If you want to hit the slopes this winter, head to Northern Michigan, where you’ll find some of the best skiing in the Midwest.
Michigan is second only to New York for the state with the most ski resorts. Some of the best are right here in Northern Michigan. The ski season generally gets underway in late November and runs through mid-April. It’s weather dependent, of course. The season length can vary by a week or two.
The Highlands at Harbor Springs
Skiiers and snowboarders are welcome at The Highlands at Harbor Springs. It’s home to 435 skiable acres and features Michigan’s longest ski run. They offer 53 beautifully groomed downhill runs. Snowboarders have access to four world-class terrain parks. The Austrian-American SnowSports Academy provides lessons for all ages and skill levels.
There are plenty of other snow activities for those who don’t ski. Fat tire biking, tubing, and snowshoeing are a few of the other winter activities available. For accommodations, choose from condos, private homes, and traditional lodge rooms. The onsite restaurants include both casual and fine dining options.
Boyne Mountain Resort
Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls has 60 downhill ski runs. Snowboarders enjoy seven different terrain parks. Their state-of-the-art snowmaking guns guarantee you have a deep base to run on no matter what Mother Nature decides to do. If you’re a beginner, take advantage of their customized lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all ages. They also offer advanced classes for those with more experience on the slopes. If skiing isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to keep you busy. Try your hand at ice skating, fat tire biking, horseback riding, and more.
There are plenty of ways to warm up after you’re done enjoying the snow at Boyne Moutain. The temperature is always a balmy 84 degrees inside the Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, the largest indoor waterpark in Michigan. You will find fun for the whole family, including six waterslides, a children’s pool, a surf simulator, and a hot tub. Adults can relax at the resort spa. Pamper yourself with a massage, facial, or body treatment. A variety of lodges, cabins, villas, and hotel rooms provide a comfortable stay for everyone.
Nub’s Nob Ski Area
Nub’s Nob Ski Area in Harbor Springs has won awards for having the best corduroy snow slopes in the Midwest. Skiers enjoy 53 ski slopes and three separate peaks. Their longest run is ⅞ of a mile long. The highest vertical drop is 427 feet. Snowboarders have access to three terrain parks. Snow is plentiful since 97 percent of their 248 acres are covered by snowmaking machines. A free 275,000-square-foot Beginner Area is open for anyone with proper snow equipment. If you’ve never skied before, it’s a great way to try it out. Nub’s hosts several popular events throughout the season, including the Nub’s Nob Open, Speed Series, and the annual Mardi Gras celebration. Two lodges offer onsite dining, a warm fire, and restrooms. While accommodations aren’t available onsite, Petoskey and Harbor Springs hotels are close by.
It’s fall in Northern Michigan, and we don’t think there’s a better place to enjoy sweater weather than the Petoskey area! Here are five of the best things to do near Petoskey in the fall.
The Tunnel of Trees
The Tunnel of Trees is just North of Petoskey on M-119. This famous road twists and turns along a route covered by a thick tree canopy. It’s beautiful any time of year, but especially spectacular when leaves change color in the fall. It also offers amazing views of Lake Michigan. A section of the road follows a ridge, rising high above the lake and Little Traverse Bay. The route takes you through the lakeshore town of Harbor Springs, where you’ll find unique places to shop. Keep heading north, and you’ll come to Pond Hill Farm. They have a vineyard and wine-tasting room as well as a family-friendly cafe. Pumpkins and gourds are available at the farm market. Further, up the road, you’ll come to the 1930s-era Good Hart General Store. Shop for souvenirs, and be sure to grab a treat from their much-loved bakery. M-119 ends at Cross Village, the site of one of Michigan’s earliest settlements. Stop at Cross Village Park for a stroll along the beach.
Take a Wine Tour
Northern Michigan is home to one of the unique wine regions in the country. The cold winters and proximity to Lake Michigan create an unusual climate that allows them to produce wines from specially cultivated cold-hardy grapes. They also produce various fruit wines from the abundant orchards that thrive along the lakeshore. There are several wineries just outside Petoskey. Enjoy a fall day in the Michigan countryside, taking in the colors and visiting the local tasting rooms to sample wines you won’t find anywhere else. Many of the wineries offer food and live entertainment as well. Visit petoskey.wine to find out more.
Boyne Mountain Resort
In the winter Boyne Moutain Resort is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. But there’s a lot to do in the fall too. With acres of forest and hills, it’s a great place to take in the beauty of fall in Northern Michigan. The scenic chairlift ride gives you a panoramic view of the valley and the stunning fall foliage. The more adventurous can zipline through the tree canopy and across the ski slopes. Brand new to Boyne this year is Skybride Michigan. The World’s longest-timbered suspension bridge that spans 1,200 feet across the valley. You’ll ride a ski lift to access the 118-foot-high bridge, with even more incredible views of the fall landscape.
