Three ski resorts, The Highlands, Boyne Mountain, and Nub’s Nob, grace the Petoskey Area and offer more than 160 runs between them. From fantastic beginner areas to black diamond excitement, if you want to ski or board, this is the place to be in Michigan. But the fun doesn’t stop when you take a break from the action, and there’s plenty to do if you don’t ski at all.

1. Wineries

Nearly a dozen wineries have popped up throughout the Petoskey Area in the last few years, giving you a delightful variety of red, white, fruit, and even maple wines. Particularly this time of year, chances are you will meet the owners themselves as they tell you the virtues of their particular blends. The time it right and you may be able to take part in a Wine & Paint event where a very patient artist will lead you through the ins and outs of painting your own masterpiece while sipping on a glass or two of wine. If you’re traveling with the family, that works, too, since a couple of the wineries afford family-friendly activities like snowshoeing, coloring, and s’mores making.

Some favorites include:

Burger and brews at Stiggs Brewery & Kitchen in Boyne City is a cozy little place if you’re in a “Stiggloo”. Photo credit: Michigan Barefoot Memories.

2. Shopping & Dining          

Okay, so technically, shopping and dining are two different things, but they do seem to go hand and hand so I’ll present them that way. Check out the downtowns and other specialty shops within the Petoskey Area and you’ll find an interesting array of unique items. Whether you want to window shop or power shop, you won’t be disappointed in the clothing stores, gift shops, galleries, and other locally owned treasure troves.

When hunger takes over the need for fabulous buys, you’ll find plenty of options for couples or families. The romance of Sage at the Odawa Casino may capture the attention of a couple or maybe you’ll stay right at The HighlandsNub’s Nob, or Boyne Mountain and grab a quick bite. Boyne City, just six miles from Boyne Mountain Ski Resort, has wonderful selections like Cafe Sante for European-inspired cuisine, Stiggs Brewery & Kitchen for the most amazing smoked entrees, great salads, and of course, craft beer, Red Mesa Grill has the best Mexican food in town, and Boyne River Inn that has newly reopened (just last year) to name a few.

In the heart of downtown Harbor Springs lies The New York, a Harbor Springs culinary staple for many decades. Other great options Paper Station Bistro, The Pier Restaurant, and Pierson’s Grille and Spirits.

Petoskey, Bay View, and Bay Harbor are also great options to explore for dining when you’re not on the slopes. Petoskey boasts some higher-end restaurants that are worth the visit like Chandler’s, POUR Kitchen & Bar, and the classic City Park Grill. Bay View’s Terrace Inn is home to 1911 Restaurant onsite – this restaurant is open to the public and offers up amazing food like their signature cedar-planked whitefish that comes with duchess potatoes and spinach/artichoke dip stuffed tomato. The Bay Harbor restaurant worth mentioning for dinner is NOMAD., which has wonderful small plates as well as dinner entrees – don’t skip out on a cocktail if you’re into that sort of thing.

mother and daughter smiling in innertubes as they float in the lazy river at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

The lazy river at Avalanche Bay is great way for the whole family to join in on the fun. Photo credit: Boyne Mountain Resort.

3. Avalanche Bay Indoor Water Park

The biggest (and best!) indoor waterpark in Michigan is located at Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls. Adrenalin-pumping fun like the Big Couloir is the steepest drop you’ll find at a waterpark, while the Lazy River Adventure is laid back and fit for the family. A dozen rides in balmy 84-degree temperatures, combined with terrific food service, Fritz’s Snow Fort, an engaging kids’ area where art projects are created, and a super cool arcade means everyone is happy.

Ready for a pedicure at The Spa at the Inn at Bay Harbor? Photo credit: Inn at Bay Harbor

4. Pamper Yourself at a Spa

The impact of taking time for yourself at a spa is truly underrated. What better time to take time for yourself than while you’re on vacation? Two great spas we would love to highlight in the Petoskey area are in Bay Harbor and Boyne Falls: The Spa at the Inn at Bay Harbor and The Spa at Boyne Mountain. Both of these offer you time to rejuvenate whether you are looking for a facial, massage, nail and hair services, or body treatments. What sets them apart is their setting. Boyne Mountain’s spa is situated at their ski resort and offers in addition to the previously mentioned services: a cedar sauna, a multi-level facility, steam rooms, and whirlpools. The Inn at Bay Harbor‘s Spa is located onsite at their luxury hotel that lies on the shores of Lake Michigan with calming endless views of the water. The Spa at The Inn also offers weekly Barre, Yoga, and more classes. For a full menu of either’s spa amenities click the links below.

SkyBridge Michigan at Boyne Mountain Resort is a must-see in any season that you visit! Photo credit: Boyne Mountain Resort

5. Go on an Adventure at Boyne Mountain Resort – Zipline and SkyBridge Michigan

When you think of Boyne Mountain Resort in the winter, you think of skiing, right? Well, there is that, and skiing is great! But, you’ll want to check out Boyne Mountain’s Adventure Center where they offer ziplining! They offer this thrilling ride, year-round. Choose from a 2.5-hour adventure encompassing several ropes, or the shorter option twin-zip when time won’t allow for the full-blown experience. Either way, it’s an exhilarating undertaking and you will love soaring over the snow-covered resorts. Take a deep breath and go whizzing down the lines, smiling all the way – you’ll be glad you did! Want to zipline in Harbor Springs? Boyne Mountain’s local sister location, The Highlands, offers zipline adventures too.

If you’re looking for something a little less fast-paced but might be just as thrilling… SkyBridge Michigan is a great experience in the winter months. You purchase your ticket ahead of time online or at the ticket window at Boyne Mountain that day (you’ll save a bit if you book ahead). Once you have your ticket you will ride a two-person chairlift to the top – not for skiing down. Then from the peak of the mountain, you will make your way to the SkyBridge, scan your ticket, and the gates open up for you to walk across the longest timber-towered suspension bridge in the world! From here you make your way on the bridge which crosses a valley between two peaks where you will see skiers below. About halfway across there is a see-through section that might make your stomach drop a bit but keep going to reach the other side where you will find a firepit and a Boyne Mountain food truck with refreshments.

Fun in the Petoskey Area isn’t just going downhill – it’s all around. Come see for yourself. We’ve got a room and good times waiting for you.


About the Author: Ellen Auten is a native of the area and loves to promote the next fun thing to do in the Petoskey Area – but also loves giving out local favorites and learning opportunities for all. She hopes to help in your planning process for your next trip to the Petoskey Area of northern Lower Michigan.