Crystal Mountain is More than a Ski Resort – It’s a Blast in Summer, Too!
12500 Crystal Mountain Dr, Thompsonville, MI 49683-9742
My family loves Crystal Mountain.
I’ve been going to Crystal up in Thompsonville, MI since I was a little kid. Now that I have a family of my own, it’s one of our favorite getaway destinations.
My family recently spent a summer weekend at Crystal Mountain. We were able to try many of their summer activities and attractions and we were absolutely WOWED!
It was our first warm-weather visit and it definitely won’t be our last. I can’t believe all the fun we’ve been missing out on!
When it comes to kids and families Crystal has it figured out.
From the friendly staff, family-friendly lodging options, amazing dining choices, and endless activities geared toward all ages, Crystal Mountain has thought of it all!
Crystal Mountain is Michigan’s Best Kept Summer Secret
If you’re like me, when you think of Crystal Mountain you think winter, snow, and skiing.
But Crystal Mountain is an incredible summer destination, too!
It may be Michigan’s best-kept summer secret.
Visiting Crystal in the summer is not only fun, but it’s beautiful. It seemed that everywhere I looked there were gorgeous flowers, ponds, fountains, rolling green hills, and landscaped trails.
If you choose to venture up to the top of the mountain you can watch the sunset and see Lake Michigan in the distance. It’s a sight to see!
Top Reasons Why Crystal Should Be On Your SUMMER Bucket List
Crystal is an easy 2-hour drive from Grand Rapids. You’ll be there before your kids get antsy and the ice in your cooler melts.
Its easy location allows for it to be an easy day trip from Grand Rapids.
Plus you will find endless activities for all ages at Crystal Mountain. Here are some of our favorites.
1 – Ride the Alpine Slide
Upon arriving, my kids immediately spotted the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide.
You ride a chairlift to the top of the mountain and then you ride down a curved track on a specially designed sled. You are in control of the speed the entire time, making it perfect for ages three and up.
My parents live nearby and they joined us for a few hours of fun. Everyone in our group age 4 – 65+ agreed that the Alpine Slide is a blast!
My youngest squealed with delight every time she went down the slide, chanting, “faster, faster, faster!”
Don’t be intimidated by the slide or riding the chairlift. The crew at the top and bottom of the mountain are helpful and encouraging. They will gladly answer any questions and help you navigate the chairlift.
2 – Explore the Sculptures at the Michigan Legacy Art Park
If your kids are like mine, they are early risers and wake even earlier when traveling. If you find yourself looking for a morning activity the Michigan Legacy Art Park is perfect.
It’s a thirty-acre preserve located on the Crystal property with over 1.5 miles of hiking trails. Along the trails, you will find over 50 sculptures.
My kids ran through most of it, anxious to see who would be first to spot the next piece of art.
3 – Soak up the Outdoor Pool Area
The weekend we were there was hot and the outdoor pool was the place to be. The pool was busy, but never too crowded.
There were multiple lifeguards on duty. As a mom to three kids ages 6 and under I took note that the lifeguards were engaged.
A large portion of the pool is also zero entry and 3′ deep or less. The deeper side is separated by the lily pads. It’s a great setup for all ages.
My kids quickly took to the slides, water guns, and lily pads. They were very excited to discover that the pool has an area where even my 4-year-old could touch the bottom and shoot hoops.
The pool area also features a big sandbox and playset.
We spent most of the day at the pool and had a delicious lunch at their Beach House cafe. Its poolside location makes it a convenient choice for lunch, snacks, or ice cream while enjoying the pool.
I loved that we didn’t need to dry everyone off and head back to the room or find a restaurant.
4 – Be Brave at the Edge Adventure Course & Zipline
While at the pool my kids were able to watch others take on the challenge of the Edge Adventure Course and Zipline. After lunch they were ready to give it a try themselves.
I figured if the kids were doing it, I would too! It was a blast. I’m so glad I decided to join in on the adventure.
The Adventure Course was the highlight of the trip for me.
Seeing the look of a little fear and a lot of determination on my kids’ faces as they made their way across the ropes course was priceless. The zipline at the end is a blast and makes you want to go back for more!
5 – Climb the Vertical Edge Climbing Wall
My kids loved the Vertical Edge Climbing Wall. The staff at the wall were amazing. At first my kids were a bit apprehensive. The staff made sure my kids felt safe the entire time.
