Boyne City is located in Charlevoix Country in the state of Michigan. It is a small city with a big heart. A lot of the activities and businesses in Boyne City are linked to the beautiful Lake Charlevoix, which has 60 miles of shoreline. From the spectacular Fourth of July celebrations to bustling downtown shops, this city has a lot to offer to visitors and residents. (Click here to see all Boyne City, Michigan Homes for Sale)
There are activities for all ages and all seasons. The fun never stops in this town. Here is a guide for first-timers to Boyne City, MI:
A Brief History of Boyne City, MI
Boyne City was established in 1856. It was known as Boyne at the time. In 1904, the name was changed to Boyne City. John and Harriet Miller, considered as the father of Boyne City, were the first permanent settlers in the city. The Millers were Irish immigrants, and Boyne City reminded them of Ireland.
The name of Boyne City comes from the Boyne River in Ireland. The Northern Michigan region was inhabited by the Native American population for hundreds of years. Their rich culture is still visible in the architecture on the outskirts of Boyne City.
The economy of Boyne City was kick-started by industrialist W.H. White, owner of White Lumbar Company. White conceived the idea of opening a tanning leather company. Along with his partner, W.S. Shaw, this venture became very successful and produced six million pounds of leather shoe sole annually.
The advent of railroads helped accelerate growth in the lumber industry. Products from Boyne City were shipped throughout Mid-West. In 2010, the city had a population of 3735 people with a median age of 42. The climate of the city is classified as humid continental with large seasonal temperature differences. (Click here to see Northern Michigan's finest collection of Boyne City, MI vacation rentals)
How to get to Boyne City, MI
There is the option of using Boyne City Municipal Airport located on the east side of Boyne City. Keep in mind that the airport is unattended. There is no reservation needed for landing or take off. Three are also no airport fees for using the facility. The airport offers a self-service for 100 LL aviation fuel, terminals for complimentary Wi-Fi, pilot lounge and restroom facilities. You can book an airport courtesy car. For larger airport options, Grand Rapids or Detroit can be used. , Most visitors use their cars to get to Boyne City. Interstate 75, US 131 are two major roads leading to Boyne City.
Food and Drink
There is a variety of dining options for visitors. From Italian to Mexican cuisine, there is a full range of restaurants available. Here are a few recommendations:
It is voted as the #1 restaurant in Boyne City by TripAdvisor. It offers a casual European style bistro menu options. Visitors can choose from a mouth-watering list of Pasta, Salads, Pizzas, Seafood, Eggs and more. There are regular musical events scheduled during night time. There is a happy hour every day from 3-6 pm. No European style restaurant would be complete without a selection of drinks. This restaurant offers the finest beers, wines, and liquors including brands from Germany, Belgium, and the UK.
Red Mesa Grill
For Latin-America food lovers, look no further than Red Mesa. The restaurant offers traditional dishes made with fresh ingredients. There is a patio covered outdoor area and a fine selection of drink including mojitos and margaritas. For food, guests can choose from delicious specialty entrees, fajitas, tacos, burritos and more.
Lake Street Market
For a more casual experience, Lake Street Market offers gourmet sandwiches, pizza, soups, bread, bagels, pastries and more. It is a family-run business with great emphasis on customer service. The restaurant is a short walk away from Lake Charlevoix, offering visitors the option of taking their meal on-the-go and enjoy it while looking at the gorgeous views of the lake. The design of the restaurant is like a French country store. There is outdoor seating available during most days of the year.
Kilwin’s Chocolate and Ice-Cream Shop
The owner of this shop has been making ice-cream since 1997 and has built a reputation of being the best dessert shop in town. They offer over 40 flavors of ice-cream to choose form. There are known for their Mackinac Island Fudge. The recipe of which was created in 1948 by Don and Kay Kilwin. It has since been the top seller at the shop.
Lake Street Pub
Located in the heart of Boyne City, Lake Street Pub offers over 26 craft and domestic beers. The pub is family-friendly, and there are plenty of options for food including burgers, shrimp, nachos, pretzels, and more. The staff is very accommodating. There is outdoor seating available to enjoy the warm weather.
Located on the bustling Water Street, this shop is a must-visit for active sports enthusiasts. It offers lifestyle apparel, footwear, and accessories from brands such as Mountain Hardware, Olukai, Costa, and more. Established in 2015, this shop has become a favorite amongst residents and visitors.
52 Up North Weekends
This is a women’s clothing store offering a variety of brands, jewelry, décor, gifts, and more. The story of 52 Up North Weekends began in Petoskey, Michigan when their first store opened in 2008. The Boyne City store was established in 2014 to offer locals and visitors affordable, stylish and unique products.
