Explore Sun, Water and Fun in Benzie County This Summer

They say water is life and we couldn’t agree more!  With over 57 inland lakes, over 20 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 200 miles of rivers, Benzie County Michigan is a water wonderland.

Benzie County is located in the heart of Northwest Michigan’s Lower Peninsula along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and home to some of the most beautiful lakes and rivers in the state.  The sapphire waters of Crystal Lake offer recreation of all types from fishing to water skiing.  The Betsie and Platte Rivers are among the best kayaking, canoeing and tubing, or maybe a smaller lake is more to your liking, if so, we have over 50 others to choose from.

Explore Lake Michigan fishing in Benzie County

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

The Sleeping Bear Dunes, which begins in Benzie County and continues into Leelanau County, was named The Most Beautiful Place in America by the viewers of Good Morning America in 2011. The Dune climb or the Pierce Stocking scenic drive should be on everyone’s bucket list.  The park also offers many other beach and trail options along with a variety of educational programs throughout the year.

Benzie County is also known as “the Best Place in Michigan for Outdoor Sports & Recreation.” Outdoor activities cater to a wide variety of sports and recreational interests including biking, hiking, running, golf, fishing, kite boarding, surfing and more. Championship level to intermediate and beginning golfers have plenty choices at area courses which boast natural beauty and magnificent scenic views.  There are locations for renting golf clubs, bikes, kayaks and other recreational equipment, as well.

An aerial shot of the Benzie County coast

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

So after a day on the water or exploring a trail, Benzie County has great shopping and dining choices.  Many of the local dining establishments offer farm-to-table options on their menus.  If a winery, brewery or distillery is more to your liking, we have those too!  Our option of overnight lodging has something for everyone.  From our world class resort, Crystal Mountain to small mom & pop resorts, motels, cabins and homes that fit every need, you will find a great place to lay your head at the end of the day.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse stands tall

Photo Courtesy of Drew Smith Photography and the Benzie County CVB

Explore the Benzie Treasure Trove package this summer

Photo Courtesy of the Benzie County CVB

Looking to add some value to your vacation to Benzie County?  Our 2016 Benzie Treasure Trove promotion is an excellent way to put some real bang in your vacation bucks.  Come stay two or more consecutive nights at one of our 24 participating lodging properties and we’ll load you up with “booty” valued to nearly $300 from over 20 local businesses!  The package includes freebies, two-for-ones, discounts and a prize from the Benzie County Visitors Bureau by pulling a jewel from our Treasure Chest.  Just a few of the items included are a free slice of cherry pie from the Cherry Hut, a free root beer float from the A&W, two-for-one golf at Betsie Valley Golf Courses, a free dessert with your dinner purchase at Cold Creek Inn and so much more. Details and requirements for this promotion can be found on the Benzie County Visitor Bureau’s website, www.visitbenzie.com .

For more information on visiting Benzie County, Northern Michigan Preserved®, you can call our office at 800-882-5801 or explore our website, www.visitbenzie.com and be sure to like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/benziecounty.cvb

Mary Carroll is the President of the Benzie County Visitors Bureau and Benzie County Chamber of Commerce overseeing both organizations for the past eight years.  A born and bred Michigander, Mary love her state and appreciates the fact that she gets to work in and promote one of the best area in Michigan.  

 

8 Steps to the Perfect Summer Day in Grand Haven

Grand Haven is a quintessential, all American beach town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. While staying in the area, you’re always within minutes of walking along the sandy beaches and dipping your toes in the water. Though it is a year round destination, you can’t beat a warm, sunny summer day. Here are 8 Steps to a perfect day by the lake in Grand Haven!

