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Inland lake, beachfront villas are hidden gems at this Northern Michigan ski resort


BOYNE FALLS, MI – Most people familiar with Boyne Mountain know about its winter ski runs and slopeside amenities. And in the summer, its guests run the adventure-seeking gamut from mountain bikers who love challenging trails to zipliners seeking downhill thrill rides.

But this time of year, it has also got its share of beach lovers. At the eastern edge of this huge resort a half-hour south of Petoskey sits Boyne’s private frontage on Deer Lake. It is here that Boyne has created a stretch of waterfront vacation oasis complete with condos for guests, its Beach House Restaurant with an outdoor patio, and a sandy beach area for all-day relaxation and play time.

As we seek out fun spots for our readers to explore, this one surprised us. We didn’t expect to find a beach tucked behind the ski hill. Deer Lake offers waterfront activities like kayaks, small sailboats and stand-up paddleboards for rent. There’s also a big lawn area that features classic games for kids and grownups. This private beach area is within view of Boyne Mountain’s two golf courses.

Deer Lake at Boyne Mountain

Classic lawn games are always available at this beachfront location. Photo provided by Boyne Mountain.

The beach area and watersports can be used by guests staying at the waterfront Deer Lake Villas, and also by guests staying in the resort’s Mountain Grand Lodge or other accommodations. Boyne staff say some vacationers are surprised to learn the resort has a beach area.

“The Deer Lake beach area is like a hidden gem at Boyne Mountain Resort,” said Erin Ernst, director of communications at Boyne Resorts’ Michigan operations. “Most people know the resort for incredible skiing, and big attractions like Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark and sky-high ziplining, but in the summertime, there’s also private beach access along Deer Lake where guests can take advantage of swimming, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, sailboats, and lawn games.

“Boyne Mountain also offers shuttle service, so no matter where you are lodging at the resort, you can easily spend the day along the water, and for those wanting to stay right along the water’s edge, we have the Deer Lake Villas.”

Deer Lake at Boyne Mountain

Kayak rentals are available at Deer Lake, along with small sailboats, SUPs and other water activities. Photo provided by Boyne Mountain.

The Deer Lake area is a short drive from Boyne’s main lodge. For guests who like to bike, it’s a moderate ride. For some extra fun, rent a 6-person Scenic Cart – which looks like a giant golf cart – and cruise from the main lodging area over to Deer Lake.

Here’s a closer look at some of the amenities at Deer Lake:

The Villas: Billed as a spot for people who crave a quiet waterfront locale, these condos along the lake’s shoreline are available for rent year-round. They’re the right size for families or friend groups. They can sleep up to 8 people. Each one has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room area. “Guests have full access to Deer Lake Beach activities – including paddle boats and kayaks,” Boyne staff said. Here’s a peek inside:

Deer Lake at Boyne Mountain

The Villas have two bedrooms, with one of the rooms featuring two beds. Photo provided by Boyne Mountain.

Deer Lake at Boyne Mountain

A full kitchen connects to the living room area inside a Deer Lake Villa. Photo courtesy of Boyne Mountain.

The Beach House. This waterfront restaurant offers indoor dining and an outdoor patio. It’s also known as the perfect spot to catch a sunset. Check the website for the menu and the live entertainment schedule. Here’s what you’ll find there:

Deer Lake at Boyne Mountain

The Beach House sits along Boyne’s private stretch of Deer Lake. It offers a lunch and dinner menu. Photo provided by Boyne Mountain.

Deer Lake at Boyne Mountain

Outdoor patio seats at The Beach House are a fantastic spot to catch a sunset after a day on the water. Photo provided by Boyne Mountain.

Summer Activities

Wakeboarding Camp: The warm water of Deer Lake is also the spot for three wakeboard camp sessions during the first half of August. Day camp and overnight camp options are available. These camps offer personal instruction and are open to kids ages 7 to 16. No previous experience is necessary. For details and prices, check the website here.

Bike Night and Car Cruise-In: This happens each Tuesday night through the end of August. Motorcycles and cool cars enjoy the spotlight in the circle drive outside The Clock Tower Lodge. Guests enjoy food and drink specials, live music and giveaways. See more details here.

Deer Lake at Boyne Mountain

The sun sets over Deer Lake. Photo provided by Boyne Mountain.

Vacation Tip: Don’t leave without taking a scenic chairlift ride. They’re free for guests, and offer fantastic views for miles as you reach the top of the ski hill. Want to get your exercise for the day? Head up on a chairlift, then strike out on a woodsy trail for some exploring. You can wind your way back down to the lodge on foot.

Traveling around the Petoskey area? Here are some places to check out:

Boyne Highlands bike park offers new express lift for bikers

Petoskey to Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor ferry service to launch

Petoskey Cheese offers Old-World flavor in darling new shop

The surprising secret behind the walls of this historic Harbor Springs house


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