The Outdoor Beerdsmen
This retail shop offers products inspired by the local community’s passion for craft beer and outdoors. The product lineup includes unique apparel, home décor, and jewelry and drinkware. All products are designed, printed or hand-crafted using the highest quality materials. The store is decorated with an outdoorsy theme. This shop is one of the best options to buy souvenirs for the visit to Boyne City or Northern Michigan.
Forgotten Treasures Boyne City
Located in the heart of Boyne City on South Lake St, this retailer offers clothing, furniture, antiques, and collectible. The owner of this store, Anna Burkhart, established the shop in May 2017 will the ambition of offering resale products to customers. The success of the shop has been overwhelming. The products available in this shop are going to be unique and not available anywhere else. For first time visitors to Boyne City, this shop is a must-visit. For those looking to sell their stuff to the shop, just book an appointment with the store and they will be happy to have a look at the items. The items will be kept at the shop for 60 days for sale. After which, if the items are not sold, will be returned to the sellers.
Boyne Mountain Resort: Boyne Mountain Resort is a collection of resorts near Boyne City, MI. It offers the largest indoor waterpark in Michigan, a luxurious spa and several lodging options. The resort guests can go for a thrilling experience at the Zipline Adventure Tour or enjoy golfing at the 18-hole mountain disc golf course. There are options to go for a Segway tour, mountain biking, hiking or beach activities at Lake Deer. There are heated pools and hot tubs available.
The fun doesn’t stop during winter-time, with plenty of snow sports with over 35 km of cross country and 60 downhill trails. Night skiing, tubing and ice skating are also available. There are annual events throughout the year to entertain the guests. Some of the more popular events include Kids Festival Weekend, Carnival Weekend, and Christmas Eve Dinner with Santa.
Water Street Inn: This hotel is ideal for those looking for a relaxing and memorable stay. The hotel is known for its central location and private sandy beach. Located in downtown Boyne City, it a walk away from restaurants, shops and stunning views of Lake Charlevoix. Lodging includes options for private beaches. Each suite has complimentary Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, private balcony, fireplace, sleeper sofa, and Kitchen. There are great deals available for corporate or off-season guests.
Fun Things To Do
There are several activities for visitors around Lake Charlevoix. Start by grabbing a map at the Charlevoix Visitor Center for a map of all the historic “hobbit” houses near the lake. Some of these were designed in the early 1950s by the famous architect, Earl Young. Castle Farms showcases a model daily farm that was built in 1918. The dairy farm, which looks more like a castle, is used as a tourist attraction and can also be booked for weddings or concerts. There is no better way to explore Lake Charlevoix then to venture into one of several trails around the lake. The trails can be used for hiking, biking, running or skiing. Visitors can take a boat ride in the lake. There even an option to ride from Lake Charlevoix to Lake Michigan.
Young State Park
This is a recreational park in Boyne City. It is an excellent choice for families, sports enthusiasts, yoga practitioners, and joggers. Spanning over 560 acres, Young State Park sits on the eastern edge of Lake Charlevoix. The park offers hiking trails, cross-country skiing, swimming, and fishing. For families, a picnic can a great way to spend their day at the park. The booking for reservations fills up quickly. The website of Young State Park suggests reserving a spot for overnight camping at least six months before the planned arrival date.
Campers are allowed to camp for 15 consecutive days. Any visitors must leave the park by 10 pm and only two vehicles per campsite. Keep in mind, for visitors with pets, do not leave them unattended and have a six-foot leash on them at all times.
Avalanche Preserve Recreational Area
Compromising of over 300 acres of woodland, the Avalanche Preserve gives visitors a chance to experience the lifestyle in nature. Located on the southern side of Boyne City, 90% of the area is wooded. It allows recreational activities such as snowmobiling, hiking, jogging, and more. There are archery and disc golf available. Most trail tracks are being added regularly, to keep give more routes to visitors. To get to the top of the Avalanche, visitors will have to climb 462 steps but is worth the view. Visitors will be able to experience breathtaking views of Boyne City and Lake Charlevoix. Grab your Avalanche Trail Map, and let the adventure begin.
Wildwood Rush Zipline Canopy Tour
For the thrill-seekers, there is no better experience in Boyne City than Wildwood Rush Zipline. Customers can enjoy stunning views of Lake Charlevoix from tree-top platforms. There are over 70,000 ft. of zip lines, taking customers through scenic valleys and high ridges. The customers get an entertaining commentary on the history and forest environment. The zipline is safe but also offer a thrilling experience to customers with speeds over 40 miles per hour. The visitors can race on the 1200 foot long triple race zip line. One of the goals of Wildwood Rush Zipline was to preserve the natural beauty of the forest. Great care was taken is not damaging or disturbing the forest ecosystem. The park was designed to keep tree-removal to a minimum. The customers are also educated and urged to keep environmental damage to a minimum. The Wildwood Rush Zipline Canopy Tour is a three-time recipient of the Certificate of Excellent from TripAdvisor.
