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Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: The Riverboat Experience

Many years ago it was a hot spot for sightseeing cruises.

Today, two men are trying to revitalize that tradition along the Inland Waterway at the Tip of the Mitt.

Corey Adkins and Michelle Dunaway take us there for today's Sightseeing in Northern Michigan.

"Well now we are entering the heartland of north Michigan. For the next couple miles, this is the way it was 1000 years ago," said Captain Gary Dawson.

From pristine, unspoiled land, to up close brushes with wildlife, there is so much to experience on the on the Inland Waterway.

"We have the commercial area which is Alanson, where we begin our trip, then we travel through and into a natural area, and then we move into the residential area of beautiful homes and cottages and then back into the natural area, ultimately we enter Burt Lake at the mouth of the river and it's spectacular," said Emil Muccino.

Emil Muccino and Captain Gary Dawson just couldn't understand why no one was taking advantage of this opportunity.

"I remember my first trip down the river was with my partner Emil, and I said this is amazing and then I went back to his house and saw a history book on the river and saw some of the old steamers and said why isn't anybody doing this now," explained Gary.

And that history is also a big part of what you experience while on this trip.

"For example how the Native Americans, how they used the waterway, how the fur trade came about, lumbering was very important to this region, and then finally when the railroads hit Petoskey tourism took off and that was in the 1880s," said Gary.

There's also a little excitement.

"Coming up here is Oxbow Turn and it's a 180 degree turn and you're going to see boats passing on the other side right there. I know you paid for the river boat ride, how many want to upgrade to the Disney World thrill ride? Yeah everybody, well here we go full speed around this turn, oh I was just kidding we're not going to do the full speed," joked Gary.

Captain Gary loves to give the boat experience to people that don’t have one.

"He's very fun and people all love him and he's very knowledgeable of this river," said Emil.

These two have figured out what floats their boat — and hope you join them for the ride.

"I love it, I love it, I love it, I sailed 35,000 miles on the ocean, but I will tell you this is awesome," said Captain Gary.