Looking for a Northern Michigan ski weekend getaway that isn’t all about the slopes? Bellaire, and nearby Shanty Creek Resort, have something for everyone—lift tickets optional!

Featured in the February 2021 issue of Traverse. Subscribe.

Go Au Natural

Tackle the trails at Grass River Natural Area. The 1,492-acre nature preserve is located 6 miles south of Bellaire. Along with beautiful views of Grass River, there are 7 miles of trails, including 1.5 miles of boardwalk floating above northern fen and cedar wetlands. The Chippewa, Nipissing, Algonquin and Rail trails are groomed for classic cross-country skiing (3+ miles), while the remaining trails are open to snowshoeing. (Watch for whitetail deer and all kinds of wildlife!) Trails are open daily from dawn till dusk and the Grass River Education Center is open from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. (days vary by season; check online). Naturalists are available to answer questions and take you on a guided hike if you call ahead.

Tee Up

Golf—yes, golf! Pop into Shanty Creek’s new Topgolf Swing Suite, located at The River Bistro, after a day on the slopes. This private lounge area can be rented by the hour and includes simulated golf and arcade games. The kids can heckle you from the huge couches while you whiff a ball, or they can go nuts on each other playing Zombie Dodgeball on the giant screen. Cost is $60 an hour and includes up to eight people. Reservations required; call 231.533.7074. Order appetizers and cocktails from The River Bistro to make it a party—the Vigilante Tacos and Loaded Potato Bombs warm-up snowy nights.

Bike Snowy Trails

Go fat biking with rentals from Paddles & Pedals in downtown Bellaire ($60/day or $35/4 hours). Get a “fat” selfie at Glacial Hills Pathway on the groomed fat bike loop, then head back to town to pair frosty cheeks with a cold beer at Short’s Brewing Company. If you have a Bud Light fan in your group, try a bottle of “Local’s Light” to bring them to the craft beer side of things. Local’s Light is a classic American Lager crafted by Joe Short in 2004 to be “beer in its simplest form.” No promises, but it could lead to darker … ales.

Eat Outdoors

Due to COVID-19 precautions, Shanty Creek’s restaurants will have limited seating. The answer? Outdoor, socially distanced food options this year. There will be a new food truck on site (likely parked near the base of the Yellow or Pink lift), a new pick-up window at The River Bistro, as well as a new “ski- up” window on the slope-side of Ivan’s for grab-n-go dining in a heated outdoor tent. The new CoffeeBAR at The Lakeview will offer quick and easy breakfast and lunch, or just a jolt of caffeine.

Find this and more articles celebrating Northern Michigan fun, including a UP cabin getaway and a cool new vacation rental in East Jordan, all in the February 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.