Discover Coastal Dream Towns

After canvassing all coasts for towns with seaside charm, a lively beach culture, and good housing, these are our top spots for planning quick trips or finding a new place to live.

Petoskey, Michigan

Protecting Natural Beauty

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Dream Towns: Petoskey, Michigan
Photographer Matthew Gilson

Petoskey, Michigan

Between the tourist frenzy of Traverse City and the polished club-iness of Harbor Springs, the casual town of Petoskey (population 6,028) has its own identity on the northeast coast of Lake Michigan.

The vibrant downtown is compact and fueled largely by summer visitors, but the steep streets, historic architecture, and miles of waterfront make it a great place to settle year-round.

With the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore a few hours south, Harbor Springs’ upscale shopping 10 minutes north, and the resort of Mackinac Island an hour north, Petoskey residents fit right into the nation’s least heralded coastline partly thanks to the Little Traverse Conservancy. The LTC began in the 1970s as a grassroots effort to conserve land from development. Tom Bailey has worked with the LTC for 26 years and says residents of Petoskey and surrounding towns take pride in the natural beauty.

“As we grow the number of homes, we also grow the natural preserve areas,” he says.



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