Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Harbor Springs, MI

  • Published 2022/03/16

Harbor Springs in Emmet County in Michigan is best known for its summer resorts that provide lots of family-fun entertainment across the entire city!

Whether it’s a relaxing getaway outdoors or an adventurous, fun-filled vacation you’ve been yearning for, this city has it all for you!

From historical museums to expansive parks and rolling greens to scenic drives and routes, you can’t run out of things to do in this great district.

The waterfront community also allows for various watersports and activities that can complete your trip!

Here are some of the best destinations you can visit in Harbor Springs, MI:

Take in the Breathtaking Views at Tunnel of Trees

Colorful Tunnel of Trees framing the road

Gary R Ennis Photos /

Located on the M-119 Highway in Harbor Springs, you can find a canopied driving route that gives you an incredible view of the varying colors of leaves that line the roads.

True to its name, Tunnel of Trees is named after the evergreen and hardwood trees that create a canopy over the roads for vehicles that pass through.

Tunnel of Trees and an empty road

Ricardo Reitmeyer /

Best known as one of the nation’s most iconic tourist attractions, this is a site you wouldn’t want to miss especially if you’re traveling here during the autumn season, where you get a colorful array of leaves.

You may also find local shops and restaurants on your drive along this scenic route that stretches over 60 miles from one end to another.

Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture an amazing view when driving by!

Bright trees of Tunnel of Trees

Gary R Ennis Photos /

Learn about the History of Harbor Springs at Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

Found right at the city center, Harbor Springs Area Historical Society is an interactive museum that will tell you all about the rich history of Harbor Springs!

Originally established as a courthouse in 1886, this historical building was converted into a museum that was officially opened to the public in 2008.

Using their wide range of exhibits and collections for over a decade, this museum is complete with a fun and educational experience about this little city.

Inside, you can find different types of galleries with artifacts and photographs that take you back all the way to World War II.

They also celebrate and preserve the rich traditions of this city which you can learn all about on your trip!

Don’t miss the events they host in order to get a full experience this museum has to offer!

Catch a Movie at Harbor Springs Lyric Theatre

Sitting at the heart of Harbor Springs is a classic movie theater that offers classic and crowd favorite movies for everyone to enjoy at Harbor Springs Lyric Theatre!

Complete with a concession stand to go along with the movie of your choice, you can wind back and relax at this cinema house with your friends and family.

This non-profit organization started in 2014 and has been serving the community and surrounding areas since then.

Harbor Springs Lyric Theatre is more than just a movie house as it also serves as a cultural center where both tourists and locals alike can gather.

This state-of-the-art theater and cinema is a facility you should definitely check out on your trip to this waterfront city!

Spend Time in Nature at Offield Family Working Forest Reserve

In downtown Harbor Springs, you’ll find Offield Family Working Forest Reserve, an outdoor preserve with a variety of recreational activities you can enjoy!

Featuring a lovely forest where you can admire nature, a vast meadow, and hiking and biking trails, there’s truly a lot to see and do!

You can take a stroll along their hiking trails while keeping an eye out for any wildlife that may pass by on land or overhead.

This hilly forest reserve covers over 280 acres of land, making it the ideal place to take nature classes where you can learn all about the various wildlife that call this reserve their home.

Since its purchase in 2009, this reserve has been maintained and sustained in part of the Commercial Forest Program that aims to protect the land used for timber production.

This reserve is open for public consumption to boost the appreciation of our natural resources and environment while providing relaxation to those who visit!

Take a Trip to a Unique Park at Harbor Springs Deer Park

Deer parks aren’t a common sight to see but it’s a good thing Harbor Springs has one just for you!

This fenced park is home to some curious yet friendly deer that are more than excited to see you!

You may get the chance to pet them if they come towards the fence or even feed them straight from the palm of your hand.

This destination is an ideal place to spend time with family and friends that’s been open for over 70 years!

