Up North at Crystal Mountain: Ultimate Friends & Couples Guide – Hot Tubs & Hiking Trails Included!

crystal mountain getaway

Spa Days, Scenic Routes, Crystal Mountain

When life gets hectic and you find your mind wandering, it’s easy to set your sights on getting away from it all by going Up North. But, where?

May we suggest Crystal Mountain Michigan?

We’re just back from a fantastic 3-night, 2-day friends adventure that left us rested and recharged and dreaming of an early bedtime. Can smiling too much, sleeping in, and hanging out at the spa make you tired? Rejuvenated and sleepy… those are signs of time well spent.

crystal mountain entrance sign

Yummy eats, adorable nearby towns and wow-worthy hikes helped fill up our Crystal Mountain bingo card with a winning combination.

Here, worries fade. You embrace life’s easy rhythm. Whether it’s a girls’ getaway or a romantic couples’ retreat, Crystal Mountain Resort should be on your list.

About Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain, located in Benzie County, is a family-owned, four-season resort offering year-round sports, including skiing, golf and a summertime Alpine slide.

With a spa, cozy accommodations, and tasty onsite dining options, visitors enjoy a host of onsite activities.

bike ride crystal mountain

Getting to Crystal is easy. It’s a pleasant drive from Traverse City, a convenient 2-hour trip from Grand Rapids, and just a few hours from Detroit.

Find it all at 12500 Crystal Mountain Dr, Thompsonville, MI 49683.

Spa Your Day Away at Crystal

Why choose one spa over another? Aren’t they all pretty similar?

From the outside, yeah, most spas look the same. But when you walk through the doors and get to know its nuances, you start to understand where a place shines.

Crystal Mountain spa refreshment
Crystal Mountain Spa ladies

I’ve been to Crystal Mountain’s spa a couple of times (as well as some other great spas) and I can say that Crystal’s spa is exceptional.

It’s comfortable, not hoity-toity. The staff are warm and welcoming. They make you feel like they’re glad you’re there, which is a wonderful feeling.

Crystal Mountain Spa women In lounge chairs

Maybe it’s their eucalyptus steam room or the attentive practitioners that make the difference.

At either rate, when you slip into that plush robe, you’re tucking your worries into that locker, right alongside your everyday clothes.

The Relaxation Lounge is stocked with hot teas, fresh fruit, and this super-refreshing cucumber mint water.

Crystal Mountain Spa friends in Outdoor Hot Tub

Our friend group loved the spa’s outdoor hot tub. (Bonus: it’s co-ed!)

The takeaway? You’ll find it all – from skincare to massages, body treatments, and nail services – at Crystal Mountain’s LEED-certified spa.

Spa Pro Tip: Crystal Mountain runs SPA DAYS every fall and spring. If you’re visiting during one of these times, you can get discounts on spa services. Book online or check their website for those deals.

Wellness Pro Tip: If you’re up for it, try Vinyasa Yoga and other classes offered at Crystal Mountain. Your spa pass also gets you into the Peak Fitness Center, the indoor pool, and another hot tub, too.

Homebase Adventures

You won’t get bored at Crystal Mountain with all of the activities they offer. The village is perfect for walking and biking, and is just begging you to explore the sprawling 1500-acre property.

Crystal Mountain Chairlift in the fall

Rent a bike for a beautiful ride, discover the Michigan Legacy Art Park, or enjoy the new ice rink they were setting up during our visit.

There’s a 24-hour shuttle that will take you around whenever you need, so once you get there you really don’t need your car unless you travel off property.

Crystal Mountain On-site Activities

BikingRenting bikes at Crystal Mountain was one of my favorite things we did here. From paved roads to dirt tracks through the forest, pick a route that works best for your group and hit the ground rolling.

bike ride crystal mountain
crystal mountain friends on rented bikes

Chairlift rides – During October, leaf-peepers can get panoramic views of fall foliage as far as the eye can see from Crystal Mountain’s quad chairlift. Tie on your camera wrist-strap and bundle up. This activity is weather-dependent but will run in light rain.

