Recently our family wanted to get back into skiing and was looking for a family-friendly ski resort near Chicago. Its been about 20 years since my husband and I skied and we have two young boys who’ve never skied before. When I started my research and asked around our friend circles, one resort continued to come up as the best – Boyne Mountain Resort.
Boyne Mountain is just under 6 hours away from Chicago, it’s located in northern Michigan and it’s a very easy drive. What sold us was all the activities available for the whole family, but before we go into the fun let’s talk about lodging.
The resort itself has a wide variety of options from condos to villas to cabins, but we decided to check out VRBO to see if we could get a bigger space to fit in our budget. We found a lodge on-site that could accommodate our entire party. We traveled with family friends and there were nine of us total. The lodges on-site were nice and spacious, we could have fit another family in there if needed. Check your options before you book.
As far as the activities go, you need more than a weekend. There is so much to do!
The resort was much larger than I anticipated with 60 runs to chose from at all different levels for skiing. I liked this because you didn’t get bored going down the same runs over and over again. They also had quite a bit of beginner level runs for us to get reacquainted with skiing. The staff was very helpful and the system to check-in and pick up your equipment was like a well-oiled machine. They are very organized, which I appreciated with kids. Parents, you know what I mean! We were in and out in 15 minutes. We rented skis, poles, and helmets.
TIP: Buy your lift tickets before you go! Saves you from waiting in line and you get a discount buying online. You can choose a full-day or half-day. Looking back, I think half-day would have been enough. Prices vary during non-peak/peak days.
Once we had our gear, we dropped the kids off at ski school at 8:30 am. When booking ski school, you can choose by age level and/or experience level. You can also choose half-day or full-day. Full-day was from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and lunch was included. The boys had a blast and the instructors were very hands-on. The lift ticket was included and could be used after ski school on the beginner runs if you felt they are ready.
In the morning, the resort was not too busy. I didn’t feel crowded on the runs and we never had to wait for lift rides for longer than a few minutes. The crowds started coming in after lunchtime. At that point, I was ready to call it a day.
Speaking of lunchtime, there were several meal options to choose from. One day we ate at Forty Acres Tavern which was worth the wait. The food and service were excellent. The second day we took advantage of a taco truck parked next to the slopes – and again delicious! The quality of the food was another present surprise. There were several other dining options around the resort to choose from. If you want to head off property for meals, I highly recommend Red Mesa Grill. It’s only five miles from the resort and was amazing. We will definitely go there next time too.
One of my favorite things about the resort was the live band entertainment that you could hear even at the top of the mountain. Sitting at the tables outdoors with a beverage listening to the band was my definition of fun. Maybe I’m more of an Aprés skier? Either way, it was a blast!
Other activities we took advantage of were going to Avalanche Bay Indoor Water Park. The kids had loved it and there was a great variety of rides for all ages. We also took the kids to the arcade which was conveniently located next to the water park.
Other activities available at the resort were tubing, cross country skiing, Fat Tire Biking, Groomer Rides, Horseback Riding, Ice Skating, Sno-Go Bikes, Ziplining, and Snowshoeing.
Now you know why I said you need more than a weekend. The fun was endless! If you are thinking about a Midwest winter getaway, I highly recommend Boyne Mountain Resort. We are already planning for next year.