Our area boasts of four quaint yet vibrant lakeside communities waiting for you to explore. Check out the wonderful small businesses, festivals/events, and other outdoor recreation adventures as part of your journey on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail.
Serenity, calm and natural beauty await you in Ellsworth. Located at the northern end of the Chain of Lakes, the calm, pristine smaller lakes provide perfect conditions for beginners to skilled paddlers looking for a relaxed, scenic and tranquil paddle experience. The nearby Wooden Shoe Campground offers an excellent “nature-based” camping experience with easy access to the Ellsworth Lake River Park Trailhead, perfect to experience sunrise to sunset paddle opportunities. Besides being a paddlers destination, these lakes also offer fishing opportunities throughout the year.
Ellsworth also offers dining, a Bed and Breakfast, resale shops and a farm store as well as a self-guided historical walking tour. Find access and miles of hiking trails at nearby nature preserves along the scenic, rural route C-48 “The Breezeway”. Travel west down The Breezeway toward Atwood to farm markets, orchards and a wine tasting room or travel The Breezeway east to East Jordan for more shopping, dining, lodging and another paddle opportunity on the wild and scenic Jordan River.
For complete information about Ellsworth, Atwood and East Jordan and all of their “Nature Based Amenities”, cultural offerings, activities and events, lodging and dining check out the East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce.
East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce: ejchamber.org
Village of Ellsworth: villageofellsworthmi.com
Centrally located on the beautiful Intermediate Lake, this hidden treasure has a lot to offer! This quaint village offers paddlers easy access to dining, boutiques,grocery and many more amenities, all just a short walking distance from Thurston Park.
Thurston Park is the ultimate destination – great for beginning your adventure, ending your adventure, or stopping by for a rest. The sandy beach makes launching a breeze for all levels of paddlers, while the south end of the park offers a developed boat launch, day docks and a beautiful campground. Public restrooms with running water, pavilion, picnic tables and a park are all steps away.
Just a few blocks off the lake, the village offers a lively downtown experience with dining, boutiques, a pharmacy, distillery, tavern and full-service grocery store. Surrounding the village and just a short drive away, discover amazing fruit markets, wine cellars, and a family owned organic market. As a year round vacation location, whether you like to golf, ski, camp, hunt, snowmobile,or fish,Central Lake provides your peaceful getaway. For a complete list of food, lodging,shopping, and more please visit the Central Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Central Lake Chamber of Commerce: centrallakechamber.com
Village of Central Lake: centrallakemi.org
The Village of Bellaire is located at the heart of the Chain of Lakes. The Chain of Lakes is separated into the Upper and Lower Chain by a dam in the middle of Bellaire. The peaceful Intermediate River runs through downtown Bellaire which provides ideal access to the smaller lakes on the Upper Chain at Richardi Park and the larger lakes on the Lower Chain at the Ohio St. boat launch.
Downtown businesses are just a short walk to unique gift and clothing shops as well as great places to eat, drink while enjoying live entertainment, plus a traditional movie theater making Bellaire a day-into-evening destination. Bellaire has numerous accommodations including award winning bed & breakfasts, motels, inns, resorts, cabins as well as parks and campgrounds.
Bellaire has something for everyone. For some, escaping up north is relaxing at the lake while others enjoy the thrill of mountain biking at Glacial Hills, off-roading or catching a trophy walleye. Generations reconnect over evening campfires, boating adventures or picking fruit from the many orchards in Antrim County.
For listings of restaurants, accommodations, attractions, events and activities, visit the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce.
Bellaire Chamber of Commerce: bellairechamber.org
Village of Bellaire: bellairemichigan.com
Village of Bellaire DDA: bellairemichigan.com
Elk Rapids is classic small-town America encapsulated in earthly beauty of water and rural landscape. Situated at the western edge of the Chain of Lakes where it empties into Grand Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. With a flourishing downtown home to many restaurants, shops, and galleries, Elk Rapids makes a great launch or landing point.
Paddlers can start their adventure at Rotary Park, with all the amenities paddlers need. Enjoy stunning views of the Albatross shipwreck, just a few strokes away followed by the amazing crystal clear waters of Elk Lake. For paddlers, just stopping in for a rest, the Bridge St Access is equipped with a kayak rack and just steps away from downtown restaurants, shops, galleries.
Comprising one square mile, everything is within walking distance: public beaches, unique dining, quaint shops and a modern marina for boaters navigating the waters of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay.
For a complete list of food, lodging, shopping and more please visit the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce: elkrapidschamber.org
Village of Elk Rapids: elkrapids.org