Benzonia, Mich. (February 22, 2018) – Spring break is right around the corner. For those who plan to stay home this year, consider a last-minute getaway to Northern Michigan’s Benzie County where outdoor activities are fun and the travel time is just a few hours away.
Most everyone has been enthralled with the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. Try out outdoor activities during Spring Break that are part of the winter games. At top-rated resort Crystal Mountain there are lessons one can do in downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. Crystal Mountain named one of the “top ten best ski resorts for families in the U.S. and Canada” by Conde Nast, features superb downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, ice hockey, fat tire bike trails & rentals, snowshoeing, as well as, children’s activities. Adults love their luxurious spa services at the award-winning Crystal Spa and superb dining at Thistle Pub & Grille and Wild Tomato Restaurant. (Baby-sitting services are also available through the resort.)
Each weekend in March, Crystal Mountain will feature family friendly events sure to make an impression with kids of all ages and adults.
- March 2 – 3, 2018 Crystal Mountain will be celebrating Mardi Gras. Mask making, costume contests and a scavenger hunt for beads will light up the slopes during the day. A DJ Party, BBQ and Seafood Boil and Adult Live Music from 8 p.m. to midnight will highlight the evening hours.
- March 9 – 10, 2018 it’s Crystal Mountain’s Spring Carnival. With spring skiing in full swing, the family can enjoy cardboard sled races (all sleds are required to be made of just cardboard and duct tape!). There will also be a slush cup race where contestants gleefully sport costumes and ski into ice cold water! Evening events include a DJ Dance party and BBQ, with hula hoop and limbo contests for those who love to compete. From 6 – 9 p.m. a concert with Nashville’s best act in country music Drew Hale will perform with his band slopeside under a big tent.
- March 16 – 17, 2018 enjoy a fun-filled Celts and Kayaks St. Patrick’s weekend at Crystal Mountain. The headline event is kayak races down the mountain (equipment provided), and for the tykes, day long children’s activities at the Park at Water’s Edge. Late afternoon a DJ Party will begin, and after that, an evening adult concert featuring Brena, a six-member band performing oldies, current top-40 hits, classic rock, R&B, country and more.
- March 23 – 24, 2018 tops off the month with Retro Weekend at Crystal Mountain when everyone gets decked out in retro attire including neon, vintage sweaters, ringer tees, vintage jeans and more. Skiing challenges, fat tire bike racing, a DJ Party, BBQ and a karaoke contest are all a part of Retro Weekend action.
There are many lodging choices in Benzie County, including quaint cottages, cozy cabins, inns, motels and condos. Centered in Frankfort’s historic Main Street, just two blocks from iconic Lake Michigan, sits the Hotel Frankfort, a boutique hotel with 17 guest rooms. The Hotel Frankfort’s Romantic Run-Away-from-Home Package includes a 2-night stay in a luxury suite including jacuzzi or hot tub with sauna, a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Call Hotel Frankfort at 231-352-8090 for information.
For an entire listing of unique lodging, see www.visitbenzie.com. For assistance with lodging choices, call the Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 800-882-5801. Sign up for the Benzie County Visitor’s Bureau E-Newsletter at Special page.
More Spring Experiences in Benzie County
Escape to a beautiful place at Crystal Mountain for outdoor art and peaceful hiking at Michigan Legacy Art Park within the grounds of Crystal Mountain. The Art Park, located on a densely wooded 30-acre preserve, includes 1.6 miles of hiking trails and features over 50 sculptures, poetry stones. (The art park has an outdoor amphitheater where, in the summer months, a concert series is held.) Admission is $5 per adult, children and Crystal Mountain houseguests can explore for free.
Starting in April, Spring is the time to renew the body with relaxing and inviting special spa services. Starting April 1 through May 15, 2018, the Crystal Spa at Crystal Mountain will offer Spa Days with select massage, body and facial services starting at just $69. Crystal Spa, a 18,500-square-foot, Leed-Certified oasis at the heart of Crystal Mountain honors the art and natural beauty of northern Michigan in a setting that awakens and inspires. Within the comforts of this elegant retreat, Crystal Spa guests enjoy a welcoming, attentive staff and complimentary Eucalyptus steam rooms, infrared saunas, an indoor relaxation lounge, and a mosaic hot tub garden as part of the Spa Days experience. Spa Days special pricing includes an Espresso Mud Body Scrub, an Herbal Remedies Massage, Deep Tissue massage, Relaxation Massage, Spa Days Facial, an Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial, as well as special pedicure and manicures.
