13 Awesome Harbor Springs Michigan Things To Do on Your Northern Michigan Vacation | Best Hotels, Beaches, Casino, Restaurants, Golf Courses | See the Jaw-Dropping Tunnel of Trees and Pond Hill Farm 

Harbor Springs Michigan Things To Do | By Sherry of Traveling Michigan with Sherry and Chris | Updated September 7, 2022

Harbor Springs is a fantastic Michigan vacation getaway any time of year! Chris and I love visiting there especially in the fall as it is the gateway to the famous Tunnel of Trees

We always spend several days exploring, hiking, shopping and going for scenic fall color tour drives. Keep reading for lots of inspiration!

What is Harbor Springs Michigan known for?

For Chris and I, Harbor Springs is the gateway to exploring northwest Michigan! 

There's great hiking trails, golf, breathtaking Fall Michigan Color Tours through the Tunnel of Trees, boating, beaches, ferries to Petoskey and so many fun things to do throughout the spring, summer, fall and winter! 

Harbor Springs is perfect for weekend getaways in Michigan!

Where is Harbor Springs Michigan?

Harbor Springs Michigan is located in northwest Michigan. This lovely lakeside town is located on Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan. Harbor Springs is north of Petoskey, Charlevoix and Traverse City

  • Grand Rapids to Harbor Springs is 3 hours, 195 miles
  • Traverse City to Harbor Springs is 1 hour, 37 minutes, 75 miles
  • Mackinaw City to Harbor Springs is 45 minutes, 35 miles
  • Detroit to Harbor Springs is 4 hours, 15 minutes, 282 miles
  • Kalamazoo to Harbor Springs is 4 hours, 245 miles

Interactive Map of Harbor Springs: Best Things To Do!

Be sure to use our Interactive Google Map of Harbor Springs as you drive!

Helpful Map Tips:

  • Click on the plus and minus in the left corner to zoom in or out of the map.
  • Click on the icons for more info, addresses and photos of the stops.
  • Click on the map to drag and move it to view surrounding areas.
  • In the Header, click on the rectangle in the upper left of the map to see a menu of all of our stops. Click on anything that looks interesting to see where it is on the map. To hide the menu, click the rectangle in the header. 
  • In the Header, click on the "square" icon in the upper right side to expand the map for better viewing. 

1. Explore Downtown Harbor Springs Michigan

Take the time to wander along E. Main Street in downtown Harbor Springs.  There are lots of boutique shops, restaurants and fun stores to pop into-who knows what you might find? Harbor Springs is perfect for weekend getaways in Michigan!

It's free to park along the street.

There are public restrooms at the Marina, just south of Bay Street (corner of Bay Street and S. Spring Street). You can see the location on the map above.

We love to visit Harbor Springs Michigan throughout the year.  If visiting in the fall, you will be greeted with cheerful fall décor featuring pumpkins, gourds and spooky witches!

2. Walk Along the Scenic Harbor Springs Michigan Marina

Wandering along lovely marinas are seriously one of my favorite things to do in the summer.

I love the energy (yet peacefulness) of the bobbing boats and Chris and I always play the game of, "which one is your favorite?" Then we take turns imaging the perfect day on "our" boats. 

  • Nothing says Michigan summers like beaches, sand and boats, am I right?! 

3. Ride the Little Traverse Bay Ferry Co. Ferry from Harbor Springs to Petoskey or Bay Harbor!

Did you know you can travel by boat Bay Harbor or Petoskey from Harbor Springs?  Now you can!

Catch the Little Traverse Bay Ferry Co. from Josephine Ford Park, E. Bay St. Harbor Springs, MI and enjoy the water views to Bay Harbor or Petoskey.

(By the way, this is a great idea for this summer's romantic getaways in Michigan!)

Buy your tickets as early as possible as they often sell out. I wouldn't wait to buy tickets the day of as you might be disappointed. 

  • Little Traverse Bay Ferry Co. boats have 49 seats and are covered. 
  • You may take a bike aboard the ferry boat.
  • Restrooms are located at the landings and on board the ferry. 
  • Transit time is around 25 minutes. 

4. Grab a Game of Golf in Harbor Springs During Your Northern Michigan Vacation! 

Man golfingPhoto: Mick Haupt

If you love golf, check out these Harbor Springs Michigan Golf Courses!

  • Boyne Golf - 250 Heather Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740. Boyne Golf provides the ultimate world-class golf destination with 10 championship caliber courses spanning three resorts. They have stay and play packages with upgrades to play at The Highlands or Bay Harbor Golf Club. Great place for a Northern Michigan vacation!
  • The Highlands - 600 Highland Rd, Harbor Springs, MI 49740. Four courses, part of Boyne Golf's Michigan's Magnificent Ten, are consistently ranked amongst the best courses in the country. 
  • Bay Harbor Golf Club - 5800 Coastal Ridge Drive, Bay Harbor, Michigan. Book your tee times early!
  • Harbor Point Golf Club - 8475 S Lake Shore Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
  • Arthur Hills Golf Course - 250 Heather Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
  • Chestnut Valley Golf Course - 1875 Club House Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

5. Great Restaurants in Harbor Springs Michigan

Because I'm a sucker for any restaurants along the water with outside seating, we chose Stafford's Pier for lunch and we loved it! I mean look at this view!

