Just off US-31, this charming downtown and its local stores, restaurants and a new brewery welcome visitors with classic Up North vibes. Here’s how to spend a perfect day at a Beulah beach.
Start Your Day: Ursa Major Bistro
Get there: 245 S. Benzie Blvd., Beulah
Park your car along South Benzie Boulevard and spend the morning browsing boutiques and a 10,000-square-foot antique market housed in the town’s historic Myers Granary. But fuel up first at Ursa Major Bistro. This cozy spot has freshly brewed, organic coffee from Traverse City’s Roaster Jack Coffee Co., espresso drinks (try the signature Sleeping Bear latte) and a hearty breakfast menu with staples like biscuits and gravy, Belgian waffles and cranberry walnut French toast.
Tip: Any trip to Beulah must include a stop at The Cherry Hut. The iconic restaurant on US-31 is beloved by generations of locals and vacationers. Don’t leave without a slice of pie.
Hit the Beach: Beulah Public Beach
Get there: Lake Street, between Clark and Prospect Avenue
Several hundred feet of Crystal Lake shoreline sits just one block away from the downtown shops and restaurants. The super-sandy lake bottom and safely marked swimming area make it great for families. Across the street from the beach, at the corner of Lake Street and Prospect Avenue, Beulah Village Park has a large pavilion, charcoal grills, picnic tables, tennis courts and cool, shady areas under beautiful hardwoods.
Amenities: restrooms, playground, free day dock, boat launch, parking
Tip: Cool down at Cool Cat Ice Cream Bowl with a Midwestern favorite: Blue Moon ice cream. 229 S. Benzie Blvd.
Go Exploring: Betsie Valley Trail
The Betsie Valley Trail runs 22 miles from Frankfort to Thompsonville, passing through Elberta and Beulah along the way. Rent a bike from Crystal Lake Adventure Sports (214 S. Benzie Blvd.) and hop on the trail at Beulah Village Park. For a short ride, follow the trail along the shoreline of Crystal Lake for three miles (or less) and then turn back toward town. If you’re up for a longer ride (18 miles roundtrip), bike nine miles into Frankfort and spend a few hours exploring the coastal town’s memorable shops and eateries.
Tip: Crystal Lake Adventure Sports also rents beach chairs and umbrellas, pontoons, fishing boats, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and canoes.
Sip Like a Local: Five Shores Brewing
Get there: 163 S. Benzie Blvd., Beulah
Five Shores opened its doors in January 2020, and friends, the beer is good. So are the vibes—from the massive Lake Michigan mural to the wrap-around bar and the welcoming staff, owners Oliver Roberts and Matt Demorest have crafted a space where people love to gather.
Tip: For summer sipping, we recommend the citrusy All Five IPA. Pair it with a pressed sandwich from the food menu and French onion dip to share.
Top It All Off: The Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre
Get there: 9812 Honor Hwy., Honor (4 miles from downtown Beulah)
The Cherry Bowl has been welcoming moviegoers every summer since 1953. There’s always a double feature and it’s always family-friendly (only G, PG and some PG-13 shown). Get there early, pick your spot and play a round of mini-golf on the ‘50s-style course complete with moving obstacles. Then, get a hot dog and your go-to candy at the diner and settle in for showtime. Rain or shine, the first film starts at dusk.
Tip: You’ve gotta get popcorn. It’s topped with real butter and still made in the original 1953 popper.
Photo by Katy Joe