For hikers and mountain bikers, Springtime opens up many great trails in Benzie County.
The Betsie Valley Trail is an easy to moderate 22+-mile trail that runs from Frankfort to Thompsonville. The Betsie River Pathway is an easy to moderate trail winding through the Pere Marquette National Forest. The Lake Ann Pathway, is a 6-mile picturesque forest trail with easy to moderate terrain and views of lakes, bogs, and the Platte River, and the popular Michigan Legacy Art Park is a 30-acre preserve art park within the grounds of Crystal Mountain featuring over 50 sculptures, poetry stones, natural woods and spectacular views. (no bicycles)
Benzie County’s bird migration will be at its peak from early April until mid-May. One hundred species of birds will be making their way to and through Benzie County. With its rolling hills covered by forests and fields, numerous lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, marshes, and coastline along Lake Michigan, Benzie County is ideally situated for migrating birds. In past years, as many as 168 species have been reported in one day by area bird societies. Benzie County has also had the highest bird count reported of any other county in northern Michigan. Public locations for bird sightings include the iconic Point Betsie lighthouse, Elberta’s Marsh and Betsie Bay. Sightings of waterfowl include loons and long-tailed ducks, Sandhill Cranes, American Bitterns, Sedge Wrens and Willow Flycatchers. Woodland species in the spring that can be sighted along Peterson Road in Northern Benzie County include Hermit Thrushes, Common Nighthawks. Blackburnian, Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers and Olive-sided Flycatchers.
Numerous natural areas in Benzie County reveal beautiful wildflowers – trillium, jack-in-the pulpit, lady slippers and pitchers thistle. And, for those who possess luck and a keen eye, edible wild morel mushrooms and leeks can be found in Benzie County’s woods and forests corresponding to spring’s seasonal temperatures.
Art is also alive in Benzie County in the springtime. The spring season allows ease to explore unique galleries within the town of Frankfort, and villages of Beulah, Benzonia, and nearby Empire. Among the many noteworthy galleries are those where artists are in residence including Ellie Harold Fine Art (located in the artist’s home!), Focus Gallery with stunning photography by Drew Smith, and State of the Art Framing and Gallery featuring the creations of ArtPrize winners Ann and Steve Loveless. A trip to Benzie County wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the historic studio of Gwen Frostic, well-known Northern Michigan artist who made the Benzie County area famous with her nature inspired artwork. Another exquisite Empire gallery is Sleeping Bear Gallery with works by many Northern Michigan and Midwest artists. The Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts in Frankfort, located along the Betsie Bay and just steps from Lake Michigan, also features art exhibitions by Northern Michigan artists, as well as classes, workshops and a gift shop. And, of course, there is Michigan Legacy Art Park within the grounds of Crystal Mountain.
After spa-ing, nature walks and art inspired journeys, take in some of the memorable watering holes – Benzie County’s St Ambrose Cellars, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Lake Ann Brewing Company or Iron Fish Distillery. Then settle in at one of many unique cozy restaurants in Benzie County to make your relaxing journey complete. Among the many unique and locally owned restaurants, food is inspiring at Stormcloud Brewing Company and the Fusion in Frankfort, The Cabbage Shed in Elberta, Cold Creek Inn in Beulah, Roadhouse Mexican Bar and Grill in Benzonia, Platte River Inn in Honor, and the Thistle Pub and Grille at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville.
General Information about Benzie County
Benzie County is a perfect vacation getaway with quaint towns and villages such as Frankfort, Elberta, Honor, Thompsonville, Beulah, Benzonia, and Lake Ann plus the majestic Crystal Lake. Benzie County has spectacular beaches, miles of biking and walking trails, views of Lake Michigan, and great restaurants and shops. Perfectly situated along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Benzie County has nearly 30 miles of Lake Michigan coastline, 57 inland lakes, approximately 200 miles of rivers, and 22 miles for biking along the Betsie Valley Trail. Outdoor activities in the spring, summer and fall include fishing, golfing, biking, hiking, running, kayaking, and much more.
Benzie County is only 130 miles north of Grand Rapids, 235 miles north of Detroit, 290 miles north of Chicago, 295 miles north of Fort Wayne and 380 miles north of Indianapolis. Plan a couple of days or more and get a true flavor of the relaxed pace and exquisite natural beauty of Benzie County.