Northwestern Michigan is famous for its beautiful sandy Lake Michigan beaches, but we recently discovered a more unique Lake Michigan beach on the Leelanau Peninsula tucked off of the road leading out to the remote tip of the peninsula and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.
The rocky stretch of beach at Peterson Park isn't well known among tourists, or even that easy to find, but we checked it out after getting a tip about it from Tim's sister who lives in the Traverse City area.
Rugged rocky beaches are common in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with sandy beaches being very rare there, which is exactly the opposite in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
Peterson Beach is a stretch of rocky beach in Michigan's northwestern Lower Peninsula that reportedly is a great place to hunt Petoskey stones. The Petoskey stone is Michigan's "State Stone", although it is a fossilized coral, rather than a stone.
The township park itself looks pretty unassuming when you first drive into it and see a picnic area, playground and small a platform overlooking Lake Michigan.
Linger a while to take in the bluff-top view 400 feet above the lake, then venture down the 114 stair steps to the shore to a rock hunter's paradise and quiet stretch of beach bereft of crowds of sunbathers or beach volleyball players.
We found a couple of nice stones to bring back with us, although we didn't spot any Petoskey stones the day we went to Peterson Park. We did see a couple of other rock hunters poised in the familiar head-down crouch searching for stones, though.
And I, of course, took the opportunity to shuck my shoes and wade a bit in the late-September sun.
Peterson Park is about 25 miles north of Traverse City on the west side of the Leelanau Peninsula. Take M-22 (one of my favorite scenic drives) out of Traverse City to Northport, then take 201 north from Northport and turn west at the Peterson Park street sign.
© Dominique King 2012 All rights reserved