1)      Wake Up & Fuel Up

You have a big day ahead of you so start it off right with coffee and breakfast at Morning Star Café. Whether you have a big appetite or are looking for healthy options, you will quickly discover how hard it is narrowing down your options. It all sounds so good – and it is! Menu favorites include the marble corn bread scramble, stuffed French toast, and vegetarian crepes. To top it all off, the restaurant is colorful yet cozy and the staff is top notch and super friendly.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

2)      Take a Hike

Now that you’ve fueled up and had your caffeine fix, you’re ready to burn off some calories. Mid-morning is the perfect time to head out to Rosy Mound Natural Area before the temp rises. Rosy Mound is a classic Great Lakes dune system including high wooded dunes, foredunes, beach and a dune blowout.  The winding trails, stairs and boardwalks offer quite the workout but the views are beyond worth it.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

3)      Hit The Beach

Let’s go to the beach! Lucky for you there are many public beaches to choose from in the Grand Haven area. The Grand Haven State Park is a popular choice since it’s located close to downtown, the boardwalk, and offers a stunning view of the pier and lighthouses. Kirk Park is the more laid back option and even offers an off-leash dog beach. Don’t forget the snacks and the sunscreen!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

4)      Lunch Time

It’s already been a busy day but there’s still more to do -  so it’s time to refuel with a quick lunch break. On Harbor Drive you will find two iconic Grand Haven eateries: Pronto Pups and Butch’s Beach Burritos. Pronto Pups is a tiny, white and yellow stand that has served up their addicting Pups since 1947. Butch’s offers up classic burritos and tacos with freshly-made salsa along with specialty hot dogs. The Chiwawa Chili Dog is their famous dog topped with beef, beans, cheese, and salsa served in a bun and then wrapped in warm tortilla. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

5)      Discover Downtown

Downtown Grand Haven is just down the boardwalk from Grand Haven State Park and is lined with picturesque, historic buildings who are home to a unique variety of shops and eateries. Favorite stops include Fortino’s, MacKite, Michigan Rag Company, and Calico Cat. Don’t miss stopping in at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum’s two locations including the restored 1870s railroad Depot. Not sure where to start? Jump on the open air trolley for a narrated tour of the city.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

6)      Rooftop Dinner & Drinks

The Kirby House started as a hotel in the late 1800s and has had many lives since. Today it offers three different dining options including K2 which serves up wood-fired pizzas and seasonal cocktails. The specialty pizza menu has something for everyone including the classics as well as the likes of the Spicy Thai, Lobster Carbonara, and Boursin Mushroom. Be sure to sit outside on the rooftop patio for views of the boardwalk, Grand River channel, and Lake Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

7)      Sail Into the Sunset

The Grand Haven pier and the beach are fantastic options for catching the nightly sunset over Lake Michigan. However, the best seat in town is aboard the Wind Dancer – a 63-foot double gaff-rigged schooner. During their nightly sunset sails, you are invited to help raise the sails, take the wheel or simply kick back and enjoy.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

8)      Lights, Water, Action!

At dusk the Grand Haven harbor is filled with music and lights thanks to the nightly Musical Fountain performance. For over 50 years, the Musical Fountain has delighted visitors of all ages with its synchronized water and light show accompanied with music from almost every genre.  On your way to see the fountain, be sure to grab an ice cream cone or sundae from Temptations to enjoy during the show. The perfect ending to the perfect day by the lake in Grand Haven!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

StephanieHerderAbout the Author: Born and raised in the Grand Haven area, Stefanie Herder has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for over fifteen years where she has done everything from scooping ice cream to destination marketing. Now as the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, she loves seeing the area through the eyes of a visitor and sharing it with the world. You can follow Visit Grand Haven on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to add ‘VisitGrandHaven’ as a friend on Snapchat, too!

19 Things to do this Summer in Holland, Michigan!

Well-known for its Dutch history, Holland is historic yet hip. This unique place offers something for every personality.  Discover Holland put together a list of things that you need to experience before this summer is over.

19. Climb 230 steps to the top of Mt. Pisgah, a towering sand dune with stunning views of Lake Michigan, Lake Macatawa and Big Red Lighthouse.

18. Tour a 260 year-old historic windmill! “DeZwaan” is the only authentic, working, Dutch windmill in the United States! This gem is at the center of a 36-acre public park with manicured lawns, landscaped gardens, and a Dutch street organ. You can take a guided tour of this landmark structure, celebrating 50 years in Holland, Michigan!

DeZwaan Windmill. Photo Courtesy of Scott Mievogel.

DeZwaan Windmill. Photo Courtesy of Scott Mievogel.

17. Nelis’ Dutch Village – slide down a giant wooden shoe slide, kick up your heels at an authentic Dutch Dance lesson or get a birds’-eye view from the antique Ferris wheel. New in 2015 – make your own authentic Stroopwaffel at the Hungry Dutchman Café!

