The beaches, water and snow sports in Manistee, Michigan, turn a Northern Michigan vacation into an outdoor vacation. Spread a towel on a beach, fish, ski, boat—Lake Michigan’s blue horizon is the limit!

First Street Beach, Manistee

Rarely crowded, this expansive sandy beach offers amenities like grills, playground and concession stand, volleyball and tennis courts and a fenced-in dog park where the family pet can freely frolic. From here, stroll Manistee’s Riverwalk, a boardwalk that stretches along the Manistee River through downtown. Shop and dine, but be sure to get back to the beach in time for sunset. Located at the west end of First Street, on Lake Michigan.

Big Manistee River

An excellent river for beginner and intermediate paddlers and families with children, this river is noted for its gentle currents and water so clean it supports one of the Midwest’s premier trout populations. On this designated Wild and Scenic River, your paddling route will pass many miles of undeveloped shore. Rustic campsites along the way make the river ideal for multi-day trips. Launch from Manistee Paddlesport Adventures, 231 Parkdale, Manistee, 231.233.3265,

Orchard Beach State Park

 Big M Cross Country Ski Trail

One of the first Nordic trail systems in the United States, the Big M today lays out 50 miles of trails that roll through the Manistee National Forest. Most are single-track paths and all are marvelous gifts to mountain bikers and cross-country skiers. The dense forest makes for a cool ride through the Udell Hills. Four distinct segments range from easy to difficult.

Crystal Mountain

Whether you’re an avid skier, seasoned snowboarder, or simply a snow enthusiast, Crystal Mountain has plenty of pristine terrain on which to offer an unforgettable Michigan winter experience. Ski and ride our 48 downhill slopes. Gracefully glide across 40-plus kilometers of groomed cross-country trails. Snowshoe over 80 acres of wooded valleys while capturing breathtaking overlooks around every bend.  Crystal Mountain can also set you up with fishing charters.

cornerstone post: beaches, water and snowsports, Manistee, Michigan

Photo(s) by Kris Riley