No More Compromises
When a golfer travels with their family, a choice usually has to be made. Either the golfer is going to be stuck playing mediocre courses or the family is going to be bored with the lack of fun things to do.
If this problem sounds familiar, allow me to introduce you to Boyne Mountain. At Boyne Mountain, every member of the family can get what they want: great golf, a water park, good food, and a huge variety of adventures and activities. It may sound like heaven, but it’s only as far as northern Michigan.
10 Great Golf Courses
Since this is PluggedInGolf, we’ll start with the golf, and there’s a lot to talk about. Boyne Golf encompasses four different properties – Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Bay Harbor, and Crooked Tree Golf Club – and ten courses. Among all the courses, there’s unbelievable quality and variety.
I’ve had the chance to play most of the Boyne Golf courses, and you can click on the names below for reviews. You can also read more about Boyne Golf’s signature Unlimited Golf package HERE.
Family Fun: Day 1
The amount of golf at Boyne’s resorts is overwhelming, but the number of activities for families makes the golf look like an afterthought. I traveled north with my wife and two daughters, ages seven and four, and we had the most fun, action-packed vacation of our lives.
After six hours of driving and checking into our room, we made the three minute drive from the Clock Tower Lodge to Deer Lake. To describe Deer Lake is to describe the ideal lake: ample beach, shallow enough for kids to be safe, refreshing water temperature, and a beautiful setting. On top of this natural treasure Boyne adds the fun: canoes and kayaks on loan for free to hotel guests, a bar, music, the Beach House restaurant, and lawn games. We stayed until the kids could barely stand, then ordered dinner to our hotel room.
Day two started with an early morning round at The Monument. Then I rejoined my family and we went back to Deer Lake so my daughters could ride ponies. My girls had never been on horses before, but Boyne’s staff made them feel very comfortable. They were barely done with the ride before they were begging to go again. Horse riding is available for all ages – kids under 8 take a guided walk, older kids and adults can go on a longer trail ride.
After the pony ride, we played lawn games behind the Boyne Mountain Lodge, and my older daughter caught sight of the zip lines. This became an immediate must-do. As with the horses, there are multiple options for zip lining. For the adventurous, there’s a 10 zip-line course. Since my younger daughter was too light to zip, we opted for two rides on the zip-line directly behind the lodge.
After dinner, my younger daughter spied the ski lift which became our next activity. Atop Boyne Mountain, there is the Eagle’s Nest restaurant and a chance to take in some beautiful views. After riding back down, we took advantage of the nightly s’mores cookout.
You might think that sounds like more than enough for a single day, but we also managed to cram in an exploratory visit to Avalance Bay Water Park. With two thoroughly tired children in tow, we finally retreated to our hotel room.
No amount of fatigue could keep me from another early morning round of golf, this time at Crooked Tree. When I returned to the hotel room, I found two girls whose hearts were still set on another pony ride, so we walked to the Adventure Center. The Adventure Center, located just behind the main lodge, is exactly what the name implies. The staff is amazing and they got us set with a last minute reservation for another pony ride.
After that, we returned for a proper visit to Avalance Bay. Located inside the Boyne Mountain Lodge, Avalance Bay is Michigan’s largest indoor water park. Whether your kids are dare devil teens, toddlers, or something in between, Avalanche Bay is amazing. There are multiple slides that will thrill even the boldest rider, but there are also substantial areas for little ones. A lazy river circles the entire park. The most unusual attraction is the surfing simulator, which humbled many guests.
Day three came to a perfect close with a dinner at Beach House. Watching the sun set over Deer Lake was beautiful, and the food was outstanding.
And if you think my girls let us skip the s’mores, you’re wrong.
All too soon, we were eating breakfast at Everett’s and planning to head back home. While Lauren took a well deserved trip to the spa, I took the girls on one last adventure: a golf cart ride around the property. Being a good dad, I let the girls drive. Being a smart adult, I kept one hand on the wheel.
As I think back on this trip, I’m smiling at the memories and amazed at how many activities we packed into each day. And as I think about going back, I’m even more amazed by all that we didn’t get to. An abridged list of activities left undone includes bike trails, Segway tours, the nightly hayride, and paintball. I’m not sure how many days you’d need at Boyne Mountain to do it all, but the answer is clearly more than four.
The Essentials: Lodging and Food
Another part of the appeal of the Boyne properties is the variety of lodging options. We chose to stay in the Clock Tower Lodge to be close to all the activities, but you can opt for a condo, villa, or cabin that’s on the lake or in the woods to suit your preferences. There is housing of all sizes so you can travel with a small family, multiple families, your kids’ friends…anything you can imagine, Boyne can accommodate.
Not only are the rooms at Boyne big enough for any group, there is real thought put into the design and amenities. Having two separate bedrooms meant that my wife and I could stay up at night without keeping the kids awake. A full in-room kitchen allowed us to eat in when the kids were too tired to sit in a restaurant (non-parents can’t understand the importance of this).
Finally, Boyne Mountain is no slouch when it comes to food. Breakfast at Everett’s includes not only an omelette bar but a pancake bar with different batters every day. Lunch and dinner options range from family friendly pizza places to steak and seafood at Beach House. And Kilwin’s ice cream or fudge, located in the village behind the lodge, is a fine way to end any meal.
The Exception to the Rule
As I’ve become more involved in golf travel, I’ve realized how many wonderful destinations there are. This has made me hesitant to return to places I’ve been because there are so many new places to see.
Boyne Mountain has become one notable exception to this rule. We had such a wonderful time that I can see it becoming an annual destination for my family. If you’re looking for a resort with the amenities to satisfy everyone, you’ll find it at Boyne Mountain.