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.  

 

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Jackson

If you’ve never been to Jackson, you may be unaware of the incredible history that lies within this city! From an iconic prison site to a booming auto industry, Jackson has its share of surprising (and sometimes shocking) stories. Fortunately, those stories live on today through businesses, museums, and architecture that are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Read on to learn more and discover some fun facts about Jackson you might not have known!

Delicious foods can be found at Jackson's Coney Island

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

 1. It’s Where The Coney Was Invented

I love a good coney as much as the next girl, but only recently realized that there’s a whole world of coneys outside of Detroit! Contrary to popular belief that the coney originated in Detroit, Jackson actually introduced its first coney restaurant in 1914 (that’s three years before the motor city opened its first location). Like Detroit, Jackson has two neighboring competitors—Jackson Coney Island and Virginia Coney Island, each of which has its own loyal following. As for which is better, I honestly found the results too close to call. You’ll have to visit to decide for yourself!

Explore a Jackson prison tour for fascinating history

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

 2. Law Abiding Citizens Live In Prison Cells

Once the world’s largest walled prison, Michigan’s First State Prison is now Armory Arts Village, a community of galleries, workspaces, and apartments. While this historic site has transformed into a vibrant neighborhood, tours are available from Jackson Historic Prison Tours for anyone who’s interested in learning about its controversial past. Get a first-hand look at the former prison’s amazing architecture and eerie basement (formerly solitary confinement), and peek into a current resident’s living space (a loft apartment that was once 36 cell blocks). From industrialism to rehabilitation, the influence this landmark has on Jackson’s history is remarkable (and not to be missed).

Prison cells at the Jackson State Prison

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Bowman, Permissions given by the Michigan Department of Corrections

 3. Dr. Kevorkian Passed Through Here

Interested in seeing a more current representation of prison life? Cell Block 7, a museum located on the grounds of a functioning prison, was recently an active cell block that served as the entry point for convicts such as Kwame Kilpatrick and Jack Kevorkian. Inmate-free since 2007, Cell Block 7 is now open to the public and provides a look at how intense life behind bars really is. Whether you visit on your own or in conjunction with an historic prison tour, you’ll leave with a sobering reminder that freedom isn’t something to be taken for granted.

Jackson has a rich automotive history

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

4. It Once Rivaled Detroit As The Motor City

Most people associate cars with Detroit, but few know that Jackson was home to multiple auto manufacturers around the turn of the 20th century! Ye Ole Carriage Shop in nearby Spring Arbor features 18 made-in-Jackson vehicles, including a 1902 steam-powered JAXON and a 1908 2-cylinder Fuller (the only one of its kind known to still exist). Available for group tours, Ye Ole Carriage Shop also showcases several other classic cars and antiques, including vintage radios, toys, and an impressive Coca-Cola room (call ahead to schedule a group tour).

 5. It’s Home To A 500-Foot, Light-Up Waterfall

Each year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Jackson residents and visitors are invited to enjoy concerts, fireworks, nightly light shows, and more at the Cascades waterfall in Sparks Park. Unveiled in 1932, this manmade wonder features colorful light and water shows, and can be synchronized to music for weddings and other events—quite a sight to behold!

Take a trip to the Jackson Train Station

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Bowman

6. It’s Where You’ll Find The Nation’s Oldest Continually-Operating Train Station

Jackson is a train town—a title that’s literally put it on the map for over 140 years! Welcoming travelers such as presidents (and presidential candidates) McKinley, Taft, Eisenhower, and Kennedy, the Jackson Depot has served passengers every day since 1873 and continues to receive Amtrak trains daily.

How many of Jackson’s historic activities have you experienced for yourself? Share your favorites (or activities that interest you most) in the comments! 

Jennifer-Bowman-BioJennifer Bowman is a southwest Virginia native who moved to metro Detroit in 2011. Fascinated by travel and discovering new places, Jennifer spends her free time exploring Michigan towns and writing about her experiences on her blog, Wading in Big Shoes. To keep up with her adventures, you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Four Places for Glamping in Michigan

Glamping is a new way to experience the outdoors. Also known as glamorous camping, there’s typically no need to pitch a tent or unroll your sleeping bag while still enjoying the beautiful outdoors. This summer is the perfect time to try out this new form of traveling. To get you started, here are a few glampgrounds in Pure Michigan perfect for your next summer vacation.

sea-kayak-lake-superior-768x512

Photo Courtesy of Mount Bohemia

Mount Bohemia

Located in the Upper Peninsula, Mount Bohemia is a 1,100-acre all-inclusive resort on the shore of Lake Lac La Belle. This resort is perfect for all types of families and friends, providing a wide range of accommodations from log cabins and inns to yurts and hostels. A ton of amenities are also included, like meals, lodging, guides and all the equipment to explore the outdoors via kayak, fishing, biking and more! This is the perfect place to explore the Upper Peninsula as it is almost as far north as you can get in Michigan. There is even a yoga retreat this summer! This is one glampground you don’t want to miss so reserve your vacation today.

camp buttercup

Photo Courtesy of Camp Buttercup

Camp Buttercup

Just ten miles west of Ann Arbor, Camp Buttercup is an English-style glamping retreat on a private country estate in Southeast Michigan. Here you can enjoy camping and commune with nature without giving up the comforts of sophisticated lodging. Dexter has tons of activities for your enjoyment including, but not limited to, biking, fishing, bird watching, yoga, picnics and more! Stay in an authentic English Shepherd hut from Somerset, England for your next retreat. There are several types of retreats to choose from like Creative Arts or Total Health Journey. If you don’t see one you like, you can even tailor a custom retreat specifically to your needs.

yurt wild cherry

Photo Courtesy of Wild Cherry Resort

Wild Cherry Resort

Wild Cherry Resort in the Traverse City area on the Leelanau Peninsula could be the perfect place for you to take a vacation this summer! Although there are tent sites for more traditional camping, RVs and yurts are also available for a more luxurious stay. Inside the yurts are a small table, a queen-size bed, a twin-size trundle and a day bed. One can even order the wine, cheese, fruit and flowers package for a more lavish stay. Local activities include the Leelanau Wine Trail, kayaking, the National Cherry Festival, fishing and more outdoor activities.

Photo Courtesy of Bella Solviva

Photo Courtesy of Bella Solviva

Bella Solviva

Expected to open this summer, Bella Solviva is a glamping eco-resort created for the outdoor adventure enthusiast. Located in the Antrim Chain of Lakes region in the greater Grand Traverse Bay area, there is an array of lodging options at the resort including safari tents, teepees, cabins, tree houses and more unique accommodations! If you’re looking for fun outdoor activities, Bella Solviva hopes to have several sports like volleyball and basketball, a ropes course and even a zipline! Check out the website for updates on the opening and to see which accommodations you can reserve today!

Where have you glamped in Pure Michigan? Let us know below!