The Northern Michigan boating scene is second to none, and there’s no better way to get the inside scoop than from a local boating expert. Tom Ervin, President of Walstrom Marine, gave us some insight into all things boating in the area.

Popular Big Water Destinations

“Boating in Harbor Springs and Petoskey is easily some of the best in the Midwest, if not the country. With open but protected space and close proximity to so many boating destinations, it’s easy to see why it’s a hot spot for boaters on large and small craft alike,” said Ervin. “Many are sticking close to home this summer, but day trips are an ever-popular way to enjoy our area. Destinations like Traverse City, Charlevoix, Mackinac Island, the Les Cheneaux Islands, De Tour, and Drummond Island are all in a day’s reach and great places to explore with your loved ones while still being able to make it back to port for dinner.”


“Boating in Harbor Springs and Petoskey is easily some of the best in the Midwest, if not the country. With open but protected space and close proximity to so many boating destinations, it’s easy to see why it’s a hot spot for boaters on large and small craft alike.”

Inland Lakes Spots

He continued, “In addition to the big water spots, the endless inland lakes like Lake Leelanau, Torch, Lake Charlevoix, Walloon, Burt, and Mullett Lakes are awesome spots to put in for the day. The endless blue skies and sunshine this summer have made daytrips that much easier. And with what is shaping up to be a beautiful fall, we hope you’re able to enjoy at least a few outings before it’s time to turn in for the winter.”

How to Get Out on the Water

Bay Harbor, a coastal resort and golf community that offers a lifestyle like no other, is in the heart of it all. Bay Harbor Lake Marina, just off Main Street in the Village at Bay Harbor, offers slips and docks for easy access to these big water destinations. Fishing charters are also available. Here, Bay Harbor Lake, a stunning deep-water harbor, provides a protected start before you leave the inlet to venture out to Lake Michigan.

Be sure to check for any ramp closures before you head out for the day. Give Walstrom Marine a call for other Northern Michigan dock and ramp locations or if you’re in town, stop by their Bay Harbor location.

An Inside Look

As the social centerpiece of the Bay Harbor community, Bay Harbor Yacht Club overlooks Bay Harbor Lake and is home to over 100 slips. Bay Harbor Yacht Club offers fantastic dining, club activities, events, fitness, pickleball and so much more. Not just for boaters, there’s something for everyone.

The BHYC Cruise Club is one of the Yacht Club’s many clubs within the clubs and is comprised of a very active and adventurous group of members. The group travels to different destinations on the Great Lakes including beautiful stops in Michigan, Wisconsin and Canada. They normally plan four excursions each summer during the months of June-August, with some additional day trips, dinghy rides and other meet ups closer to their home port of Bay Harbor.

In 2020, they explored popular Michigan cities including Traverse City, St. Ignace, Mackinac Island and Boyne City. For their August trip, their original destination was to visit Killarney, Ontario and the North Channel, however with travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the “Cruise Captains” quickly changed directions and headed north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and explored the beautiful natural beauty of the Pictured Rocks, Marquette and Copper Harbor as well as the impressive workings of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie. Boating, hiking, biking and outdoor exploration provide great options to social distance, while discovering the beauty of the Great Lakes region.

This is just one of the reasons Bay Harbor has become one of the most prestigious private residential resort destinations in the Midwest. Delivering world-class real estate with a lifestyle to match, this community continues to pursue excellence and a one-of-a-kind lakefront experience.

Encompassing five miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Bay Harbor is home to the area’s best amenities and lifestyle. In addition to boating, families often enjoy swimming and fishing off the shores of Lake Michigan or walking or biking along the Little Traverse Wheelway. The Bay Harbor Golf Club has been called “The Pebble Beach of the Midwest” and the Village at Bay Harbor offers lots of options for unique shopping and delicious dining.

The coolest thing about Bay Harbor is that the fun doesn’t have to end when the day does. Bay Harbor makes for a great place to stay a day, a week, or a lifetime. With more than 30 neighborhoods, Bay Harbor offers a wide array of homes and a price range to match your lifestyle. Visit ExploreBayHarbor.com to learn more about the local real estate opportunities and becoming a Bay Harbor neighbor.

No matter how long you stay, you’ll wish it could be longer. Start planning your visit today by requesting a complimentary copy of the Explore Bay Harbor magazine. Through its pages, you’ll find information on the area, local events and tips for planning your trip. Go to ExploreBayHarbor.com to find out more.