Why You Should Hit Michigan’s Slopes This Summer
During our long winters, the ski resorts that dot Northern Michigan are some of the busiest spots for outdoor play. Skiers embrace the downhill slopes, hit the cross-country and snowshoe trails, and flock to the expertly groomed terrain parks with their snowboards. But when the weather warms up, the crowds don’t go away. Hitting the slopes this summer might be just what you need to add a little healthy fun into your travel plans.
In recent years, a handful of Michigan ski resorts have made a name for themselves as four-season attractions. They offer a long list of activities aimed at everyone from families traveling with small children to couples, groups and solo travelers.
When the snow melts away, Boyne Highlands transitions to an award-winning golf destination with four golf courses, as well as a mecca for mountain bikers with high-speed lift-serviced access to the top of the slopes where riders can ascend numerous trails with varying skill levels.
“While winter sports might be what most people associate Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands with, when the season turns, the resorts offer myriad of outdoor recreations that entertain families, couples, girlfriend getaways, and golf buddy trips,” said Erin Ernst, Boyne’s director of communications.
More than golf courses
Crystal Mountain, a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is a destination for biking hiking, swimming, yoga, golf, tennis, archery, laser tag and Michigan’s only alpine slide.
“We have 1,500 acres of fresh air and summertime fun for the entire family,” said Sammie Lukaskiewicz, Crystal Mountain’s vice president of marketing and communications. “A wonderful experience can also be found in the Michigan Legacy Art Park, a 30-acre preserve on Crystal Mountain property that features two miles of hiking trails among sculpture and other works of art.”
Award-winning golf courses are a unifying ingredient for these resorts. But the summer activities go way beyond the greens. Chairlifts that ferry skiers to the top of the runs in the winter switch to carrying bikers to the start of rugged downhill trails each summer. Zipline adventures are available, as are Segway tours. Some resorts offer horseback riding and at least one has an Alpine coaster you can hop on for a quick ride down a hill.
Here’s a look at what’s available this summer at some of the most popular ski resorts in Michigan to stay health and active year-round:
Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls. This sprawling resort just south of Petoskey has so many summer activities in its lineup, it might be hard to choose what to pick first. They have classic favorites like fishing, tennis, swimming and hiking. They also keep several horses on hand for guests who want to trail ride, or Segway rentals for those who like their trails more high-tech. The Zipline Adventure Tour attracts riders of all ages and the Twin Zip Ride even lets you race your bestie. Learn more at boynemountain.com
Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs. Like its sister resort, Boyne Mountain, the Highlands features ziplines, horse riding and Segways. It’s also known for its five golf courses. In 2019, The Heather was named a National Course of the Year. If you love biking, this is your spot. You can take a chairlift up with your bike, then take some thrilling downhill rides. Details at boynehighlands.com
Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. Thirty-six holes of championship golf are split between two courses at this resort, just a short drive from Frankfort. Hiking and biking can be done on site, and don’t miss a stroll through the woodland setting for the Michigan Legacy Art Park with its unique installations. For kids and grownups, one summer highlight is the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide. You take a chairlift to the top of the mountain, then cruise down a 1,700-foot curved track in an action-packed ride. Learn more crystalmountain.com
The Homestead in Glen Arbor. This resort tucked near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is all about freshwater fun. Swimming, hiking, fishing and lawn games are on the summer fun roster. But the beach is the main draw here. The Homestead stretches out along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Canoes, kayaks, tubes, SUPs and aqua-cycles are all available to rent, and guided kayak tours on the big lake can be arranged. Details at thehomesteadresort.com
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Photo credit: Getty Images, Boyne and Crystal Mountain