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Ready to get outdoors? These Northern Michigan suggestions will blow you away

Two women kayaking.
Two women kayaking.

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If you’re like most of the country, you’re probably thinking it’s about time to get out and safely enjoy life, and that is easiest outdoors.

Did you know there are more than 11,000 inland lakes and more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline in Michigan? It’s true -- we have an absolute water lover’s paradise.

If you count yourself among those who have a fondness for rivers and lakes, the Petoskey area should be at the top of your list of places to visit.

Because of its location near the 45th parallel, sunlight in Petoskey lasts longer than other spots, which means you can spend more hours on the water.

If you’re a sailor, bring your boat, and you will undoubtedly be setting your sights on a great day.

Sailing.
Sailing.

For those who love the idea of sailing but don’t know how, lessons are available for people of all ages.

You’ll want to mark the last weekend in July down in your calendar, when the Little Traverse Yacht Club hosts the “Ugotta Regatta” in the bay between the beautiful towns of Petoskey and Harbor Springs. It can be viewed from either shoreline.

If you’re more of a motor boat or fishing boat kind of person, you don’t even need to have your own. Rent one from a number of different places throughout the Petoskey-area communities. The same goes for Jet Skis or pontoon boats: Rent them, or bring your own, and you can launch them in at Crooked Lake near Alanson for a cool experience of traveling through the Inland Waterway, a series of lakes and rivers for 38 miles, which ends at Lake Huron.

Two men fishing.
Two men fishing.

If you like the quieter sports, kayaking and canoeing are terrific ways to enjoy the natural beauty of Boyne City’s Lake Charlevoix; Little Traverse Bay, or Spring Lake in Petoskey.

Not only are these peaceful ways to travel, but they are first-rate workouts for your arms and abs. For a wilder ride, you can hit the whitewater trail that ends in downtown Petoskey. It boasts the biggest fall of any river in the Lower Peninsula. Warning: This quarter-mile pathway is not for novices, and it attracts people from all around the state.

Two women kayaking.
Two women kayaking.

Have you ever tried standup paddle boards? It can be quite easy, and it has become increasingly popular over the last several years. Piquing your interest? There are plenty to rent to give it a try.

Sometimes it’s easier (and more enjoyable) to kick back and leave the piloting to the experts. In nearby Charlevoix, you can experience a family-friendly sailing cruise, or take a short trip to Mackinaw City to catch the Shepler’s Ferry for a lighthouse tour. You can also take a fishing charter out of Bay Harbor.

You can also park your car and board the brand new Little Traverse Bay Ferry for quick and beautiful treks between Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Petoskey.

We can’t forget Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, which has nearly 90,000 feet of nothing but fun for people of all ages.

Is your idea of being on the water is nothing more than bobbing along in a tube or on a raft, or playfully swimming with your favorite people? Regardless of how you want to experience a day on the water, there’s a place for all of it in the Petoskey area.

Come on in -- the water’s fine!