16. Learn how Holland’s breweries and distilleries are using Michigan-grown products to create their award-winning beers and spirits. Tour New Holland Brewing Company’s brewing and distilling facilities (Saturdays only), or Coppercraft Distillery (Wednesday-Saturday) for a farm-to-glass experience! A stop Warner Vineyards’ tasting room in downtown Holland will complete your tasting experience with samples of fine Michigan wines – or a wine slushie!

15. The Holland Farmers Market is the place to find the freshest local, seasonal produce, meats, cheeses and more! Visit Saturdays at 10am for the weekly Chef Series presentation or Wednesday mornings for free kids’ activities.

Holland Farmers Market - Photo Courtesy of Scott Meivogel.

Holland Farmers Market – Photo Courtesy of Scott Meivogel.

14. Thursday nights the streets of downtown Holland come alive with the Summer Street Performer Series, where you’ll find 8th Street packed with families enjoying more than 30 eclectic street performers, from mimes to musical acts to aerial acrobats!

13. Experience the lakeshore from two wheels – the Holland area has more than 155 miles of paved, bike paths for riders of all levels, as well as dedicated mountain biking trails. Is kicking back more your style? Take a ride on the Petal Cab, a pedi-cab service that offers tours of the Holland area.

12. Dine al fresco at Holland’s beautiful waterfront restaurants, (The Piper or Boatwerks), or view a stunning sunset from the 5th floor deck at CityVu Bistro, located in downtown’s CityFlats Hotel.

11.  Enjoy a summer sunset over Lake Macatawa during a Friday night concert at Kollen Park, where live music from high-energy regional acts brings the crowd to their feet!

10. Art in the Park is Holland’s annual fine arts and crafts fair in Centennial Park. The 46th annual fair on August 1 welcomes the lakeshore’s finest artists, potters and makers to showcase their wares in the heart of Holland. Local downtown galleries join the fun during the special gallery walk events Friday, July 31- Saturday August 1.

9. Savor the lakeshore, Michigan’s most agriculturally diverse region, with a u-pick experience at one of the area’s farms. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches and apples are all readily available in season.

8. Explore the trails at the Outdoor Discovery Center or DeGraaf Nature Center, where you’ll find educational nature experiences and good old-fashioned fun! Families will enjoy barrier-free fishing and trail access at the Outdoor Discovery Center, and enjoy events like Maple Sugar Days at DeGraaf.

7. The fun continues even as summer winds down – the Holland/Zeeland Truck Parade on Monday, September 7 begins in downtown Zeeland and ends at the Holland Civic Center with a chance to climb aboard the big rigs!

6. Shop ‘til you drop! Downtown Holland’s eclectic mix of retail boutiques means there’s something for everyone – and get ready to find a bargain during the annual Sidewalk Sales August 7 and 8!

Downtown Holland Shopping. Photo Courtesty of Scott Meivogel.

Downtown Holland Shopping. Photo Courtesty of Scott Meivogel.

5. Have a hands-on cooking experience at Fustinis Oil & Vinegar, where cooking classes focusing on seasonal ingredients invite you to taste and experience fresh-pressed olive oil and flavor-infused vinegars.

4. Pour a candle at Candle-ology, inside Moynihan Gallery! Create your own custom scent from more than 100 choices or make your own soy candle or custom-scented room diffuser, liquid soap or lotion!

3. Pick up a self-guided historic walking tour brochure at the Holland Visitors Bureau and wander through Holland’s quaint historic neighborhoods where you’ll learn about the early Dutch settlers and how their ingenuity shaped the lakeshore’s history. During the summer, the Holland Museum and Gazelle Sports offer guided walks on designated Fridays.

2. Take a dip in the “Big Lake”! The shimmering waters of Lake Michigan welcome you from Holland State Park, Tunnel Park or several other Holland-area beaches. You’ll find sugar-sand beaches with plenty of room for all, including an off-leash dog beach at Kirk Park.

1. Catch a sunset with your family! There’s no better memory-maker than spending an evening watching the sun sink into the water from the pier at Holland State Park or perched atop the dune at Tunnel Park.