Make vacation plans to enjoy 2011 in Benzie County, Michigan's 'Best Location for Outdoor Sports and Recreation'

Perfectly situated along the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, Benzie County, Michigan has nearly 30 miles of Lake Michigan coastline, 57 inland lakes, hills and valleys, 22 miles for biking along the Betsie Valley Trail, and approximately 200 miles of rivers. Outdoor activities for vacationers and sports enthusiasts include fishing, golfing, biking, hiking, running, and kayaking in the spring, summer and fall months.

As one of the best places in Michigan for Outdoor Sports and Recreation, Benzie County Michigan offers outdoor activities for vacationers and sports enthusiasts include fishing, golfing, biking, hiking, running, and kayaking in the spring, summer and fall months.

For people looking for sports and recreation that are unique, Benzie County has Michigan’s only Alpine Slide, the Crystal Coaster at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa. To ride on the Crystal Coaster one of the chair lifts takes you to the top of the mountain for an exhilarating ride down on a specially-designed sled over 1,600-foot-long curved tracks. Riders control the speed in this action-packed thrill ride with dips, high-bank turns and spectacular views. Benzie County also is perfect for special water sports like surfing and paddleboarding due to excellent Lake Michigan beaches and numerous inland lakes. Surfing and paddleboarding classes are offered by area businesses.

Benzie County Visitors Bureau Board Chairman Steve Campbell, owner of Harbor Lights Resort on Lake Michigan states, “Benzie County is the place that visitors from the bigger cities come to for a relaxing, yet active vacation. With 30 miles of Lake Michigan coastline, fantastic beaches, miles of bike trails, and the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore & Park there’s plenty to do outdoors. Nature is one of Benzie County’s best assets. Once people come to Benzie County they always return because of the outdoor recreation as well as the art, farm fresh local foods, great restaurants, lodging, and shopping.” There are also over 25 award winning Michigan wineries to the north of Benzie County making for an easy daylong excursion.

Benzie County is located along Lake Michigan’s shoreline in the Lower Peninsula just 30 minutes southwest of Traverse City. Travel to Benzie County is a day’s drive or less from major Midwestern cities including:
  • Detroit (235 miles – 5 hours), 
  • Grand Rapids, (130 miles – 2.5 hours), 
  • Chicago (290 miles – 5.5 hours), 
  • Fort Wayne (295 miles – 5.5 hours
  • Indianapolis (380 miles – 7 hours)
  • Milwaukee (by way of the Lake Express Ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon)
  • Green Bay (by way of the SS Badger Lake Michigan Car Ferry from Manitowoc to Ludington).

A special opportunity for summer vacationers to Benzie County is the “Passport to Fun”. From May 1 through October 31, 2011, visitors who book two or more consecutive nights at one of many participating lodging locations in Benzie County are eligible for the 2011 “Passport to Fun”. The passport features over 15 free or discounted food, restaurant, sightseeing, kayak and golfing opportunities valued at $200.

For more information on Benzie County’s Passport to Fun, available lodging, restaurants, outdoor recreation and events contact Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 1-800-882-5801 or see