The Best Places to Find Petoskey Stones in Michigan

Michigan’s State Stone The Petoskey and its lesser-known cousin the Charlevoix stones are treasured unique treasures for beach-goers along the Great Lakes.

You can walk along any shore of Lake Michigan during the spring or summer, and you will find rock hounds looking for Petoskey Stones.

Although they can be difficult to find, they are sometimes hard to find. They can sometimes look just like normal limestone, unless they are wet. The six-sided, tightly packed pattern is revealed. Petoskey stones, once-living corals, are still a popular symbol of the Great Lakes. They were first discovered 350 million years ago.

How to Locate Petoskey Stones

The shores of Michigan offer a wealth of opportunities for fossil-hunters and rock-hounds. You can find a Petoskey on any of the beaches in Michigan, whether you are at Lake Michigan or Lake Huron. If you know where to look, your chances of finding one are high.

There are still many Petoskey stones to be found, from well-known locations like Charlevoix or the Leelanau Peninsula where fossils are abundant to quieter spots like Lexington, Michigan’s blue thumb coast.

How do you locate the Petoskey stone in your quest?

Continue reading to learn more about Petoskey Stones, and where you can find them. Photo by Kathleen Smith/Frankfort moments

What are Petoskey Stones and how do they work?

Michigan, which was discovered 350 million years ago, was in fact located close to the Equator. A warm, shallow, tropical ocean covered the land. Massive colonies of rugose corals (hexagonaria pecarinata), flourished on the reefs. Petoskey stones are made from the fossils of corals found in coral colonies.

Petoskey rocks are unique stones that have a hexagonal pattern throughout their surfaces. This is the fossilized pattern from prehistoric rugose corals.

Each Petoskey stone hexagon was once a coral Polyp. The dark center of each coral polyp was once the mouth. Coral polyps used tentacles for feeding the coral.

Legend of the Petoskey Stone

The legends of the Petoskey Stones are deeply rooted in Michigan’s native American folklore. Legend says that the Petoskey Stone was named after the Odawa Indian chief Pet-O-Sega who owned the land which became Petoskey, MI.

As he entered this world, he was born to an Odawa Indian mother and a French fur trader dad. His promise of a life full of greatness was symbolized by the sun rays or “sunbeams” of promise.

How to Find Petoskey Stones

Learn How to Identify a Petoskey Stone and a Charlevoix Stone

Charlevoix and Petoskey stones are very similar. They are both beautiful and wonderful finds. However, knowing the differences can help you find exactly what you want.

Both are fossilized corals that date back to approximately the same period in history but there are subtle differences. Charlevoix stones are more distinguishable because they have a smaller hexagonal exoskeleton than Petoskey stones.

Avoid the Sandy Beaches when hunting for Petoskey Stones

Michigan has many sandy beaches that people love to sunbathe and swim. Instead of focusing on sun and fun, explore smaller, more rugged beaches.

Petoskey’s can also be found in areas surrounding uprooted trees and other disturbed soil.

These lesser-known areas are not often visited by stone hunters, so chances of finding Petoskey stones will be higher for you. Photo by Kathleen Smith/Frankfort moments

Petoskey’s After Storms

If you are looking for Petoskey rocks, beachcombing in the rain is the best time. You can see the patterns in Charlevoix and Petoskey stones more clearly when they are wet. Rain is your friend during this hunt.

Storms are especially good because they disrupt the sand and allow Petoskey rocks to wash up on the shore. Before you head out on the water, make sure there is no lightning.

Go where people won’t go

There is no secret about Petoskey stones. Many people travel to beaches to try to find them, but it can be difficult to find them. Petoskey hunting is a favorite pastime for me on the rocky beaches north Alpena.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go looking for a new spot.

Moving down the beach from parking lots or beach access points may be a better option. These areas are less likely have been crowded by beachgoers. Photo by Kathleen Smith/Frankfort moments

If there’s one Petoskey Stone, there are probably many more

They can often be found in groups. You may find one if you keep looking.

Keep an eye out for other fossil-hunters as well as the Michigan beaches. Let others enjoy Michigan’s beautiful beaches and the thrill of discovering their own treasure in Petoskey.

Learn the Laws Concerning Taking Rocks From Michigan Beaches

According to state law, you can’t collect more than 25lbs worth of minerals, stones, or fossils from Michigan beaches each year. This is a State-wide Law. However, each state park or beach will have its own policies.

These regulations may include the collection or Charlevoix or Petoskey stones or other material from beaches. Before you take home a souvenir, make sure to verify the laws and park policies. Photo by Kathleen Smith/Frankfort moments

Where can I find petoskey stones

Petoskey, as the name implies, is a popular spot for rock-hunters searching for the state stone. Charlevoix beaches are also very popular but it is more likely that you will find a Petoskey state stone since Charlevoix stones tend to be the rarer.

These stones do not only appear at their named locations but can also be found along the northern shore of Lake Michigan.

These are the top spots to find Petoskey and Charlevoix stone:


  • Mt. McSauba Beach
  • Lake Michigan Beach
  • Beaver Island
  • Fisherman’s Island State Park
  • North Point Nature Preserve


  • Petoskey State Park
  • Magnus City Park Beach
  • Bay Front & Sunset Park


  • Pt. Bestie Lighthouse

Leelanau County

  • Empire Beach
  • Leelanau State Park

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore


  • Orchard Beach State Park

Find more Michigan Stones and Rocks

Are you familiar with Michigan’s mysterious glowing rocks, These mysterious glowing rocks are called Yooperlite and can be found throughout Michigan, but most often in the Upper Peninsula.

They are mostly composed of syenite, which is similar in appearance to granite. Yooperlites contain a lot of fluorescent sodalite that glows bright orange or yellow when exposed to Ultraviolet Light.

These glow-in the-dark deposits can create a variety of patterns including dotted lines and a more general pattern that is reminiscent of a space galaxy.

Every stone is unique, and could even contain a mixture of fluorescent sodalite patterns. This adds to the amazing beauty of this glowing rock.

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