Explore the Circle Tour in Northern Michigan
After exiting Traverse City on US-31, head north 17 miles to Elk Rapids along the Grand Traverse Bay. Elk Rapids is physically split by Elk River with beautiful places to walk and a bustling downtown area. The next town you will reach is Charlevoix, 33 miles north of Elk Rapids. Continue following US-31, now headed northeast, for 17 miles to the city of Petoskey.
After Petoskey, the LMCT continues on US-31 all the way to the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This segment of the LMCT does not follow the coast closely but rather cuts through the central part of the state. From Mackinaw City to St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula, the LMCT is joined by the Lake Huron Circle Tour.
While no highway closely follows the Michigan shoreline north of Petoskey, there are a couple of destinations worth the detour. Highway M-119, popularly known as the tunnel of trees, is a beautiful drive. In the fall, the colors are breathtaking and draw travelers from all around. This is near the city of Harbor Springs, a popular spot for tourists. On the west side of the tip of the Lower Peninsula is the grand Wilderness State Park with over 10,000 protected acres and over 26 miles of shorelines.
The beauty of Northern Michigan is so stunning that if often gives visitors an "Aahh" moment. The communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Boyne City, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island have so much to offer year 'round. If you are looking for a beautiful setting with a variety of outdoor activities plus fabulous lodging, dining, and shopping....well, this is where you will find all that plus more. Visit Northern Michigan year 'round!