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Bellaire Bucket List: 20 Fun Things to Do in Bellaire, MI

Why Bellaire Should Be Your Next Up North Destination

Bellaire, with its 1,200 friendly locals, swells in the summertime, turning this Northern Michigan gem into a lively hotspot. Sitting pretty on the 45th parallel, Bellaire is your go-to secret for hitting Torch Lake or any part of Michigan’s Chain of Lakes.

Main Street is a total charmer, lined with cute shops, ice cream spots, a cozy movie theater, and the legendary Short’s Brewing Company. Even the county courthouse is a stunner. Bellaire’s got that perfect mix of small-town charm and up north adventure.

Lounging at Bellaire's Dockside Restaurant on Torch Lake
Dockside Restaurant on Torch Lake

Already packing your bags? Smart!

In the meantime, let me help you discover why this little town holds a special place in so many hearts.

Lake Day! Get Out on the Water

The Chain of Lakes Water Trail in northwest Michigan is a paddler’s paradise. This 100+ mile flatwater trail is made up of 12 lakes and interconnected rivers, including the river that runs through downtown Bellaire. And they are all fun in their own way.

Now it’s decision time: will you be going with the motorboat or paddle option for your lake day?

Paddle Antrim Paddle Festival Bellaire

Paddling in Bellaire

Right in the heart of town, Richardi Park is a perfect launch spot for both beginner and advanced paddlers.

You can paddle to the Grass River Nature Center or even make your way out to Torch Lake. Paddle Antrim’s website has all the routes and launch info you need to plan kayak, canoe, and SUP adventures from Bellaire.

If kayak or SUP rentals are needed, Paddles and Pedals in downtown Bellaire will hook you up.

📷 Paddle Antrim

Pontoon Boats, Jet Skis & Ski Boat Rentals

Butch's Tackle and Marine on Clam River

You can also access Torch Lake by renting a boat in Bellaire and cruising down the Clam River from Clam Lake.

Where Clam River meets Torch is where you’ll find the Dockside restaurant and Dewitt Marine. It’s a popular trip and will likely take you just over an hour to reach Torch Lake from Bellaire.

Riverside Marina
115 West Cayuga St, Bellaire, MI   49615
Downtown Bellaire. Pontoon rentals, small boat rentals, kayak rentals, canoe rentals, fishing gear.(231) 533-8559
Dockside Torch Lake
6326 Old Torch Lake Dr, Bellaire, MI 49615
Located on Torch Lake at the mouth of the Clam River. Pontoon & Wave Runner Rentals(231) 377-7777
Dewitt Marine Inc.
6509 Crystal Springs Rd, Bellaire, MI 49615
Captain for hire, pontoon boat rentals, Tritoon rentals.
(231) 377-6611
Northaire Pontoon Rental
204 W Cayuga St, Bellaire
7067 Crystal Springs Rd
6349 Old Torch Lake Dr
Pontoon rentals available in Downtown Bellaire, on Clam Lake, or at the mouth of the Clam River. (231) 377-7764
Bellaire Pontoon Rental
204 W Cayuga St, Bellaire, MI 49615
Pontoon boat rentals, E bike rentals. Hourly & Daily parking rates at boat docks on Intermediate River(231) 377-7764
Butch’s Tackle & Marine
6235 Crystal Springs Rd, Bellaire, MI 49615
Rentals for pontoon boats, speedboats, jet skis & WaveRunners, fishing boats, kayaks, towable tubes, SUP paddleboards & water carpets(231) 377-6787

Twist My Arm, I’ll Shop if I Must

Oh no! Another charming Michigan Main Street packed with cute shops and goodies calling my name!


Tea and Spice Exchange

Paddles & Pedals

Bellaire Smokehouse – In-house smoked foods (jerky, fish, etc), fresh meat & seafood. Wine, cheese, beer. Whitefish pate.

Little Treasures Toy & Gift

Uniquely North

The 45th Apparel

Stop in for a Special Event

Bellaire keeps things hopping – here’s what’s going on in 2024:

Balloons Over Bellaire in late August

This laid-back two-day event is perfect for kicking back and watching hot air balloons drift over Shanty Creek Resort. Free parking and admission.

