Benzie, Mich., for the Family

Benzie County in Northern Michigan is a perfect escape for families seeking an outdoor adventure among charming small towns with modern, hip venues and amenities.

“There’s a real love affair with Northern Michigan and all it has to offer, making Benzie County the place to be for the perfect vacation. No matter what type of vacation visitors are looking for — majestic beaches, lots of blue water and sky, abundant exciting outdoor recreation, stunning natural beauty, a relaxed vibe, modern and sophisticated shops, great restaurants and comfortable lodging — Benzie has all the amenities to satisfy everyone’s interests and needs,” explains Mary Carroll, president, Make it Benzie, the region’s visitors bureau.

The smallest county in Michigan, Benzie offers visitors two major rivers and more than 50 lakes, one of them Lake Michigan. Activities range from wine tasting to brewery touring, hang gliding to boating.

Where to Stay

Crystal Mountain is an award-winning accommodation option in Benzie, right in the center of slope activity in the winter and summer activities like hiking and biking in the summer. The property recently completed an $11 million expansion, which exhanced its offerings with 25 luxury suites, a gourmet food market, a coffee and wine bar and a rooftop terrace. Amenities include an award-winning spa, two championship golf courses and even the state’s only alpine slide.

Another option is Coastal Suites Resort, a newly renovated getaway near Crystal Lake. It offers what it describes as “affordable luxury” for modern hospitality in the town of Beulah. The property boasts an outdoor spa, fire tables and plenty of common spaces throughout.

What to Do

Don’t miss out on Northern Michigan’s great breweries. Stormcloud Brewing Company has been named No. 1 Brew Pub in Northern Michigan and No. 1 Best New Brewery in Michigan. It just opened a new bottling production facility this year and the associated tasting room and beer garden opened this summer over Memorial Day Weekend. You’ll find Belgian-inspired ales, classic beer styles and even cider and mead.

If you’re not quite sure what you’re in the mood for, head to Area 31, a unique gathering place of regional vendors. Discover area food trucks, craft displays, flea market finds and more.

Where to Eat

For breakfast, lunch or cocktails, try Birch & Maple in Frankfort. The menus range from braised short rib hash and maple banana bread pudding for breakfast to smoked salmon sandwiches and buttermilk-fried chicken for lunch.

An award-winning and family-run barbecue joint, Jim’s Joint BBQ serves Northern Michigan-style pork, beef and ribs, with classic sides like baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad. Don’t miss the BBQ Pork Mac Bowl for a truly mouth-watering combination of mac ’n cheese topped with pulled pork. The restaurant also has flatbreads and salads on its menu.

Thinking of Staying in Benzie?

You can now book a Make It Benzie getaway experience, which includes more than 20 complimentary amenities and steep discounts on regional activities. The offer is available for guests staying more than two nights through Oct. 31 at participating properties. Check out visitbenzie.com for more information.