Make sure to stop by this unique deer park while on your trip to Harbor Springs.

Dine at Willow

Willow features modern American cuisine with a view overlooking Little Traverse Bay!

Their menu regularly changes to keep the diverse options flowing for their customers while ensuring that all ingredients used are of the highest quality as they utilize the farm-to-table method.

Found at the heart of Harbor Springs, this restaurant is dedicated to supporting local farmers as they purchase only locally grown and sourced products.

More than just a restaurant, they also feature a bar where guests can try out their expertly curated selection of drinks.

Make sure to book a table at this restaurant before they run out of seats to ensure a slot!

Go Skiing at Nubs Nob Ski Resort

Snow covered Nubs Nob Ski Resort

Mr. Swordfish2, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Named after its founder, Norman “Nubby” Sarns, Nub’s Nob Ski Resort has a wide variety of ski slopes and trails found a short 10-minute drive away from the city center.

This resort is a family-owned hill that’s been serving the community of Harbor Springs since its opening in 1958.

Nubs Nob Ski Resort is fit for all skiers of varying skill levels, whether it’s your first time or if you’re a seasoned skier.

Visitors have access to nearly 250 acres of snow and land that through the majestic slopes and trails while you take in the beauty of the hardwoods of Michigan.

This ski resort boasts and prides itself in high-quality snow, both natural and artificial, to give you the best possible skiing experience.

You may even learn about their snowmaking and grooming with the chance to use their snowmaking guns to show you how they produce the finest snow at this resort!

Other amenities include a conveyor belt, chair lifts, lodges, and so much more!

This resort is also safe for kids who wish to try skiing for the first time, making Nubs Nob Ski Resort the perfect place for a complete family outing.

Attend the Harbor Springs Festival of The Book

Calling all bookworms!

Held every September throughout various venues at the city center of Harbor Springs, a festival known as Harbor Springs Festival of The Book lasts for up to 3 days that attracts people from all over the world!

Readers, writers, and fellow bibliophiles gather together during this event, where they get to participate in presentations, lectures, and panel discussions for their shared love of books.

Though some events are free, there are certain registration fees and tickets required for select courses.

The first festival started in 2016 as they featured various people to present, seeking to inspire anyone of all ages, especially those who are aspiring writers and authors.

Harbor Springs Festival of The Book is a festival that only gets better and better each year, so be sure to drop by!

Visit Pond Hill Farm Winery

A short 10-minute drive away from the city center takes you to Pond Hill Farm Winery, a café, a winery, an open farmhouse, and a barn that is open to the public for various services!

Their café is home to some of the tastiest pastries and farm-fresh meals matched with sweet, hot drinks that will fill your stomach when you’re hungry after a long day!

You can also relax at their vineyard and winery that sells locally grown and produced wine, beers, and other alcoholic beverages that are perfect for a nightcap with a great view of the surrounding lakeside.

Their barn is open for younger visitors to see and pet some of their farm animals, including goats and chickens, or they can run around and take advantage of the playground.

Pond Hill Farm Winery also hosts various events and activities for families to join, such as Gnome House Hunt, Vineyard Sled Hill, and more that can cater to anyone of all ages!

There’s so much to do and see at Pond Hill Farm Winery, so be sure to add this establishment to your itinerary!

Enjoy Some Outdoor Activities at Goodhart Farms Nature Preserve

With over 645 acres of expansive grasslands containing meadows, evergreens, hardwoods, and more, Goodhart Farms Nature Preserve remains one of the greatest tourist attractions with many outdoor activities for you to do!

This rolling terrain allows guests to go horseback riding to admire the surrounding views that Lake Michigan offers.

You may even opt to go cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or take a simple hike along this preserve’s hiking trails and paths.

Since its opening to the public in 2002, guests can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and panoramic views this property has.

Whether it’s a relaxing day outdoors or an adventurous trail you’re looking for, Goodhart Farms Nature has it in store for you!

