You’ll find Grayling nestled in the crook of the AuSable River, deep in what the locals refer to as “River Time Zone”—a place where time has no meaning. Here, a morning at the fish hatchery becomes an afternoon spent kayaking, biking, and golfing, until night finds you seated around the campfire dreaming of what the next day might bring. For the lover of the outdoors, the bounds of adventure do not exist among these Grayling attractions.
Scenic biking trails comprised of a variety of terrain wind throughout the area, providing adventure for both the novice and expert biker. Hanson Hills consists of 23 miles of thrilling bike trails, while Hartwick Pines State Park offers 18 miles of scenic path. These are just a few of an abundance of breathtaking and exciting paths for the biker to take in Grayling.
In a spirit similar to that of the rest of Michigan, Grayling is home to an array of lakes—many of which allow for public access swimming and boating. Higgins Lake includes two state parks, each with large beaches that are perfect for swimming, while Jones Lake, Kneff Lake, and Shupac Lake offer public access beaches of smaller size, just as great for a day in the sun. Boat launches are located at Lake Margrethe and Higgins Lake but require a “Michigan Recreation Passport” for access.
There’s no better place than Grayling to fully submit to the outdoors in all aspects of a trip. Grayling and its surrounding areas boast five private campgrounds, two state parks and 12 state forest campgrounds to allow you to fall asleep and wake up, still submerged in all that is Northern Michigan. For a more private experience, visit Happi Days Campground, Jellystone Park Campground, Riverpark Campground, Trails Campground, or Sno-Trac Village Resort. Hartwick Pines State Park and N. Higgins Lake State Park serve as the area’s state campgrounds which exist in addition to the other state forest campgrounds.
The three to five mile-per-hour currents of the Manistee and AuSable Rivers allow for a relaxed but breathtaking journey that can last anywhere from two-and-a-half hours to several days in length. An afternoon on the river is sure to bring scenery without compare, as well as the opportunity to spend the day surrounded by Northern Michigan’s bustling wildlife. Adventure down the AuSable River with Borcher’s Canoe Livery, Penrod’s River Resort, Carlisle Canoe Livery, and Jim’s Canoe Livery, or take a trip on the Manistee River with Long’s Canoe Livery or Shel-Haven.
The area is known for the opportunity it provides for trout fishing, largely by way of the Manistee and AuSable Rivers. Area lakes are also home to bass, bluegill, walleye, and pike. Beautiful fresh bodies of water allow these fish to thrive in their Northern Michigan homes, and thus, provide an exciting and fruitful adventure for fishermen of all experience levels. The Grayling Fish Hatchery doubles as a great spot for trout fishing, and a place to feed and closely observe thousands of trout. You can find a list of Grayling-area fishing sites here.
Grayling is home to three of the country’s top-rated golf courses and lies within an hour’s drive to over 30 additional courses. Novice and seasoned golfers alike will find themselves thrilled with the sort of game these courses allow, as well as by the scenery that borders them. The Grayling Country Club is a 70-par course open to the public, while Fox Run strives to provide family-friendly golf, allowing kids to play free on Sunday afternoons. Though a bit of a drive from downtown Grayling, Forest Dunes Golf Club is one of the country’s most highly-rated courses and now features a reversible golf course. The only time you’ll need to keep track of is your tee-time—the rest is sure to melt away somewhere between holes.
Of the miles of unencumbered forests and natural areas in Northern Michigan, some of the most beautiful can be found in Grayling. One of the best ways to explore these areas is by way of hiking the trails that stretch through them. From the two miles of flat, paved track you’ll find at Rayburn’s, to more than sixteen miles of hilly trails at Wakeley Lake, several paved and unpaved paths can be found in a variety of lengths and ruggedness, perfect for the Northern Michigan adventurer to wander on foot.
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