Beautiful and peaceful Black Lake is three a half hours north of Lansing, and what feels like even longer from the rush and noise of urban living. Bring a boat, swim from the shoreline dock by your vacation rental on Black Lake, or rent jet-skis and other water toys. Throw out a line to angle for some perch, bass or bluegill, or try your luck in the deeper waters for the big fish, including pike and muskie. Relax around an open fire in the evenings outside your vacation rental, make s’mores and enjoy the tranquility of the moonbeams dancing on the water.

1. Go Camping

campfire
Source: Flickr / Mark Doliner

Pitch a tent at one of the 15 campsites at the Black Lake County park. If you really like roughing it, opt for one of the three rustic sites without electricity. Catch your breath and feel the stress melt away in a relaxing swim or catch some fish for dinner. There is a playground for the children, and every campsite provides a picnic table and a fire ring.

2. Visit Historical Sites

historic sites
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Experience the culture and history preserved in nearby Onaway, just 10 miles from the lake. The courthouse was restored in 1909 and houses city offices, the Chamber of Commerce, the branch library and the Onaway Historical Museum. The museum houses a turn-of-the-century school room, doctor’s office and wooden steering wheels from the American Rim Company. Swing by the metal sculptures display that features George Washington and a giant butterfly.

3. Go on a Picnic

picnic
Source: Wellspring Community School / Flickr

Black River Park also provides a public boat launch that lets you gain access to Lake Michigan. Stroll through the park to feed the ducks in the spring and the fall or enjoy the pristine surroundings for a family picnic. The park affords excellent opportunities for families to play some outdoor games together. Fido is welcome as long as you keep him on a leash.

4. Enjoy a Bonfire

bonfire

Open your mouth and say, “Ooooh!” Your family will love swimming and playing in the clear water and building sandcastles at Pine Grove Beach. Take the children to the weekly bonfire and hotdog roast on the beach. The area offers outdoor activities year round, including winter sports.

5. Take a Boat Ride

boat ride

If you don’t have a boat of your own, Black Lake Marina offers boat, jet-ski and pontoon boat rentals. Get everything you need, including life jackets, safety instructions, additional water toys and fuel. Fish from the boat or simply enjoy a leisurely ride around the lake.

6. Go Horseback Riding

horseback ride

For the equestrian-minded, Black Mountain Pathway offers a 30-mile trail for horseback riding, biking, hiking and cross-country skiing. Just minutes from the lake, horseback riding is available April through November. Two-track roads and fire lanes are open for horseback riding. Horses must stay on designated roads, paths and trails, and reservations are recommended.

7. Go Fishing

fishing
Source: Claire Gillman / Flickr

Even the little ones can get in on the fishing fun around the lake, right from the shoreline and close to your vacation rental. Get some bait and tackle and watch the amazement unfold as they feel the tug on the line and learn how to reel them in. Everything you need is available at the marina.

8. Get a Jet Ski

jet ski
Source: Rob Rhyne / Flickr

Give the children a thrill when you take them out on jet skis on Black Lake. With the proper safety gear, they will love the rush of the wind and water spray. Only an experienced operator should take a child out. Teens and adults can get instructions and tips for handling when securing the rentals.

9. Ride the ATVs

ride atv
Source: Robert Thigpen / Flickr

Get those ATV motors revved up and hit those trails. Black Lake ORV Trail is flat and narrow at the north end where it gets less use and widens out to a more hilly area to the south. It follows a sandy bowl trail that was first used as a ski resort and connects to Bummers Roost Trail. Mostly motorcycles travel Bummers Roost Trail but it is wide enough for ATVs.

10. Play Golf

play golf

Black Lake Golf Club opened in 2000 with a 350 double-ended bent grass tee range, four practice bunkers, four chipping and putting greens and a clubhouse. The Little Course is a nine-hole par 3 used to introduce kids to the game and also allow experienced players to enjoy short games. The club has earned a number of awards and proudly displays membership of the Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program.