevoix is complete without a visit to Downtown Charlevoix, the soul and heart of the City.

Downtown Charlevoix is a region in the City with an abundance of lovely local shops and fantastic delicious dining.

You can go shopping, stroll along the harborfront, watch the boats sail on Lake Michigan, grab a nice dinner or simply relax while in the area.

Downtown Charlevoix features a pedestrian-friendly plaza called Hoop Skirt Alley with an outdoor gathering space and attractive decorative lighting with comfy seating.

Address: 210 State St Charlevoix, Michigan 49720 United States

21. North Point Nature Preserve

North Point Nature Preserve
Credits: BalanceFormCreative / Shutterstock

If you feel like getting outdoors to have fun, add a visit to North Point Nature Preserve to your list of things to do in Charlevoix.

North Point Nature Preserve is a twenty-seven area located behind Mount McSauba comprised of wooded areas.

The preserve features an open sand dunes along more than 2, 500 feet of shoreline, an undeveloped shoreline.

North Point Nature Preserve serves as a refuge for three endangered species of native plants with wildlife like eagles, porcupines, loons, great blue herons, and harbors deer.

This is a popular location for cross country skiers during the winter season and hikers during the summer months. North Point Nature Preserve consists of 1.5 miles of trails easily accessible from either of two trailheads along Mt. McSauba Road.

Address: 9310 McSauba Rd, Charlevoix, MI 49720, United States

22. Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water
Credits: JD Spears / Shutterstock
pork butt

A fantastic restaurant that offers deliciously prepared meals suitable for both breakfast and lunch in Charlevoix is Smoke on the Water.

Smoke on the Water is a locally owned restaurant established in 2014 by a couple, Ed Mann and Julie.

The owners originally smoked food on a small Webber grill and then served made-from-scratch meals using meats smoked on a large smoker in Athens.

Smoke on the Water smoke meats like pork butt, chicken, brisket, turkey, and salmon, except on special orders they will be an exception.

The restaurant serves brunch only on Sundays; some of the homemade foods served include apple bourban banana, buns, and bread.

Address: 103 Park Ave. Charlevoix, MI 49720, United States

23. Castle Farms

Castle Farms
Credits: ryangs / Flickr
Castle Farms

A visit to one of the historical attractions is one of the best things to do in Charlevoix. Albert Loeb built Castle Farms in 1918 as a contemporary dairy farm.

Castle Farms illustrates a French Renaissance-style castle structure with a vast dragon displayed on the grounds.

This historical site boasts an outdoor model railroad with more than 762 meters (2, 500 feet) of enormous train tracks.

Castle Farms features a uniquely manicured pattern of beautiful gardens and pathways open to everyone who would love to explore it.

The castle went through series of renovations during which the roofs were replaced, the gardens were formed, and wings returned according to original blueprints.

Several family activities and events are held at the Castle Farms, including weddings; the castle is open on Sunday from 10am-4pm, Monday to Thursday from 10am-5pm, and Friday & Saturday from 10am-2pm.

Address: 5052 M-66, Charlevoix, MI 49720 United States

Check out more cities in Michigan, here is a list of things to do in New Buffalothings to do in Ludington, and things to do in Gaylord for a fun time in this city.

Plan a Trip to Charlevoix

Charlevoix is a city filled with lots of adventures as it offers you an opportunity to participate in various recreational activities.

The city has something in store for both adult and children making it a perfect destination for a family vacation.

This list of things to do in Charlevoix will help you choose the best places to visit when you get to the city.