Stay. Just a Little Bit Longer.
When 24 hours just isn’t enough—and let’s be serious, in Gaylord’s lush June, July and August days, sometimes even 48 hours isn’t—you’re going to want to spend the night. Here, two summertime spots where the accommodations are easy, breezy and beautiful:
Otsego Lake State Park Launch your boat in the big water, sun your buns on the half-mile beach, drop a line from the pier—you’ll have time enough to do it all if you overnight in one of this 62-acre park’s 155 sites. 989-732-5485.
Otsego Lake County Park Sure, there are 27 acres, 80 wooded campsites and, of course, big ol’ Otsego Lake for swimming, boating and fishing. But roughing it? Only if you find basketball courts, electric hookups, showers and, oh yeah, wireless internet to be abrasive amenities.
Get on the water
Here are three ways to experience the North’s liquid refreshment:
1. Head to Otsego Lake State Park and strap on a pair of waterskis for some splashin’ good sun. 989-732-5485.
2. Test your mettle on the fastest river in Northern Lower Michigan, the Sturgeon, onboard one of Big Bear Adventures’ canoes or kayaks. (Don’t feel like testing the river’s estimated 75-percent tip-over rate, too? Jump in an ultra-stable 5- or 7-person raft, a tube or an inflatable kayak—
called a Cat—instead.) 231-238-8181, bigbearadventures.com
3. Lots of rivers run through our region, but the faves for fly fishing are the mighty Manistee, Au Sable, Sturgeon and Pigeon Rivers.
Take-Home Treat: Strawberry Fields Forever
Like a smooch from the soil, our heartshaped berries are petite, unbelievably sweet and the first step to falling head over heels with Up North’s summer bounty. You’ll find these crimson babies bursting from the earth in late June, and if you know what’s good for you—vitamin C, manganese, fiber, folate and even some Omega 3’s, don’tcha know—you’ll traipse on down to Estelle’s Strawberry Patch, here
you can pick (or order) your own. Find Estelle’s Strawberry Patch nine miles west of Gaylord on Alba Road, 989-732-7424, pickyourown.org.
Double-fun Daytrip for the Fam
Got a wild child? Bring him or her to Call of the Wild, an educational museum that showcases more than 60 wild (stuffed) North American animals-from a 6-inch least weasel to an 11-foot polar bear. Call of the Wild recreates the animals' natural habitat with hand-painted scenes and sounds, plus offers activity sheets, scavenger hunts, a hands-on learning center an a wildlife theatre.
Once your wee one's brain is saturated with animals smarts, it's time to blow off steam. Head next door to Bavarian Falls Park, home an 18-hole adventure golf course, Krazy Kars bumper cars and a 1/4 mile Go-Cart track.
MACKINAW CITY A short drive to the Tip of the Mitt is a gateway to Mackinac Island, but don’t miss its offerings on your way to catch the island ferry. The Victorian-themed downtown boasts lots of Up North goodies. Just outside of downtown, you’ll find two stops history buffs will love: Fort Michilimackinac, a perfectly preserved 18th century-built trading post and military fort, and Historic Mill Creek State Park,
which showcases a replica of 1800’s-era British sawmill and workshop.
Do like the locals do: Grab an ice cream cone from the Alpine Chocolat Haus and pop over to the Pavilion on Friday night for a free summer concert. Throughout the year, keep your eyes peeled for other Pavilion events like, antique shows and festivals. Corner of Main and Court Streets downtown, shopdowntowngaylord.com