Another Shoutout to Petoskey

May 2, 2024

Selected as one of the best small towns in the Midwest to visit. 

Downtown Petoskey Michigan in the fall

By now I am sure that you have heard that USA Today recently named Petoskey the 4th best small town in the Midwest to visit. In case you have not, here is a link to the article. It should also be noted that Traverse City, the only other Michigan town to make the list came in at number 8. (That would be four spots lower than Petoskey if you are keeping track). The brief writeup honoring our town highlighted the beauty of Sunset Park and exploring the Bear River Valley Recreation Area. This is not the first time that Petoskey’s name has been included in a “best of” list. Publications like Fodors, Travel + Leisure, and even Smithsonian Magazine have voted Petoskey as a can’t-miss vacation spot. It is no secret that Petoskey is an amazing place to visit year-round, but it is in the summertime that we attract the largest crowds. From the million-dollar sunsets, to the stellar shopping, the boating, the beaches, the fudge, and all of the other great amenities the area has to offer- all with a small-town feel- make Petoskey the perfect summer travel destination. 

However, for 5,860 of us, Petoskey is also a pretty special place to live. I thought it would be interesting to talk to a variety of Petoskey residents to find out why they call Petoskey home. Some of the people with whom I spoke have lived in Petoskey their whole life, while others are transplants. Many grew up downstate and came to Petoskey to live and raise their family. Some grew up in Petoskey, moved to a larger city, but then returned to their roots. There were many common themes among those I interviewed. Most of the responses that I received talked about the outdoors and the beauty of Petoskey. People mentioned hiking and biking and boating and swimming. One person who grew up outside of Detroit commented on the restaurants in and around Petoskey. He was impressed with the variety and selection considering how small of a town Petoskey is. Our extraordinary library was also mentioned more than once. Some of the responses that I received talked about the allure of all four seasons here. The great downhill and cross-country skiing options were a highlight for one. Another common theme was safety and peace of mind; one respondent stated that she does not worry about whether her house or car doors are locked at night. More than one person said that Petoskey is the kindest and friendliest place they have ever lived. 

Petoskey State Park beach

Almost everyone with whom I spoke also mentioned the word community which got me thinking about the community that is Petoskey. Though community can mean very different things, one thing that is central to a community is that you have shared values and interests to better something. That doesn’t mean that everyone is the same. Petoskey is actually quite diverse in many ways. Our community is comprised of a group of hardworking people who enjoy and respect the beauty of nature and the water that surrounds us. But the community that is Petoskey in large part is also comprised of a group of individuals who look out for each other and strive to help those less fortunate than themselves. For a town of fewer than 6,000 people, Petoskey has more food pantries, paper pantries, service organizations, nonprofits, homeless shelters, safe homes, and other amazing resources than some towns three or four times our size. The individuals who make the community that is Petoskey work together for the betterment of the town and for those around them who need help, and that to me is what a community should be. 

Whether you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Petoskey each year, or you are one of the 5,860 who call Petoskey home, it is not hard to find a reason why year after year in multiple publications, Petoskey is listed as a top 10 destination. 

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