Balloons Over Bellaire at Shanty Creek Resort

M-88 Outdoor Market Tour

This 26-mile route follows M-88 and features specials, sidewalk sales, and events from local businesses. Homeowners set up garage sales, and you’ll find pop-up tents with crafters, food vendors, farmers’ stands, bake sales, and more.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

M-88 Market Tour 28 Mile Yard Sale Michigan
Saturday, May 25Petoskey Stone Festival10 AM – 3 PMBarnes Park
Saturday, June 15M88 Outdoor Market Tour9 AM – 3 PM26 miles of M88, Mancelona to Eastport
Thursday, June 27Music in the Street6 – 9 PMDowntown Bellaire
Wednesday, July 3Shanty Creek Fireworks Display9 – 11 PMOver Lake Bellaire
Thursday, July 11Music in the Street6 – 9 PMDowntown Bellaire
Thursday, July 25Music in the Street6 – 9 PMDowntown Bellaire
Thursday, August 8Music in the Street6 – 9 PMDowntown Bellaire
Thursday, August 15Music in the Street6 – 9 PMDowntown Bellaire
Th – Sa, August 1637th Annual Rubber Ducky Festival10 AMDowntown Bellaire
Saturday, August 1737th Annual Rubber Ducky Parade3 PMDowntown Bellaire
late AugustBalloons Over BellaireTBDShanty Creek
Saturday, October 526th Flannel Festival10 AM – ?Downtown Bellaire
Saturday, November 2Holiday Gift Fair10 AM – ?Shanty Creek Resort Grand Ballroom
Saturday, December 7Bellaire’s Light Up the Night10 AM – ?Downtown Bellaire

Make Time for Short’s Brewery

Short’s Brewery has hit cult classic status around here. Known for its solid beer, great food, and awesome vibe, it’s a must-visit. Expect to wait for a table, but trust us, it’s worth it.

Those folks working up an appetite at Glacial Hills know the reward at Short’s is going to be sweet. With indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and twinkly lights, it’s the perfect spot. Don’t miss the pizza—the IPAs won’t disappoint either.

Grab a Bite. And a Drink

Bee Well Mead & Cider - photo them
Dockside Restaurant Bellaire Torch Lake
Ruthann's Bakery Bellaire michigan Cupcakes
Ruthies Dairy & Chicken Twist Bellaire Ice Cream

Friday is for the Farmers Market

Visit the Bellaire Farmers Market every Friday from 8 AM to Noon at the Community Center, 102 Maple St, Bellaire MI.

Open from Memorial Day through October, it’s the perfect place to find fresh, local produce and more.

Bellaire Farmer's Market - FB
Bellaire Farmers Market at the Community Center

Find Fun at the Movies, Bowling Alley or Escape Room

Bellaire Movie Theater

Bellaire Theatre – features new releases and blockbuster hits for all ages in a downtown location.

Escape Bellaire – Themed rooms available for groups ranging from 2-8 people to solve puzzles and escape the room.

Bellaire Lanes & Games – Family entertainment center with bowling alley, games, food & drinks! Arcade, laser tag, cornhole, horseshoes & more.

📷 Bellaire Movie Theater

Play Disc Golf and Hang at Torch Lake Cellars

13 holes!

Check out the 13-hole disc golf course at Torch Lake Cellars.

The first hole is on the east side of the tasting room—just follow the signs around the course. While the tasting room is closed on Sundays, the course remains open. Details

Glacial Hills Fat Tire Biking Michigan in Winter

Mountain Bike Must

Hit the 32 miles of singletrack trails at Glacial Hills Pathway for epic views of Lake Bellaire.

Flowy, challenging, and one heck of a ride—all year long.

Just minutes from downtown Bellaire, this 750-acre trail system is perfect for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and wildlife spotting.

It’s said to be one of the Midwest’s top trail spots – think you’ll agree?

Hawk's Ey Golf Course Bellaire MI - Shanty Creek

So Many Golf Courses!