Petoskey Gaslight District
The historic Gaslight District is a charming shopping and dining area in downtown Petoskey. Named one of the Best Small Towns in America by Smithsonian Magazine, it’s a wonderful place to spend a fall day. Enjoy the colorful trees and crisp air while strolling from shop to shop. With many unique stores and boutiques, you’re sure to find something special to take home for yourself or a loved one. Warm up and fill up in one of several local eateries offering everything from pizza to sushi to craft beer.
Walking distance from the Gaslight District, Petoskey’s Bayfront Park sits on the shores of Little Traverse Bay. There’s nothing quite like Lake Michigan in the fall when big, blue waves roll in against the backdrop of an autumn sky and colorful trees. Stroll along the park’s waterfront, see the famous clocktower and pier, and search for Petoskey stones on the rocky stretch of the beach. In the evening, take in an amazing fall sunset over the lake.
Tucked between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix, the town of Charlevoix is a prime spot for a Northern Michigan summer vacation. Here are five must-see spots you don’t want to miss when you visit.
Earl Young Mushroom Houses
The Mushroom Houses, as they’re affectionately called, were designed and built by artist Earl Young. Made of stone with unusual rooflines and wavy eaves, the houses have a storybook feel to them. A nature lover, Young designed the houses to blend with the landscape and sourced the stone from the beaches of Northern Michigan. The 26 homes are private residences. While they’re not open for inside tours, you can view the Mushroom Houses from the outside. Mushroom House Tours offers a guided tour. You can also take a self-guided walking or driving tour through the neighborhood. Please be considerate of the homeowners and don’t trespass on private property.
As the name suggests, there is a castle in Northern Michigan! The castle was built in 1918 by the president of Sears and Roebuck, modeled after the stone barns and castles found in France. Today the grounds of Castle Farms are open to the public. You can view the incredible architecture of the castle and outbuildings and the beautiful botanical garden. You’ll also find the world’s largest outdoor model train in the garden. The building that once housed the farm’s blacksmith shop is now a WWI museum filled with memorabilia from the era. You can also see the owner’s private collection of antiques. Stop by the castle’s 1918 Cellars Tasting Room and Bistro to sample the farm’s Northern Michigan-produced wines and grab a bite to eat.
Fisherman’s Island State Park
Fisherman’s Island State Park has six miles of pristine, undeveloped beach along Lake Michigan. With that much sand, it’s easy to find a quiet spot along the water. It’s named for a small island off-shore. When lake levels are low the island can be reached by wading out to it. Currently, the lake is too high for that. A 2.5-mile hiking trail takes you through rolling sand dunes, forests, and bogs. It’s a great spot to take in the natural beauty of Northern Michigan.
Charlevoix South Pier Light Station and Michigan Beach Park
The Charlevoix South Pier Light Station is an iconic symbol of Northern Michigan. It’s one of the most photographed landmarks in the state. The bright red tower makes a striking contrast against the backdrop of Lake Michigan’s blue water. It’s located in Michigan Beach Park where you’ll find a large, white sand beach. There is also a playground and walking trails at the park. The restaurants and shops in downtown Charlevoix are within walking distance from the beach.
Lake Charlevoix is just inland from Lake Michigan, connected to the big lake by the Pine River Channel. The lake is a favorite spot for water sports, fishing, and swimming. With over 60 miles of shoreline, kayaking is also a popular activity on the lake. Ferry Beach Park, a public beach on Lake Charlevoix, has a playground and a boat launch. For a unique experience ride the Ironton Ferry, a cable-operated car ferry, across the south arm of the lake.
Traverse City, MI, is a popular place to visit during the summer months, but why wait until then? If you are a lover of winter, Traverse City can be a fun place to stay for a winter vacation. Here are five activities that we think you should try if you visit Traverse City during the winter months.
Skiing and Snowboarding
There is no shortage of skiing and snowboarding slopes in Northern Michigan! One of Traverse City’s most popular ski areas is Hickory Hills. This ski area has eight downhill runs for skiing fun. There is something for everyone here, whether you are a beginner skier or snowboarder, or experienced enough to conquer the advanced slopes. Head east to try Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation area, where you can choose from 16 different runs for all different skill levels.
Wine tours aren’t just for summertime fun. Visit them during the winter for an entirely different experience! Sit by the fire and sip on some wine while watching the snowfall. The Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail in Traverse City has 10 different wineries you can try all in one day! They all offer tastings and wine by the glass. Bring a group of friends for a great day!
If you are looking for another outdoor activity other than skiing or snowboarding, why not try snowshoeing? Traverse City has plenty of areas to go snowshoeing, including trails inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. It’s a great way to view the winter scenery on foot. If you don’t have your own snowshoes, you can rent them at The Homestead Resort.
