Northern Michigan has so much to offer for a family vacation destination. My family visited Northern Michigan for a weekend getaway that allowed us to reunite with family that we live far away from. The drive from Cincinnati is mostly expressway on I-75 North and our final destination, Boyne Mountain Resort ,was about 7 hours away.
On our way to the resort we stopped to eat lunch at Diana’s Delights in Gaylord, Michigan. Diana’s Delights is a dining gem that serves incredible breakfast and lunch. My all time favorites are the stuffed croissant french toast and the fruity grilled chicken salad. Gaylord is centrally located on I-75N about an hour south of Mackinaw City and all of the buildings in the downtown have to follow the Alpine theme in their design..even the WalMart!.
A few other noteworthy dining mentions in Gaylord are Big Buck Brewery for beer cheese soup and a local brew and the Sugar Bowl Restaurant known for their raspberry pie. Kids will enjoy observing up to 70 elk at the 105 acre Elk Park. The Elk Viewing Area is located a short distance from downtown Gaylord.
There are lots of cute shops downtown and one of my all time favorites is The Old Spud Warehouse that offers one of a kind gifts. I might have bought a gift for myself and deemed it from my kids. How nice of them!
Where we stayed
Boyne Mountain Resort offers year round fun for guests. In the winter months, you can ski or snowboard. In the warmer months, there are lots of fun outdoor activities that can easily fill your schedule. Make sure that you pick up a daily schedule at the front desk when you check in. The alpine theme throughout the property creates a wonderful vacation atmosphere.
Boyne Mountain was the perfect place for my boys to reconnect and have fun with their cousins who live 3 hours away from the resort.
During our visit we rode the scenic chairlift to the top of the mountain for a beautiful view of the surrounding area.
Boyne has heated pools that are indoor/outdoor all year round. The pools stay 10 degrees cooler than the hot tub which means that you won’t be as reluctant to swim with your kids ask.
Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark is the largest indoor waterpark in Michigan and is connected to the resort. There is an additional fee for the indoor waterpark but it’s worth it! The waterslides and play areas appeal to all adventure levels and ages. The waterpark sells food and does not allow outside food or drinks. There is a lazy river if you would rather relax and there is plenty of seating.
If you are feeling extra adventurous, check out “The Big Couloir.” This water slide begins in the launch capsule angled 10° from vertical, the steepest drop in the industry, where a trap door releases you into a narrow tunnel instantly accelerating riders to 38 feet per second. Powerful G-forces glue the rider to the wall the entire way around a 360°.
Daily Activities Onsite
During our visit we took advantage of the free activities available. In addition to the scenic chairlift and pools, we enjoyed the lawn games, rode in the hay wagon, and sat by the bonfire.
For an additional fee you can golf, rent bikes, zipline, ride horses, play paintball, kayak, enjoy the spa, and take a segway tour. Boyne Mountain also has beach access to Deer Lake on the property, shops, and several restaurants. You could easily stay there all weekend and never need to leave.
During our visit we stayed at the Salzburg Suite which slept up to 10 people. The main living area with a fireplace had kitchen, balcony, full bath, sleeper couch. On the second floor there were 3 bedrooms.
The master had a king size bed, the guest room had a queen size bed, and the kids “castle room” had 2 bunk beds that slept 4. There was a vanity with sink in the hallway and another full bath with vanity on the 2nd floor. There was plenty of room for our group of 10 to spread out and the kids LOVED the castle room. The kitchen equipped with everything that you would need to cook a meal in the unit makes it affordable for larger families who would prefer to save on meal costs.
Petoskey is one of my all time favorite cities. I love the views when you drive into town. It takes about 25 minutes to get to Petoskey from Boyne Mountain.
You can walk downtown, discover cute shops, enjoy a meal with a view at the Stafford’s Perry Hotel, or walk the pier for another perspective of the bay.
If you are looking for a restaurant with great food AND a sunset view, check out Barrel Back Restaurant!
We were there just in time to catch the most magical sunset. The atmosphere is relaxed with garage style doors that can open up during good weather and a indoor fireplace to keep it cozy, making it perfect for a date night or evening out with friends. The menu has everything from speciality sandwiches to pastas to speciality dishes. The restaurant is located less than 15 minutes from Boyne Mountain and I would highly recommend checking it out!
Boyne City is less than 15 minutes from the resort. The downtown has cute shops and restaurants within walking distance to Lake Charlevoix. Red Mesa Grill is a great dining option. Their smoky refried beans are delicious!
Downtown Boyne City is just steps away from Lake Charlevoix. There are nice walking trails by the water and plenty of benches to take in the view.
On our last day, we decided to drive up to Mackinaw City. It’s only an hour drive from the resort and it’s worth it if you have never seen the Mackinac Bridge before.
Mackinaw Crossings has lots of shops and eateries and I would HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to visit Scalawags Whitefish & Chips for incredible locally sourced whitefish.
If you enjoy history, you will want to visit Fort Michilimackinac where you can learn more about life in the 18th century.
Go Over and Under the Mackinac Bridge
The Mackinac Bridge is about an hour from Boyne Mountain and it’s worth the drive to see the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere that connects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan to the Upper Peninsula.
There is a toll to cross the bridge. $4 each way if you are in a car. I would suggest bringing cash or it will take longer when you get close to the booth. Mackinac Island is nearby by ferry but I would suggest dedicating at least a full day to make the most out of your visit.
We tried out the KIA Niro Hybrid on this trip which had FANTASTIC gas mileage! This trip put on some miles which made getting great gas mileage even better with average City/Highway/Combined of 46/40/43! My kids had enough room in the backseat and I loved being able to plug in my laptop to get work done while my husband was driving.