Admire the Waterfront View with a Tasty Meal at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant

Stafford’s Pier offers guests a unique dining experience with unmatched views of the water right along Little Traverse Bay.

Serving some classic American cuisine and the freshest seafood, this waterfront landmark in Harbor Springs is one of the most famous restaurants in this city.

With the option to dine indoors inside the restaurant or outdoors on their deck, you’ll be sure to have an enjoyable time.

This pier is a maritime heritage destination that you should consider visiting since this restaurant is built on the remains of a previous harbor.

They also serve some of the best brunch options every Saturday so make sure to book a reservation before you run out of seats!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Relax under the Sun at Petoskey State Park

Waters of Petoskey State Park

Nicholas Roth /

Found along the marina of Little Traverse Bay sits Petoskey State Park, a small recreational establishment to wind down after a tiring day in Petoskey City, just a short 20-minute drive from Harbor Springs.

Petoskey State Park is perfect for all ages, offering a beautiful mile-long sandy beach, hiking trails, cycling paths, volleyball courts, picnic facilities, and small playgrounds.

This park is home to one of the most breathtaking views of the sunset that would be perfect for pictures and memorable, picturesque scenery!

Sand dune landscape of Petoskey State Park

ehrlif /

For a small fee, you may even camp at their facilities to maximize your stay and their outdoor amenities.

One of the most popular activities in the park is searching for Petoskey stones that you’ll be allowed to keep, which you can remember this trip by.

Whether you’re going with your friends or family, you’ll be welcomed with open arms at Petoskey State Park, even with your dogs, since they’re pet-friendly!

Waves crashing at Petoskey State Park

Nicholas Roth /

Polish Your Golf Skills at Crooked Tree Golf Club

This golf course situated along Little Traverse Bay is one of the community’s go-to places for golfing!

Providing guests with lovely roughs and fairways, golfers of all skill levels are welcome to try out their 18-hole golf course.

Complete with a lovely view of the water and a stunning sightline of the surrounding trees, the atmosphere at Crooked Tree Golf Club is more than relaxing!

The sunny skies combined with the newly renovated layout provide guests with some of the greatest course conditions to give them the best-golfing experience this city has to offer.

Whether you’re an avid golfer or not, Crooked Tree Golf Club is more than happy to welcome you!

Indulge in Indoor Entertainment at Odawa Casino

Exterior of Odawa Casino

Thomas Barrat /

Odawa Casino is an entertainment destination sought-after by both tourists and locals with over 50,000 square feet of gaming space featuring some of the most thrilling tables games and slot machines!

Inside, you can find multiple restaurants and retail outlets, a concert venue, a nightclub, and a circular lounge bar in the middle of the gaming floor.

They also feature Sports Betting for certain teams where you can casually bet or participate in high-stakes rounds.

Odawa Casino Resort has long been celebrated for mixing business with pleasure.

Try your luck at Odawa Casino, and you might just win the jackpot and get featured on their page!

Go Fishing at Spring Lake Park

Spring Lake Park in Petoskey City is a lovely place for outdoor recreational activities out in the water!

After a long day under the sun, some water activities such as boating and swimming are sure to refresh you!

You may even catch some swans, ducks, and other wildlife strolling by along this lake so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

Guests may also bring picnic items to make the most out of this establishment or take a lovely walk around the surrounding area.

Other amenities include gazebos, boardwalks, picnic tables, and more to give you and your loved ones a relaxing, comfortable getaway!

Final Thoughts

This quaint, waterfront city is complete with a variety of things to do and see while on a getaway trip!

In Northern Michigan, Harbor Springs is the ideal place to try out new sports and activities to make some great memories.

No matter what season it is or who you’re with, you’re bound to fall in love with the endless array of things to keep you entertained in this bayside city.

Adventure awaits you at Harbor Springs, Michigan so book a trip now!

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