Fat Tire Biking
For those of you who are avid bikers, fat-tire biking might be your thing in the winter! Feel safe on the trails and the road with fat-tire bikes. If you don’t have your own fat tire bike, you can rent one at the Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort.
Not a fan of the outdoors? Why not spend the day indoors and go shopping? Shop ‘til you drop on Front Street in Traverse City. There are a variety of shops and boutiques to browse, along with restaurants to pop into for a warm beverage. Don’t forget to stop into the Sunglass Shoppe to get your sunglasses for the upcoming spring and summer seasons!
Just because it’s winter in Northern Michigan doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Traverse City, MI has something for everyone!
With winter in full swing, many people are planning ski trips or other winter trips over the next couple of months. For some people, packing can be a challenging task since there’s a lot to pack to keep you warm. Here is our guide for packing for your upcoming winter vacation.
Pack for layering
Your thick sweaters will take up a lot of space in your suitcase. Rather than packing your bulky sweaters and sweatshirts, consider packing for layering. Pack thinner long-sleeved shirts and thin sweaters to allow more space in your suitcase. Dressing in layers will help to insulate more to keep you just as warm as a thick sweater would – or maybe even warmer!
Wear your big items
If you must take some thicker clothing on your winter trip, wear those items. This will allow for more room in your suitcase for other things. If you plan to bring boots, wear those instead of packing them in your bag. Boots take up a lot of space!
Pack your accessories
Even though you are going on a winter trip, there still are some summer items you will want to pack. If you are going to be outdoors on the slopes or on cross-country trails, you want to prepare yourself for being out in the sun. If you are a skier, don’t forget to pack your goggles. When packing your goggles, wrap them a piece of clothing for protection in your suitcase or stick them in your winter hat!
Carry your sunglasses with you at all times in your purse or around your neck. You always want to have your sunglasses close by when you step outdoors to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. Not sure what kind of sunglasses are right for you? Stop into The Sunglass Shoppe, and we can help you find the perfect pair for your winter trip!
Go with travel-size products
It can be a tedious task to go to the store and pick out all the travel-size items you will need for your trip, but we promise you it is worth it. Using travel-size products such as shampoo, toothpaste, and shaving cream will save you a ton of space and weight when you are packing. Purchase products that you can refill, and you won’t have to be buying new products continuously. You can refill them when they need to be topped off.
Don’t let the stress of packing for a winter trip be complicated. Use these tips, and you might even have enough room to take some souvenirs home with you!
We think Saugatuck, MI is a great summer spot in the state, but did you know it is also a great spot to celebrate the changing of the seasons? There is a lot to do in Saugatuck in the fall; here are a few of our favorites!
Enjoy a long walk on Oval Beach with a lot less traffic than you would see in the summer! At times you will have the whole beach to yourself! It is a peaceful place to take in the changing of the seasons. Come in the late afternoon and enjoy one of the most breathtaking sunsets over Lake Michigan.
Eat like a southerner
Experience a bit of southern home cooking in Saugatuck! The Southern is a family-owned restaurant known for its southern-style meals and a favorite among the locals. Their fried chicken sandwich and homemade biscuits will make you feel like you are in the heart of the south.
Fall is the perfect time for picking the most delicious apples! Crane’s Orchards is just a 15-minute drive south. Pick your own apples or grab a bushel already selected for you. While you are there, enjoy hayrides and get lost in their 20-acre corn maze. It’s the perfect place for all the traditional autumn activities!
Not only does the fall bring delicious apples, but it is also raspberry picking season! Riverbend Farms has acres of raspberries for you to pick yourself. The season lasts through the end of October.
Walk downtown Saugatuck
There’s so much to do in downtown Saugatuck! Treat yourself to some homemade ice cream at one of the many ice cream shops, or shop around all the little gift boutiques on Butler Street. You can make a whole day out of it. While you are there, stop in at the Sunglass Shoppe and say hi!
Climb Mount Baldhead
If you are looking to get in a little more exercise, visit Mount Baldhead. Mount Baldhead has a one-mile loop around it for hiking, biking, or walking. Climb up 302 steps to the top and get a panoramic view of Saugatuck in the fall. It’s a perfect picture opportunity for sure!
Visit the sand dunes
Saugatuck has over 2 miles of shoreline you can visit, and it’s worth the trip. Walk the shoreline and you will see 200-foot-high dunes that frame the beach! You won’t want to leave once you visit.
Go for a boat ride
A boat ride in the fall is the perfect way to say goodbye to the warm weather. Rent a boat from Retro Boat Rentals, and you can enjoy a slow cruise on the Kalamazoo River, which leads into Lake Michigan. Choose from a variety of boats to rent. They are open through October, but it’s recommended to book ahead.
Saugatuck is not just a beach town. There is plenty to do during the other seasons, so be sure to add it to your list of places to visit for some fall fun!