We ordered chicken salad, fruit salad with candied nuts, burgers and chicken sandwiches. The views couldn't be beat, the food was great and our server was friendly so we give it a thumbs up!  

Fruit salad with candied nutsStafford's Pier Fruit Salad Lunch

Other Harbor Springs restaurants that have been recommended to us include:

  • Teddy Griffins Roadhouse - Steaks, pastas, salads, ribs and more!
  • Paper Station Bistro - Cute bistro with a few outside tables. Burgers, salads, sandwiches and I hear the onion rings are incredible!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Harbor Springs Michigan Nice? Yes! It's a great safe place to visit with friends and family.  Lots of water views, a beach, shops, restaurants, golf, hiking, skiing and so much more!

Is Harbor Springs worth visiting? Absolutely! Chris and I enjoy the area throughout the year and keep discovering new things to do and see.

What is there to do in Harbor Springs in the fall? Visiting Harbor Springs in the fall is amazing as you can visit Pond Hill Farms (cute café, buy some pumpkins, enjoy hot chocolate), go hiking at Thorne Swift Nature Preserve, go shopping and of course, drive the famous Tunnel of Trees!  There are so many things to do in in the fall in Northern Michigan!

The Harbor Springs Chamber has lots of info about events also.

6. Visiting in the Winter? Harbor Springs Skiing Opportunities are Endless!

Skiers on a ski hill in the winterIncredible Skiing at Nubs Knob in the Winter!

If you love winter downhill skiing, check out:

Nubs Nob Ski Resort 

Address: 500 Nubs Nob Rd, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

If you are looking for great skiing near Petoskey, check out Nubs Knob!  If you want a great place that is focused on incredible skiing, this is the place.

Claim to Fame: 53 ski runs. 3 Separate Peaks. 9 Experts only. 8 Most Difficult. 21 More Difficult. 15 Easiest. 1 Terrain Park. 315 Snowmaking guns. 8 Chair lifts. 1 Rope tow.

  • 427 feet of vertical drop.

Make their own snow? Yes! So you can go skiing earlier in the year. 

Does Nubs Nob Ski Resort Have Day Care: Yes! Reserve early! This is a rarity, so having childcare makes Nubs Nob one of the best ski resorts in Michigan for families with small children.

Does Nubs Nob Ski Resort Have Rental Packages? yes, there are several packages

Is Nubs Nob Ski Resort a Good Resort for Beginners? Yes! They have a ski academy for junior alpine and cross-country skiers. Just like swim lessons, skiers learn in small groups with the same instructor and friends each week. Learn all aspects of the ski area, including race, terrain park, bumps, and powder.  One of the best ski resorts in Michigan for beginners.

On-Site Lodging/Resort: Nub’s Nob does not have lodging on-site. See our recommendations below.

General Store: Yes! Tons of apparel and anything you may need during your adventure.

Boyne Highlands 

Boyne Highlands Address: 600 Highland Rd, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Definitely on our list of one of the best ski resorts in Michigan. 

Claim to Fame: The northern most slops has a great view of the Mackinaw Bridge on a clear day. 

  • 552 ft Vertical Drop

Rental Packages at Boyne Highlands Michigan? Yes!

Is Boyne Highlands Michigan a Good Resort for Beginners? yes! Boyne Highlands has snowboard and ski lessons.

On-Site Lodging/Resort at Boyne Michigan ski resort: Yes!  The Highlands at Harbor Springs offers lots of room types from single rooms to full living areas for families. There are also pet friendly rooms. You can also stay at the Highlands and ski at Boyne Mountain too.     

Related Story: Best Ski Resorts in Michigan!

Best Harbor Springs Hotels

Pillows on a bedRelax at a Harbor Springs Hotel!

The Highlands at Harbor Springs offers lots of room types from single rooms to full living areas for families. There are also pet friendly rooms. You can also stay at the Highlands and ski at Boyne Mountain too.     

There's also a cute VRBO at the Highlands too!

Cottages at Bay Harbor - 3600 Village Harbor Dr, Petoskey, MI 49770-8577. Located in Northern Michigan, the Cottages at Bay Harbor is a perfect Michigan getaway for couples, families and friends.  The spacious cottages offer plenty of space and many have kitchens.  They are located close to Lake Michigan and Crooked Tree Golf Club. Perfect Michigan vacation spot if you are a golfer, skier, or beach goer.

