Michigan's West Coast
The drive from Mackinaw City south on the West Coast of Northern Michigan is a scenic tour of quaint villages and towns. To start your journey take Central Avenue west to Wilderness Park Drive and turn left. Approximately 7 miles southwest to Cecil Bay Road, turn left again and follow to Gill Road. At Gill Road you will turn.
On Gill Road heading west, to Island View Road along the lakeshore to Cross Village; s
This is a twenty-mile trek of winding road through the trees with unforgettable bluff views of Lake Michigan. M-119 follows the coastline through Good Hart and into Harbor Springs.
Harbor Springs, known originally as L'Arbre Croche, was once an Ottawa Indian community in the 1700's. The logging industry continued its growth through the 1800's and when the railroad started service to Northern Michigan the summer visitors were not far behind. The City of Harbor Springs offers two public beaches. The Zorn Park beach is a block from downtown on Bay Street and Zoll Street beach near Wequetonsing is a favorite for kayakers, wind surfers, and sailors.
Heading out of town toward Petoskey enjoy the Dunes and Petoskey Stone hunting (it's the State Stone) at the Petoskey State Park. Petoskey is the hub of Little Traverse Bay. It is a small town with "big city" conveniences. This town of roughly 6,000 people is host to a major hospital/clinic, community college, historical museums, Boyne USA, Bay Harbor Golf and Skiing.
For a relaxing afternoon pick up a box lunch from Roast & Toast Cafe, 309 E. Lake Street, and take the Pedestrian Tunnel at the base of Petoskey and Bay streets to the public access site on the waterfront. You'll find boats, playgrounds, Historical Society in the old railroad depot, waterfalls, picnic tables, fishing, beautiful views, and quiet restful shade trees.
Head back to Mackinaw City on US 31 north. The drive is approximately 30 miles of two lane driving. For a special treat stop at the Dutch Oven Bakery on the main drag in Alanson. Owners John and Theresa Sirvaitis make their pastries fresh daily and serve until 5:30 pm. Pick up a couple cookies, brownies or baklava for the rest of the ride.