Several courses are located right here in Bellaire,

Bellaire Centennial Golf Course

The Chief Golf Course

5 Courses at Shanty Creek Resort

Take a Hike at the Grass River Nature Preserve

Explore the Grass River Natural Area at 6500 Alden Highway, Bellaire. This 1,492-acre preserve features floating boardwalks, including 1.5 miles traversing northern fen and cedar wetlands, along with streams and swamps perfect for wildlife spotting. With seven miles of well-maintained trails, it’s time to download a map and wander the winding paths yourself.

Weekly Wildflower Walk: Every Tuesday, May-August at 10:30 am. Free to attend; donations welcome.

Art on Thursdays: Join a naturalist on select Thursdays at 1:00 pm for a nature art program. Explore painting, sketching, journaling, clay, and more for $10 per person. June 20, July 18, August 1, 15, 2024 – 1:00pm (2 hrs)

Charlevoix Stone at Barnes Park in Antrim County

Hunt for Petoskey Stones & Charlevoix Stones

Search for Petoskey Stones – and Charlevoix Stones along the shores of Lake Michigan at Barnes Park.

This rocky beach is best explored after it’s been tossed by a storm.

📷 Charlevoix Stone at Barnes Park in Antrim County

    Stay the Night

    Whether you’re into charming B&Bs or sprawling resorts, Bellaire’s got you covered with some awesome spots to crash for the night.

    PS – the Stonewater Inn makes a great Romantic Getaway. And if you’re looking for the latest and greatest, you’ve gotta check out the new Spillway Lodges.

    Spillway Lodges - Bellaire

    Vacation Rental Hot Tub

    Spillway Lodges

    247 Portage Drive, Bellaire, MI 49615

    Northern Michigan’s newest boutique resort, in the heart of Bellaire, is the perfect fusion between an Airbnb and private resort. Book your stay and let yourself in. Sweet amenities and rooms big enough for a family, you’re just steps away from Short’s Brewery in Bellaire.

    Hot tubs, sauna, cold plunge, rooftop decks, fire pits, and more.

    Shanty Creek Resort LakeView Hotel - Bellaire

    Resort Hot Tub Pool

    Shanty Creek Resort LakeView Hotel

    5780 Shanty Creek Rd, Bellaire, MI 49615

    This four-season resort in Northern MI is spread across a whopping 5,000 acres, with almost 400 guest rooms, suites, condos, and homes available at various price points. With golf, great skiing, alpine tubing, and snowboarding, it’s a smart place to stay if you like to be active. Indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs. Located in the historic town of Bellaire.

    Stone Waters Inn - Bellaire


    Stone Waters Inn

    226 N Bridge S, Bellaire, MI 49615

    Up North small-town charm combined with remodeled rooms add to the romance of Stone Waters Inn. The B&B is situated on a river and is also right downtown, so you can walk to the local shops and brewery (Short’s is amazing) or just lounge waterside.

    This B&B is in downtown Bellaire, a cute small town Up North that happens to be really close to fantastic year-round mountain biking and downhill skiing.

    Chain O’Lakes Campground
    7231 S M 88 Hwy, Bellaire, MI 49615
    Staying at the Chain O’Lakes Campground puts you near the Grass River Natural area and downtown Bellaire. Located near Lake Bellaire and Clam Lake, this campground is seven miles from Torch Lake. Full hookup RV sites, tent sites, and cabins.
    Craven Park Campground 3737 S. Derenzy Road
    Bellaire, MI 49615
    Northaire Resort
    7067 Crystal Springs Rd, Bellaire, MI 49615
    Their cottage & cabins are located along the south shores of Clam Lake/Torch Lake in Antrim County. They also rent pontoon boats on Torch Lake. 231-377-7764
    Susie’s All Seasons Motel 109 S. Division
    Bellaire, MI 49615
    Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast 7296 S. M-88 Hwy
    Bellaire, MI 49615
    Applesauce Inn Bed & Breakfast 7296 S. M-88 Hwy
    Bellaire, MI 49615

    Map of Bellaire

    What’s Your Favorite thing to do in Bellaire?

    More Northern Michigan Fun

    Melody VanderWeide

    INFJ. Mom of 3. Idea chaser-People believer-Inspiration seeker. Together we make GR amazing – Let’s go!

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