They were so encouraging and helped them navigate the wall by coaching to the next foothold. My kids climbed a handful of times making it a bit higher each time.
Like just about everything else at Crystal, the climbing wall isn’t just for kids. I saw plenty of adults, including my husband, climb.
Each side of the wall offers a different challenge, making it fun for all abilities.
6 – Bike Trails at Crystal Mountain
If your family enjoys biking, I suggest checking out the biking trails around Crystal.
They have trails to meet every interest level, from paved sidewalks to technical downhill single track at their Gravity Park.
The rental process was very easy and they have bikes, bike trailers, and helmets for all ages and skill levels. The staff is there to adjust seats and make sure everyone feels comfortable before hitting the trails.
There are also areas available to lock up your bike if you bring bikes from home.
7 – Try Laser Tag, Paintball, Archery & More
We had an action-packed weekend.
Unfortunately, there were a handful of activities that we didn’t have time to check out such as Laser Tag, Archery, and Disc Golf, but they all looked like so much fun we might have to move them to the top of the list when we come back.
8 – Play Golf
Crystal Mountain has two beautiful golf courses.
Take on the more challenging Mountain Ridge, with significant elevation changes and wide open tee shots.
Or get a more laid back experience at the newly-renovated Betsie Valley, with scenic views (and probably a lower score).
They even offer lessons for all ages.
Crystal Mountain Minds the Details With Lots of Easy Family Activities
I was amazed at the amount of activities beyond the pool, zipline, and Alpine Coaster.
Every day Crystal offers a new schedule of crafts and events for all ages.
Activities range from building birdhouses to tye dying t-shirts, to family campfires and s’mores.
At the Park at Waters Edge you can rent movies, borrow board games, and pick up photo scavenger hunt cards.
The Mountain Adventure Zone offers yard games, a playground, and basketball courts.
While we were there we were able to enjoy a chairlift ride to the top of the mountain where we listened to live music.
It was very family-friendly, with parents enjoying the music while kids ran up and down the mountain. It was the perfect way to end a fun-filled day.
Crystal Mountain has a Wide Variety of Lodging Options
I’ve stayed at Crystal several times, and I can honestly say I’ve never been disappointed with my accommodations.
From standard hotel rooms to stand-alone houses, Crystal has something to fit every family’s needs.
All the units I’ve been in are tastefully decorated, clean, and very family-friendly. Many units have fun bunks or sleeping cubbies, which are perfect for kids.
Each unit and its location at Crystal has various advantages.
I would suggest narrowing down your search based on your budget and then choosing a unit based on its proximity to the activity you’re most interested in.
We most recently stayed at Kinlochen. We are a family of five and often struggle to find accommodations that work well for our family. The 3 bedroom, 2 bath unit in Kinlochen was more than enough space for our family.
Kinlochen has a charming Scottish castle-like feel to it.
All units in Kinlochen have a fully equipped kitchen which I find so nice when traveling with kids.
Thistle Pub and Grille and Kinlochen Plaza are located on the 1st floor of the building, providing an easy and tasty dining option.
Find Plentiful Food Options at Crystal Mountain
The dining options at Crystal are plentiful and tasty. All the restaurants are kid friendly.
The Beach House
The Beach House is the perfect place to grab a quick hot dog or sweet treat. It’s super casual, outdoor picnic table dining located right next to the pool, climbing wall and adventure course.
Betsie River Pizza and Subs
Betsie River Pizza & Subs is also a great option for families. Offering tasty pizza, subs and salads. It’s takeout only. If you’re staying on site, they will deliver to your room, something that we’ve taken advantage of many times.
The Mountain Market is a mini grocery store. They offer a nice variety of staple grocery items as well as some grab and go sandwiches, salads and wraps. If you forgot diapers, sunscreen, or maybe need one more box of macaroni and cheese, this is the place for you.
We dined at Wild Tomato each morning. The breakfast buffet (this was summer 2019!) was the perfect option for our family. With so many options we were all able to find our breakfast favorites and fuel up and for a full morning of activities. Everyone left full and happy.
We Had So Much Fun – When Can We Go Back?
Before we had even left, my kids were asking when we could come back or if we could stay for one more day!
I asked each of my kids about their favorite memory from the weekend. They had a hard time narrowing it down to just one thing! I don’t blame them. It was so much fun! I think they loved all of it. I know my husband and I did.
We’re already looking to squeeze one more Crystal weekend into our crazy summer schedule. You should, too!