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The Great Outdoors Up North

Northern Michigan is not a place where people sit indoors. There is just too much to do and too many ways to spend the day in the Great Outdoors!

There is nothing like a walk on the beach or a bike ride through the woods to quiet the mind and refresh the soul. One of the top reasons that visitors and summer residents return year after year to Northern Michigan is the abundance of outdoor activities. Sure, you can partake of outdoors in the big city. Tennis, golf, running, and in places like Chicago, even sailing and boating. But the big city just isn’t Northern Michigan.

Here there is no smog, no noise, no crowds. A bike ride north of Harbor Springs might find an encounter with a deer not a city bus. A run along the Petoskey waterfront can be met with a glistening sunrise over blue water not over high rises. No high rises are here. No crowds. No traffic. No worries.

Outdoor activities are a huge part of why many people visit Northern Michigan. Our visitors and summer residents often bring back with them memories of vacations past and create new memories filled with beach days, picnics, hikes, walks, run, boat rides, and golf after dinner. Aahh, the great outdoors.


In Northern Michigan, we are blessed with long summer days. Because we are on the western edge of the Eastern time zone, sunset in July nears 10 p.m. A round of golf after dinner? Yes! Or go for a kayak, water ski, fish, take a long bike ride or toss the disk in disk golf. All after dinner in the summer months.

Summer is not the only season to be outdoors. Winter here is spectacular. Three of the country’s best downhill ski resorts–Nub’s Nob, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain are here. Cross country skiing and shoeshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, back country skiing, ice skating and sledding fill each and every winter day.

Spring brings out the golf clubs, the bikes, and the fishing gear. Play a round of disk golf and then go morel mushroom hunting. Or bike along the North County Trail and then walk on the beach and watch the sunset.
The fabulous colors of fall make a round of golf or sail on Little Traverse Bay a must.

Zip Line Adventures in Northern Michigan

Zipping down a ski hill or across a canopy of trees is a great way to experience Northern Michigan and with three zip lines Up North, a variety of experiences are available.

At Boyne Highlands, the Zipline Adventure is a year ’round, all thrills, no skills activity for the entire family. The guided 2.5-3 hour Zipline Adventure Tour features a series of eight lines traveling more than 3,250 feet. Fly at speeds of 20-25 mph on lines up to 50 feet high and over 1,300 feet in length. Starting at the top of the mountain, riders descend more than 50 stories while routed through trees and across the slopes down to the base area. The Twin Zip adds even more excitement with two rides. 800-GO-BOYNE.

Boyne Mountain’s Zipline Adventure Tour is 2.5-3 hours of pure fun featuring a series of 10 lines (9 in the winter) traveling up to 4,300 feet. The Zip Lines run year ’round. Fly at speeds of 20-25 mph on lines up to 50 feet high and 780 feet in length. These lines are routed through trees and across the slopes at Boyne Mountain. The Twin Zip start near the base of the Meadows Lift, flies a distance of 780 feet over Cliff Dweller Road, fountains, a pond and trees before landing on the final platform 25 feet above the lawn of the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa. These exciting side-by-side lines provide their own thrills and allow riders to race against friends to add to the experience! 800-GO-BOYNE.

Wildwood Rush across from Young State Park outside Boyne City offers a three-hour canopy tour travels across nine lines.

Mountain Biking and Bike Paths at Boyne Highlands

Experienced mountain biker? Never tried it before? Hit the trails at Boyne Highlands just outside Harbor Springs for biking experiences at every level.

Choose your level at Boyne Highlands… from leisurely tours to pretty extreme terrain and jumps!

This is Northern Michigan biking at its best.

The entire family can ride on wide and wooded trails rated as easy riding where you’ll enjoy some beautiful scenery and maybe even catch a glimpse of resident wildlife such as deer, rabbits, foxes and squirrels. Tour the resort property on the lightly trafficked roads through its various neighborhoods and along the courses.

If you want a more challenging ride, hop on the chairlift–yes, the same chairlift that carries skiers in the winter–to access the Boyne Highlands Bike Park and be ready for a fast moving experience. Modeled after the popular North Shore designs of the upper Northwest and Vancouver areas, this park features naturally cut trails with banked turns, heart-stopping jumps and narrow passages requiring expert maneuvering. Check out the park and trails map and if not sure you’re up for the adrenaline rush. Bike rentals are available.

Golf Courses in Northern Michigan's Gold Coast

Golfing in Northern Michigan’s Gold Coast is something special. Golfers come from around the country to play course after course where they can find something different on each course.

Northern Michigan is a golf haven. Or maybe better yet, golf heaven. With courses ranging from rolling terrain in the country side to bluff and lakeside views, there is a course for each day of the week. Or make that month! There are that many courses Up North.

Bay Harbor’s course is only a few years old but is nationally ranked each year because of its complexity and stunning terrain. Boyne has eight courses at both Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain plus Crooked Tree, Hidden River Golf & Casting Club, and Bay Harbor. Enjoy some very special courses like the historic Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix.

Golfing in Northern Michigan begins not long after the snow melts and continues late into the fall. With great lodging and dining nearby, golf vacations in Northern Michigan have it all. Early and late season golf and lodging discounts and twilight rates during the summer season are available.

Within just miles of the Northern Michigan communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Indian River, Boyne City, and Mackinaw City are enough courses to allow something new day after day. Golf? Yes! Bring the clubs and put them to work in Northern Michigan.

Here are a few places to explore the great outdoors in Northern Michigan:

Winter Fun: Sledding and Ice Skating

Downhill Skiing: Downhill Skiing in Northern Michigan

Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing: Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing in Northern Michigan

Snowmobiling: Snowmobiling

Finding Petoskey Stones: Searching for Petoskey Stones

Disc Golf: Disc Golf in Northern Michigan

Visit a Fish Hatchery: Oden Fish Hatchery

Biking on the Little Traverse Wheelway: Little Traverse Wheelway

Sailing: Sailing in Northern Michigan

Kayaking: Kayaking in Northern Michigan

Whitewater Kayaking: Bear River Valley Recreation Area Whitewater Park

Swimming: Swimming in Northern Michigan

Hiking: North Country Trail

The Inland Waterway: Cruising on the Inland Waterway

Fall Color Activities: Fall Foliage in Northern Michigan on M-119 is spectacular!

Scroll below for more articles about Activities and Attractions in Northern Michigan.

Explore Activities and Attractions of Northern Michigan

Harbor Springs History Museum

Museums in Northern Michigan

Northern Michigan is home to several different museums for people of all ages which highlight the area’s businesses, history, and culture!