Detroit Mom’s Travel Series: Crystal Mountain Resort

There is nothing more luxurious than a family vacation you don’t have to plan. My in-laws have been our summer getaway planners since we’ve blessed them with two wild grandsons. Papa and Nana have a way of making family vacations unforgettable and this year was no different.

Just below Traverse City in the small town of Thompsonville rests Crystal Mountain. Known as one of the best up-north spots for skiing in the winter, this mountain side has endless summer adventures the whole family can enjoy. If you are looking for a place you don’t have to leave for leisure, relaxation, and adventure, this is your next family vacation destination. Here are a few of the spectacular amenities my family enjoyed this summer.


Vacasa: Red Pine Retreat
This is where we stayed. Vacasa has quite a few properties within the resort grounds to choose from. This house accommodated our crew of five adults and two kids comfortably. There was even plenty of space for two American bulldogs to enjoy. A fully-stocked kitchen made it easy to prepare meals, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to eat and enjoy each other’s company. There were indoor and outdoor games along with bikes, a deck, a campfire, and plenty of backyard space for the kids to explore. The house is five steps from the golf course and a two minute walk to everything the resort has to offer.

Crystal Mountain Lodging
Another place to stay is at the resort. If you have a smaller group or a large group requesting multiple spaces, the resort has it all. From hotel rooms, to bungalows, to cottages, to condominiums, there is a place for every family.


Did I mention the mountain has 36 holes of championship golf? Pick your tee time and schedule in advance. This is a popular golf getaway for summer travelers, and kids golf free!

Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide
The most fun attraction! Take the Loki ski lift to the top of the mountain and jump in a self-propelled buggy to head down the 1,700 foot long stretch of slide. My three-year-old and I had a blast pushing the speed control to the limit. Tickets are sold in one-hour blocks which can get you up the mountain by chair lift for about four rides.

Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, and Water Playground 
Access to the pool comes at a cost to visitors outside of the resort, but it is well worth the day of family fun it provides.

Adventure Course, Wall Climb, and Resort Activities
During the summer months you can find a list of activities and crafts provided by the resort for the kids scheduled throughout the day. For ages six and up, zip line across the outdoor pool or climb the rock wall for golf course views.

Mountain Adventure Zone
Another fun adventure spot! Sign up for disc golf, archery, and laser tag or play at the playground. The Adventure Zone is a three minute walk from the center of the resort and has hours of fun. Schedule in advance on weekends and holidays to beat the line.

Michigan Legacy Art Park
A 1.9 mile hiking trail nestled in the resort grounds features over 50 sculptures and immersive art encounters as well as an outdoor amphitheater where a Summer Sound Series hosts events.

Mountain Biking
No space to pack the bikes? Fat tire bikes and mountain bikes are available for rent if you don’t bring your own. There are several kid-friendly bike trails the whole family can enjoy. If you are looking for something more challenging, this mountain is well known for its spectacular hillside mountain biking. The resort provides a map to all the adventure, too!


Wild Tomato 
Located in the resort lodge, this is a family-friendly place to dine after a long day of resort fun. This place also has a wonderful breakfast buffet!

Betsie River Pizza & Subs
Another great restaurant. This is the on-site pizza and breadstick place that every kid loves.

The Mountain Market
You never have to leave the resort! I promise you this little market has everything from quick eats, wine, and beer, to ice cream and toothpaste.


Crystal Spa
Calling themselves “a place of well-being in all seasons,” enjoy relaxation and rejuvenation as an on-site amenity.

Level Four Rooftop Bar
Ages 21+ during the summer only; relax and watch the sunset with a drink in hand.

Iron Fish Distillery (off-site) | Thompsonville
Only a five minute drive to eclectic cocktails in an outdoor space with live music and a family-friendly atmosphere.

As I said before, this place has it all. Every time I think Papa and Nana have found the best vacation spot in Michigan, a place like Crystal Mountain Resort comes along.

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Check out our most recent Travel Series post about Traverse City!


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