6 Hidden Gems to Explore in Grayling

Grayling offers a variety of activities. From hiking and paddling outdoors to exploring history, this town is made for a long weekend or a road trip stop. The next time you're in the Grayling area, make sure to make time to explore these hidden gems.

A forest of pine trees along a lakeshore.
Hartwick Pines State Park Glory Lake | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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1. Get In Touch with Nature at Hartwick Pines State Park 

With nearly 10,000 acres, Hartwick Pines State Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon outdoors on paved and unpaved hiking and biking trails, and learning about Michigan’s forest and logging industry at the exhibition hall.

2. Explore Local History at the Crawford County Historical Museum

This museum is housed in a former railroad station from the logging era, giving guests a look back in time. Artifacts range from the Native American cultures through the lumbering industry and early railroads on through the family histories of the first settlers.

3. Wander the W.J. Beal Tree Plantation  

The W.J. Beal Plantation is what remains of 80 acres planted by Professor William Beal of Michigan State University in 1888. The purpose of creating this plantation, with 40 species of trees, was to determine how well various trees and shrubs could grow on drier, sandier soil and to showcase the success. Today, guests can wander the paths self-guided for a relaxing nature walk.

4. Paddle the Au Sable River and Manistee River

Au Sable River
Au Sable River | Photo Courtesy of Instagram Fan billyschutter

Both the Au Sable and Manistee River are known for their slow currents, making paddling a relaxing activity for a few hours or a full day. The Au Sable River is also known for its wonderful fishing, so be sure to pack your gear!

5. Taste Local Flavors at the Grayling Farmers Market

Open seasonally, the Grayling Farmers Market is the spot for local vendors and farmers to sell their produce and products to the community, making it the perfect stop for visitors to taste and purchase local goods.

6. Take a Grayling Mural Tour

Take a self-guided tour of Grayling art and murals from the post office to library and everything in between, or just keep an eye out for these spots as you wander town.