Michigan’s only Alpine Slide – This is summer’s version of a bobsled – a chairlift takes you to the top and a special sled with brakes, (the Crystal Coaster) takes you down the mountainside slide.

Ski – Pack up your skis and snowboards and head to Crystal for the perfect winter getaway. They’ve got 59 runs, 8 lifts, 3 terrain areas and 27 slopes lighted for night skiing.

Golf – At Crystal Mountain, you’ve got not one, but two championship 18-hole golf courses.

Michigan Legacy Art Park

Located on the grounds of Crystal Mountain at 7300 Mountainside Drive, Thompsonville, MI 49683.

Make sure to stroll the 30-acre nonprofit Michigan Legacy Art Park.

Yes, it’s a beautiful hardwood forest hike, but it’s also a contemporary sculpture park just waiting to spark interest in Michigan’s history, culture, and environment.

Approximately 50 art installations stand their ground along the trail, each with its own informative plaque.

Michigan Legacy Art Park, hikers viewing 5 points art installation

We were lucky to join a guided tour on our visit. Wow, did we learn so much!

Plan to spend at least 90 minutes in this fabulous place.

The Art Park is open year-round. Entrance fees: $10 for adults, $5 for children over 5, and $20 for families.

Michigan legacy art park
michigan legacy art park (3)
walking michigan legacy art park

Your admission fees support this wonderful non-profit organization that is deeply involved in school programs, field trips, and enriching the art, nature, and Michigan history curriculum for local students.

Resort Dining

Now, let’s talk about one of our favorite things – food! Crystal Mountain doesn’t disappoint in this department.

Here’s a quick rundown of your different restaurant and dining options on-site:

The Thistle
Seasonal Delights: Fine dining with fresh farm-to-table offerings.

Wild Tomato
Morning to Night Indulgence: Serves breakfast and occasional dinner specials with patio entertainment.

Dining at Crystal Mountain

Betsie River Pizza & Subs
Hearty Bites: Great pizzas, subs, wings and salads for delivery or carry-out. The BLT pizza was a hit with our group.

Bru Bar
Morning Caffeine Fix: Enjoy specialty coffees and locally-sourced pastries.

bru bar crystal mountain

LEVEL4 Lounge
Evening Views: Head to this rooftop bar to see it all. Occasional live entertainment.

Crystal Scoops
Sweet Retreat: Dive into a range of ice creams, sundaes, and frozen delights. Sandwiches, too.

Iron Fish Distillery

Iron Fish Distillery: 3.5 miles from Crystal Mountain
14234 Dzuibanek Rd, Thompsonville, MI 49683

Visit Michigans first farm distillery with a sustainable mission to leave the land better than they found it. This family-owned Michigan business is a destination in itself.

Dirt roads take you to the Iron Fish farm and restaurant. How gorgeous is their barn?!

Iron Fish Distillery barn

They’ve got indoor seating, an enclosed, heated patio or outdoor seating options. Craft cocktails, sharable appetizers, and pizza make this a family-friendly stop.

Iron Fish Distillery cocktails
Iron Fish Distillery group at dinner
Iron Fish Distillery sign

Nearby Attractions: The Heart of Up North

Crystal Mountain makes a great home base for exploring the Benzie County area. A short drive will take you to Frankfort, Traverse City, Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Here are a few nearby stops we think you’d love.

M-22: Views, Trails & Small Town Stops: 12 miles from Crystal Mountain
Whether you drive all 118 miles of this scenic roadway or just a small section, M-22 will give you a taste of “Pure Michigan.” Expect countryside views, fruit-filled farm stands, scenic overlooks, and miles of memories.

Arcadia Marsh Boardwalk: 16 miles from Crystal Mountain
I didn’t know the Arcadia Marsh boardwalk existed until this trip! All the bird watchers with their binoculars along the boardwalk have done a great job keeping this place on the downlow.

