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Petoskey, MI

Perry's American Whitewater Rush!

Kayaking the Bear RiverKayaking the Bear River
Dylan bailed out halfway down the riverDylan bailed out halfway down the river
Join the American Spoon Breakfast ClubJoin the American Spoon Breakfast Club
Sweet, sweet Gelato!Sweet, sweet Gelato!
Incredible coffe and insanely delicious breakfast food!Incredible coffe and insanely delicious breakfast food!
Fruit stuffed muffins made dailyFruit stuffed muffins made daily
Daily signature soups like the Cherry Peach Pumpkin ChiliDaily signature soups like the Cherry Peach Pumpkin Chili
Staffords Historic Perry HotelStaffords Historic Perry Hotel

by Dylan

Try Petoskey's brand spankin' new Bear River whitewater kayak park! Bring your own gear or rent for the day.

1. Stay at Stafford's historic Perry Hotel

The Perry's location in downtown Petoskey is simply perfect. Watch the sun rise and set over Lake Michigan or look out across Little Traverse to see sailors in Harbor Springs.  If you show up late after work, the Noggin Room is a fun bar and restaurant in the basement of the Perry Hotel.

2. Bear River Whitewater Kayak Park

Petoskey invested a quarter of a million dollars into the Bear River Recreation Area.  In layman's terms that means we have a whitewater kayaking and tubing park!  You will not believe how well the park turned out.  

You can bring your own kayaking equipment or rent from the Bahnhof on the north end of Petoskey.  You'll want a plastic kayak because the rocks are serious and the water gets very shallow in places.  There are several new stone stair access points to the Bear River from the east bank, which is conveniently where the paved sidewalk is.  We put in at the Public Works building on Sheridan Rd.  The water is calm there and you can get comfortable for about five minutes before the rapids start rolling!

Once you see the Curtis St/Bridge St overpass it's all business!  The river gets steeper, the rocks get bigger and you're backpaddling with everything you've got.

The buddy system is a must.  If you can't get two kayakers at least have a friend on shore taking pictures, laughing and waiting to pull you out if things go sideways.

To make it easy for you to get outside, all of the important locations and the kayaking route are marked on the map on this page.

There is a gorgeous paved and dirt trail system running along both banks of the Bear River. Petoskey added plenty of benches, tables, river access points and even new clean bathrooms.  Even if you aren't interested in boating, do yourself a favor and walk or bike the trails and path. It is only two blocks from the downtown Gaslight district and a block from the Petoskey harbor.

After you're done at the Bear River, take a stroll out on the renovated breakwall that was completed last year.

3. Breakfast at Gelato Cafe

American Spoon is a family owned Petoskey company who is known for their fresh fruit preserves. Spoon fruit is great but the reason we love American Spoon is because their Gelato Cafe is open for breakfast from early May to late Fall!  Local ingredients, fruit preserve stuffed muffins, iced-tea filtered through fruit mash from the preserves and the infamous Farm Egg Sandwich.  This sandwich changed Dylan's life.  Yes, really.  Get your coffee fix and enjoy the incredibly relaxed dining room or sit outside in the park.  The staff is as friendly as any you'll find north of the 45th.  We just love it there!

4. Lake Michigan Sunset at Bay Harbor

Around 5:30pm you should start putting real thought into your sunset spot.  We can't get enough of the beach front hammocks at the Inn at Bay Harbor.  Bay Harbor is ten minutes southwest of Petoskey on US 31.  Even if you are not a guest of the Inn at Bay Harbor hotel you can cruise in the front doors, walk straight through the lobby and out the back doors towards the lake.  

If you're parched, there is cocktail service at the restaurant and bar attached to the lobby and a tiki bar by the pool.  When you walk onto the veranda you'll see a breathtaking panorama of Michigan's finest, bluest waters.  The oversized cloth hammocks are supported by giant curved wooden beams.  Grab a drink and soak up the sweetest sunset you've ever seen.

Let us know on Facebook how your weekend turned out, we would love to hear you!

View Perry's American Whitewater Rush! on Google Maps

What Do You Think about Petoskey, MI?

Adventure Rating: A-

You will get wet! Expect to flip over and deal with some jagged rocks, cold water and fast current. Ages 12+ and a few years of kayaking experience will keep Darwin happy through the biggest rapids. Beginner paddlers can start downstream of The Grinder to practice with less danger.

Locals Tip

This is one of the few exciting activities you can do year round in Petoskey. Whitewater kayak in Spring, Summer, Fall and if you have a dry suit even during the Winter. The Bear River flows too fast to freeze over.

up north michigan poster

"Taking action kayak photos is easy if you park at Ione St and stand on the boulders next to the river. Be ready to grab boats, paddles and people when the kayakers flip over. Tie your laces tight and keep your pockets zipped!" Meghann "Wear a helmet and get a spray skirt! The second we paddled into the straightaway under Curtis St bridge I knew we were under prepared! Our kayaks swamped and we spilled over in the biggest rapids." Dylan

Geocache Winner

High five to Lindsey Manthei O'Connor who claimed the Bear River geocached gift card for American Spoon! Lindsey and her husband borrowed a pair of fishing kayaks and headed down the white water! Lindsey reported that they didn't flip but pulled over to bail water out of their boats before sinking!

Our newsletter subscribers receive the geocache location a full day before we post it on the site. Sign up today so you can be an insider on the weekly treasure hunt!

The coordinates for the Bear River cache are:

N 45 21.944 W 048 57.683

Every week we add a photo hunt or new geocache (pronounced "geo cash") somewhere in the northern wilderness with the hope that we'll give other Up North explorers a reason to leave their couch and enjoy the inspiring beauty, history and excitement Michigan has to offer.

Learn a bit about geocaching over at Wikipedia