Michigan State Parks: Petoskey

Ari and Jessi at Petoskey State Park sign

Petoskey State Park is just over 300 acres and is located directly between the towns of Harbor Springs and Petoskey on Little Traverse Bay, an inlet of Lake Michigan.

The entire Petoskey area is a very beautiful location, making it an extremely popular destination for family reunions, weddings, outdoor activities, fall color tours and much more. Petoskey State Park‘s central location ensures that its campground is almost always full.

History of Petoskey State Park

The land where the state park is now was originally a tannery back in the late 1800s. In 1934, the city of Petoskey purchased the land and opened the Petoskey Bathing Beach for city residents. In the late 1960s, the state bought the beach and additional property, and in 1970 opened the campground for the first campers.

Petoskey State Park Camping

There are two campgrounds at Petoskey State Park. The Dunes Campground has 80 sites, while the Tannery Creek Campground has 100. Two mini cabins also are located in the Tannery Creek section.

Petoskey State Park campground map

The Dunes Campground has a more rustic feel with small dirt sites, lots of trees and a decent amount of privacy between sites. Many of the sites are tent-only. As of 2019 it only had 20 amp service but is scheduled for an electrical upgrade between late 2020 and early 2021.

The Tannery Creek Campground has all paved sites. Most have 20/30 amp with a handful of 50amp sites. Rigs of all sizes will have the ability to maneuver and fit in this campground. The sites are packed in and while you don’t necessarily feel like you’re on top of your neighbor, be prepared to hear and see them. While there are many tall and mature trees throughout the campground, there is very little to no privacy between sites. It is an extremely popular park for families and kids will be everywhere, so pay attention and drive slow.

Beach and Day-Use Area

One of the selling points of Petoskey State Park is the mile-long sandy beach, the perfect place for swimming or watching the sunset.

Near the day-use area, the beach is very wide and expansive and luckily has not been impeded too much by the high water levels. Amenities you’ll find include volleyball courts, swing sets, picnic tables, a concession stand, and a new bathhouse. This place is very popular with locals and visitors alike and the parking lot tends to fill up on summer weekends.

You also can access the beach from the Tannery Campground. At the end of each loop in the campground is a wooden boardwalk that leads to a viewing platform overlooking the lake, as well as steps that lead down to the beach. At this end of the beach, you’ll find mostly dune grass, but there are paths to the water.

Trails at Petoskey State Park

Petoskey State Park map

Close to 3 miles of trails wind through Petoskey State Park. The shortest is the Campground Trail which runs between the two campgrounds.

The Old Baldy Trail includes a stairway that leads up Old Baldy. While there used to be a spectacular view of the lake from the top, the trees have grown considerably, blocking that view. Bring a snack and some water and enjoy the picnic table at the top.

The Portage Trail is the longest, just shy of a mile, and winds up and through an old dune and forest. Be on the lookout for plants and wildlife.

Nearby activities

Just south of the park is the quaint northern Michigan beach town of Petoskey that is very popular with a lot of cute shops, restaurants, and local activities. Other things nearby include Boyne Falls, Charlevoix, the Tunnel of Trees, golf courses and more.

A nice touch at the state park is that the Petoskey Downtown Trolley periodically stops by during the day to transport campers from the park into town. You also can call and schedule a pickup if you have a group that wants to head in at a certain time.


We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. (We have a video about Petoskey State Park here.) You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see our progress as we visit each park on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

2 thoughts on “Michigan State Parks: Petoskey”

  1. Our favorite park we have a class A with no toad we ride on our bikes to Harbor Springs farmers market then to Petoskey for some good city walking. We are on Instagram ourcottagetravels

    1. That is a great park for visiting the local towns, either by car or bike — or even the trolley when it’s available. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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