Arcadia Marsh Boardwalk

Downtown Beulah – Antiques, beach, and more: 11 miles from Crystal Mountain
Once you visit this delightful village on the shoreline of Crystal Lake, you’ll wonder why you haven’t stopped here before.

Beulah has antique shops, art galleries and delicious dining options like the L’Chayim Deli (where the hummus is yummus and you can order your sandwich on a bagel instead of bread.)

Shoutout to our new friend Just Jennie at 254 South. If you see her, tell her “hello” from the HeyMichigan crew.

City of Beulah, outside 254 South store

Downtown Frankfort: 17 miles from Crystal Mountain
Frankfort is dreamy. Walk out to the lighthouse, shop at unique stores, and try a flight at Stormcloud Brewing Company. The IPA selection is top-notch.

Stormcloud Brewery IPA flight
downtown frankfort

Sleeping Bear Dunes: 18 miles from Crystal Mountain
From the iconic Dune Climb to secluded beaches, this national park is a year-round destination.

Take a drive on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (open to car traffic May-November,) watch a sunset in Empire, or hike this hidden gem trail for some epic views.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, view of dune and Lake Michigan

Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm: 12 miles from Crystal Mountain
4907 River Road Frankfort, MI 49635

Who doesn’t love a fluffy alpaca?

Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm has an Alpaca experience that gets you up close to these friendly animals as they eat right out of your hand. Stop by their boutique for handmade gifts made from some of the finest local alpaca yarn.

Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm

Arcadia Bluffs Overlook: 14 miles from Crystal Mountain
This roadside stop has breathtaking views of Lake Michigan right from the parking lot. Climb just 80 steps higher and you’ll see why this spot is often referred to as “Inspiration Point.”

M22 Arcadia Scenic Overlook

Elberta Dunes Natural Area: 15 miles from Crystal Mountain
For a moderate hike with a major payoff, check out Elberta Dunes South Trail. Hike .6-miles to the overlook, where you’ll find sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the stunning Betsie Valley.

elberta dunes in fall
hiking elberta dunes in the fall

Point Betsie Lighthouse: 22 miles from Crystal Mountain
History enthusiasts, photographers, rock collectors, and sunset admirers should check this place out.


There was so much to do around Crystal Mountain we didn’t spend much time in our condo, but when we were at our home-away-from-home, it was really clean and comfortable. I slept like a rock!

crystal mountain moutaintop condo bedroom

Vacation Cottages, Condos & Hotel Rooms
During your stay at Crystal Mountain, you’ve got a lot of lodging options. Go for a roomy townhome with incredible mountain views, a cozy cottage nestled in the woods, or a comfy hotel room.

Staying on site is the way to make the most of your experience at Crystal Mountain. As a guest of the resort, you get access to more amenities (like the outdoor hot tub, indoor pool and workout facilities) and easy access to group workout classes.

Crystal Mountain Resort Lodging - balcony view

Groups & Weddings
Planning a family get-together? Crystal Mountain can host your wedding, holiday party, or reunion.

Need a location for your business event? Look no further for your corporate retreat, industry conference or team-building exercise.

Crystal Mountain has seasonal specials, lodging packages, and amazing deals on golf, ski and spa. Check out their long list of ways to save.

friends arriving at crystal mountain mountaintop condo

How to Make Crystal Mountain Your Next Getaway Destination

So there you have it, friends – your ultimate guide to Crystal Mountain, the perfect spot for your next getaway.

Whether you’re here for the scenic beauty, outdoor adventures, or simply to relax, Crystal Mountain has it all and booking a stay is super simple.

Find accommodations on their website or give them a call (855) 995-5146. They are very friendly and helpful. Mention your group size, desired type of lodging and activities and they’ll even help you get your schedule set.

friends on the shore of lake michigan, fall day at Sleeping Bear Dunes

So, pack your bags, round up your friends or that special someone, and come enjoy the charms of northern Michigan.

See you there!

crystal mountain entrance

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