Inn at Bay Harbor3600 Village Harbor Dr, Bay Harbor, Petoskey, MI 49770-8577. Stunning water views, pool, beach, golf courses and spa!  You will love this luxury Michigan hotel!

Stafford's Bay View Inn2011 Woodland Ave, Petoskey, MI 49770-5069 If you love bed and breakfasts, you will love the Stafford's Bay View Inn. Guests will feel the romance of a nostalgic era with lovely views of Little Traverse Bay. Experience fine dining at their Roselawn Dining Room.

Best Western Of Harbor Springs8514 M 119, Harbor Springs, MI 49740. Pool, fitness center, free parking, free breakfast, bicycle rental and close to downtown Harbor Springs!

(So many great ideas for this summer's romantic getaways in Michigan!)

7. Visit Pond Hill Farm in Northern Michigan, You Will Love It!

Pond Hill Farms: 5699 S Lake Shore Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Oh my gosh you guys, I so love Pond Hill Farm!  You can stroll through the vineyards (their grapes are gorgeous!), enjoy a glass of their beer and wine, or shop the farm store! 

Oh, and they are open all year so it's one of our favorite places to go in Michigan.

During the winter, they are open for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, or hiking their miles of groomed trails.

How about sledding? 

The Vineyard Sled Hill is so fun and they have sleds available for you to use. 

Not only are they THE spot to get pumpkins in Northern Michigan, but they have super cute critters!

See our video at the top of this page to see their cute piggies! Squeal!

Their Biergarten Tent is outdoors and has heaters during the colder months. Also be sure to grab a meal at their cafe!  I hear the Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cheese is super yummy! 

8. Go Hiking (+ Fantastic Michigan Photography Opportunities) at Thorne Swift Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs Michigan

Address: 6696 Lower Shore Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

If you love hiking and boardwalks, you will love Thorne Swift Nature Preserve! This lovely preserve has three trails winding through woods, past small ponds and overlooks.  Oh, and one of the trails takes you right to the beach!

Read More: Thorne Swift Nature Preserve

9. Drive the Nearby Breathtaking Michigan Tunnel of Trees!

Michigan's Tunnel of Trees isn't just breathtaking in the fall, it's beautiful all year!  You will see sneak peeks of Little Traverse Bay and drive through the tiny village of Good Hart where you can't help but stop at the cute shops and General Store.  

Things to do Near Harbor Springs Michigan

10. You Gotta Check Out the Harbor Springs Michigan Boardwalk Overlook!

If you love city overlooks (and boardwalks), check out the Spring Street Bluff Boardwalk and Overlook! It's fun and a great photo opportunity! 

Where is the Harbor Springs Boardwalk? At the corner of Spring Street and Bluff is a boardwalk and platform offering great views of the city and Little Traverse Bay.

It's a great view any time of year but we love it the most in the fall as it's a great way to see the changing colors!

Chris and I always stop here during our Tunnel of Trees tour. Isn't it pretty?

This boardwalk leads down to the main city level and up to Bluff Street.

  • I recommend parking on Spring Street as I always have a hard time finding the access point and a place to park on Bluff. (See our map above.)

11. Spend a Day at Boyne Highlands

Boyne Highlands is a mecca for fantastic Michigan Getaways.

  • During the summer you can golf, segway tours, yoga, cross country trails, swim, hike, biking, bon fires and smores, play tennis and more.
  • When fall rolls around you can ride their chair lifts for unparallel panoramic views of the colorful changing trees. (Great photo opps!)
  • During the winter you can downhill and cross country ski, snowboard, snowshoeing, bon fires, tubing, sno-bikes, winter ziplining, horseback riding, take ski lessons and more!

Boyne Highlands has fantastic restaurants too, so fine or comfort food dining is always at your fingertips!

12. Soak Up Some Sun on the Beach!

Zoll Street Beach - This is a very dog friendly beach complete with gorgeous views of Little Traverse Bay.

  • This is a very dog friendly beach
  • Parking
  • Restroom
  • Picnic tables

Zorn Beach - located on  W. Bay St. just to the west of State St. The Zorn Beach is a quite popular beach in the summer. There are lifeguards. 

  • Dogs prohibited on the beach
  • Nice picnic areas with picnic tables
  • Restrooms

13. Try Your Luck at Odawa Casino Resort

People Playing CardsCome Play! Photo By Michal Parzuchowski

Odawa Casino Resort Address: 1760 Lears Rd, Petoskey, MI 49770

Odawa Casino Resort features multiple restaurants and retail stores, a concert venue called Ovation, Ozone nightclub, and a circular lounge bar in the middle of the gaming floor. 

Odawa Casino is owned and operated by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Stop on out and have a fun afternoon or evening playing, eating and dancing! I hear the buffett is awesome!

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

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Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of Travel-MI.com. This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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