Beaches: Located on the south side of Boyce City, Peninsula Beach is a public beach offering beautiful shoreline to visitors. Only a short walk away from downtown, Peninsula offers all the amenities needed to enjoy a day at the beach. There is ample parking available for the convenience of visitors. For the families with younger kids, there is playground equipment and picnic tables available. A few things to keep in mind include that there are no lifeguards on duty, so keep your children under your supervision.
The ideal months to visit are from May to August. The water might be too cold for the rest of the months. Visitors also have the option of driving on Lake Shore Road to get a lovely view of the beach. There are several restaurants nearby to grab a meal. It is highly recommended to experience the sunset views from the beach. There is even a Mobi-Mat to help people with wheelchairs access the water. Other beaches nearby include Tannery Beach, which is also walking distance from downtown. Whiting Country Park and Young State Park offer plenty of sand for a picnic, jogging, hiking, boat launches, swimming areas, and more.
Boyne City is fun all year round. Snowmobile, tire cycling, cross-country skiing are just some of many activities for visitors during winter. The downtown area remains active during winter. Locals are often found enjoying listening to music and drinking craft beer or a cup of hot chocolate. The slopes of skiing open even before Thanksgiving due to the cooler temperature and premium ice-making equipment. There are trails designed for snowmobiles. These trails share a well-connected network to other areas in Northern Michigan. A guided winter rafting tour of the Jordan River is becoming very popular amongst locals and tourists.
Freshwater Art Gallery and Concert Venue
This venue offers rustic furniture, paintings, jewelry, illustrated books, and more. Once a month from October to April, this venue offers music concerts. The gallery also offers a peek into the history of Boyne City and how the gallery was established. One of the goals of the gallery is to support artists from Michigan. There are numerous pieces of art from over 200 artists from Michigan.
Fourth of July Festival
Thousands of visitors come to Boyne City every year for this spectacular festival. Good Morning America has rated this festival as the “Top 10 Independence Day Celebrations in the Nation” and Travel Channel calls it the “#2 Best Small Town Fourth of July Celebration in the USA”. Reader’s Digest rates it as the best fireworks celebration of any small town. The festival includes bounce houses and inflatables at the Veteran’s Memorial Park. There is the 44th Annual waterside Arts and Craft Fair.
There are plenty of food trucks spread throughout the area. For kids, there are activities such as face painting, magic shows, balloon twisting and more. Early morning on the 4th of July, there is an Independence Day Run and Breakfast available. The most popular events include the Grand Parade around noon and the Grade Fireworks at night. Keep in mind that the parks are tobacco, drug, and weapon free. No dogs are allowed during the festival. For handicap parking during the Grand Parade, use Park St.
Boyne Brew-Ski Festival
The annual brew-ski festival organized by Boyne Highlands Resort is a fun combination of craft beer and snow activities. It goes on from morning to midnight. Visitors can hit the slopes with skiing and snowboarding while enjoying a drink of craft beer. There over 100 breweries that particular in this festival. Over 200 different brews are available to visitors. The night before the event, there is a preview party, where visitors are offered a limited sampling preview for the event the next day. Located in the Day Lodge, the Zoo Bar is favorite amongst visitors. There is a total area of 430 acres with 55 downhill slopes and 3 open terrain parks. For fans of snow tubing, there is an 800- ft long tubing run available at the venue.
Boyne City Farmer’s Market
It is known as the best farmer’s market in Northern Michigan. The fresh food items are locally grown. Apart from a variety of fruits and vegetables, there is a range of other organic items offered in the market. This includes freshly baked goods, gourmet preserves, eggs, meat, poultry, and syrups. There is also a range of flowers, shrubs, and trees available. The market takes place on North Lake Street. Unlike other farmer’s markets which close during winter, The Boyne City Farmer’s market stays open during winter. During summer, the market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. During winter, the market is only open on Saturdays.
Designed for ultimate fun during winter, the Walloon Winterfest features family-friendly activities. It offers indoor and outdoor events for kids of all ages. There is complimentary ice skating available in the Village Green Park. The Barrel Back Restaurant is one of the most popular dining options at Walloon Winterfest. Luxurious and convenient accommodation for visitors is available at Hotel Walloon.
Fat and Furious Fat Bike Race
Boyne City is a winter wonderland. With over 140 inches of annual snow, there is no better place for a Fat Bike Race. Typically the race takes place every year in January. The race track flows beautifully through the Avalanche Mountain. The racecourse is 10-15 miles for sport class bike and 15-20 miles for the open class. The race starts and finishes in downtown Boyne City. The top performers finish the race in less than one hour.
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