|LOCAL INFORMATION | Dining | Lodging | Recreation | Services | Shopping
Locator Maps | Calendar | Visitors Guide Homepage
W E L C O M E - Local Information
The 2013 Harbor Springs Visitors Guide is filled with information to help you with local history, things to do, places to shop, dine, stay, and play and more. Published each year by the Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, the Visitors Guide is packed full of information about this wonderful part of Northern Michigan.
Harbor Springs has a long history of welcoming visitors to our beautiful, friendly community. Our small town charm combined with natural beauty and year ’round activities makes Harbor Springs a destination again and again.
Stop by the Chamber of Commerce office in the historic Andrew Blackbird Post Office on Main Street. During the summer months, our Gazebo on the waterfront is the place for answers to your Harbor Springs questions. Our website can guide you to the best of Harbor Springs year ’round.
A visit to the Harbor Springs area typically is not a one-time occurrenceso if this is your first visit, we know you’ll be back!
What to Do in Harbor Springs
Harbor Springs is a year ’round destination for many visitors because there is so much to do. This is not a city approach to activity but the Harbor Springs approach: golfing, boating, hiking, biking, skiing, and a day at the beach. Then there’s shopping, dining, Street Musique Thursday nights June-August, the farmers market Wednesday and Saturdays mid June-Labor Day and Saturdays the rest of the year, Ugotta Regatta, Cars in the Park, Waterfront Wine Festival, Taste of Harbor Springs, Chili Cookoff, Home for the Holidays, the Harbor Springs History Museum and the Andrew Blackbird Museum, the Odawa Pow Wow, Blissfest, the Young Americans and of course, July 4th.
Rent bikes or kayaks, take a picnic to the waterfront, head to the woods in the spring to find morels, enroll the kids in the Little Traverse Sailors sailing school, charter the sailboat Exit Strategy for a sail on the bay, sip a cup of coffee at a coffee shop, watch a movie on the waterfront on Thursday nights in July and August.
Take a drive on the Tunnel of Trees, a renowned, tree-lined stretch of road from Harbor Springs to Cross Village. The Tunnel of Trees is a stunning, narrow, drive along bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. This is a four-season, colored filled drivetrillium in the spring, green trees and blue water in the summer, fall foliage, and winter white. It is not to be missed.
Something for everyone? Absolutely!
On the Water
Many visitors in the late 1880s came to Harbor Springs by boat. Located on Little Traverse Bay, a deep, natural harbor, and Lake Michigan, steam ships arrived at the docks in downtown Harbor Springs to deliver summer guests.
While the majority of guests no longer arrive by water, the waterfront and water activities are still special in Harbor Springs. Once the ice melts in the spring, the first fishing, sailing, and power boats along with kayaks begin to appear in the harbor. When summer arrives, the water is an amazing drawfrom people on it in boats, kayaks, or paddleboards and from those on a bench or picnic table soaking in the experience from the beach or waterfront.
Throughout the summer months, Little Traverse Bay is filled with sailboats during Little Traverse Yacht Club’s Tuesday night racing and Ugotta Regatta in July. Daily June-August, the sailboats of the Little Traverse Sailors students dot the harbor accompanied by squeals of happiness when the wind hits the sails and carries the boats across the water.
Harbor Springs has two beachesZorn Park complete with swimming rafts and life guards and the tiny Zoll Street beach popular with dog lovers and kayakers. Ford Park is a popular place to launch kayaks and includes launch ramps for boaters. Within minutes of downtown Harbor Springs are some amazing beaches at Thorne Swift Nature Preserve, Middle Village and Cross Village beaches, Sturgeon Bay and Petoskey State Park.
The Great Outdoors
The Harbor Springs area is filled with activities in the great outdoors. Biking, hiking, golfing, walking, running, boating, sailing, fishing, skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, hunting and even zip lining are just a few of the many outdoor offerings in our backyard.
Cyclists love the Tunnel of Trees or the Little Traverse Wheelway connecting Harbor Springs, Petoskey, and Charlevoix via 26 miles of paved trails along the waterfront. Golfers have a myriad of courses to choose from. Kayakers and paddle boarders have inland lakes and our own harbor to glide through.
Up North winters are the best. Our two ski resorts, Nub’s Nob and Boyne Highlands, are the place for boarders and skiers with great snow and terrain. Year ’round outdoor enthusiasts love the Harbor Springs area. We have something for everyone in every season.
History & More
History is celebrated every day in Harbor Springs at the History Museum on Main Street. And there is so much to celebrate. The community has been a trading center, Native American community, a mission, summer destination, and year ‘round community.
In 1691, Catholic missionaries came to the area to work with the Odawa Indians. The area from Harbor Springs to Good Hart was known as L’Arbre Croche and during the 1800s, it was a thriving community to the Odawa who supported themselves with agriculture, trapping, carpentry, tailoring, fishing, and shoemaking, to name a few.
The Village of Little Traverse came to be in 1858 and in 1886, Emmet County’s first court house was built on Main Street in the structure that is now the History Museum. Harbor Springs became known as a summer retreat beginning in the 1870s. Our deep, natural harbor was perfect for the steamships that arrived with passengers and the railroad arrived in 1882. Visitors escaped the pollen, heat, and dust of their hometowns to “summer” in Harbor Springs. Boarding houses and hotels were built and the associations of Harbor Point and Wequetonsing were created along the waterfront. By the 1920s, Harbor Springs was known as the Naples of the North and 11 hotels greeted summer guests.
History can be explored at the Harbor Springs History Museum. The Museum, once City Hall, is one of many historic buildings still in use today. The Depot, Holy Childhood Church, Ottawa Stadium and the Ephraim Shay house are pieces of the past that are still present today.
To receive a free copy of the Visitors Guide, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2013 Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center