When you’re seeking a peaceful destination near scenic lakes, head to Bellaire, Michigan. With its quiet countryside and extensive waterfront, a quaint Bellaire vacation rental is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. During the beautiful Michigan summers, enjoy boating and partaking in water sports on Lake Bellaire, Blair Lake, or the Cedar River. In autumn, the nearby forests come to life with brilliant color-changing leaves. During the winter, snow blankets fields, creating opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. While you’re visiting Bellaire, get into the Michigan spirit with these fun attractions.
1. Paddle the Chain O’Lakes
Experience Bellaire’s spectacular tree-lined waterways with a paddle trip down the Chain O’Lakes. Rent a kayak or paddle board from Paddles and Pedals, and head to the Ohio Street boat launch. From there, you can paddle all the way through the beautiful Lake Bellaire, Clam Lake, and Torch Lake. Pack snacks, and pull up to the Thayer access point to enjoy a picnic and some swimming.
2. Take a Tour at Short’s Brewing Company
See how some of Michigan’s favorite beers are made during your tour of the Short’s Brewing Company brew house. As you stroll through the former hardware store, brewing staff explain their unique process and show off the site of the company’s first beer house, the Huma Lupa Licious. Afterward, try the 20 specialty beers in the tap room, and stick around to catch a local musician in the pub.
3. Play 18 Holes at The Chief
Pack your golf clubs for a tee time at The Chief, one of the most beautiful courses in Bellaire. Enjoy views of wooded hills and Lake Bellaire as you play the dramatically shaped greens, and watch out for the creative water hazards that add an extra challenge to your swing. If possible, hit the 18th hole at sunset to finish your game with a spectacular view.
4. Bike the Outside Loop
Join the local mountain-biking community on The Outside Loop, a challenging trail that winds through the trees and fields on the edge of the Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area. Head west from the southern Vandermark Road parking area to find long climbs and fun, high-speed descents. Complete the entire loop for a 20-mile ride. Mountain bike rentals are available at Paddles and Pedals.
5. Hike the Grass River Natural Area
Experience true peace amid the gently flowing streams and rustling aspens in the beautiful Grass River Natural Area. Load your day pack with snacks, and drive 7 miles south of Bellaire vacation rentals to the Sedge Meadow Boardwalk Loop, which runs over streams and through the wetlands. During the summer, book a naturalist-guided hike at the Grass River Education Center.
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6. Snowshoe the Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area
When winter hits, rent snowshoes from Paddles and Pedals, and head to the Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area. Located just a mile out of town, this extensive area features more than 30 miles of trails. Hike through dense forests and open fields; for a serious workout, head west to connect to the wider trail network. Access the trail system from the large parking lot on Orchard Hill Road, where you can find a convenient trail map.
7. Attend a Festival
Don’t let Bellaire’s small size fool you; the village hosts a huge variety of festivals throughout the year. If you’re visiting in August, watch brightly colored hot-air balloons float over the fields during the Balloons Over Bellaire event, or head into town to watch the wild Rubber Ducky Race. In September, scarecrows sit on every corner during the Harvest Festival, while December’s Light Up the Night brings a parade of lights and family-friendly holiday activities.
8. Fish Lake Bellaire
Catch your dinner in Lake Bellaire, which is home to species including trout, pike, walleye, and rock bass. Navigate the deep waters with a fishing boat rental from Riverside Marina in Bellaire. For the broadest variety of fish, concentrate on the shallow waters at the mouth of the river near Willow Day Park on the southeast side of the lake.
9. Shop the Bellaire Farmers Market
Fill your vacation rental’s cupboards with food from the Bellaire Farmers Market, which opens each Friday throughout the summer at the ASI Community Center and Park. Shop for Michigan-grown sweet corn and peaches, and take a break to listen to local musicians in the gazebo. During the winter, the market’s vendors move inside the community center.
10. Try Snow Tubing
If you’re bringing little ones to Bellaire when the snow falls, head to Summit Mountain for an afternoon of snow tubing. Wear your warmest gear and hold on tight as you fly down the multi-lane hill. Kids are welcome, and tube rentals are available by the hour.
11. Ski or Snowboard Schuss Mountain
Make the most of the northern Michigan snow at Schuss Mountain, a ski area that sits just 15 minutes from Bellaire. Thanks to its compact size and well-groomed terrain, this friendly resort is a great choice for families and new skiers. On the east face, the beginner-friendly Mellow Yellow and Chickens Choice trails offer gentle slopes. Alternatively, take the quad lift to the top of the north face and test your skills on the expert-only Kingdom Come.
12. Take a Trail Ride
Enjoy a peaceful trail ride through Bellaire’s forests and farm fields with Sandy’s Stables. After meeting the stables’ friendly, well-trained horses, saddle up and head out past the 100-year-old barn and into the trees. If you’re visiting in the fall, the horseback Color Tour is a fantastic way to see the changing leaves up close. Afterward, stop by the petting farm to meet the animals and enjoy the beauty of the working ranch.
13. Visit a Vineyard
See where Michigan wine grapes are grown and processed at Torch Lake Cellars, a friendly, family-owned operation. Climb the handmade wooden spiral staircase to the cupola to look over the vast vineyards, which spread over the rolling fields southwest of town. Then, head into the tasting room to try the Deepwater Point Pinot Grigio and Kalchik Cherry Wine.
14. Visit King Orchards
If your Michigan vacation falls in autumn, make the 15-minute drive north to King Orchards to pick cherries, raspberries, apples, peaches, and nectarines. Each tree is specially pruned to create low-hanging branches that are easily accessible for kids. End your visit with a stop in the farm store to pick up jams, jellies, and homemade pies.
15. Go Snowmobiling
Trailer your sleds and head to the Graves Crossing State Forest Campground for some of Michigan’s most exciting snowmobiling. Here, you can speed through trees, past frozen lakes, and through winding hill country. Snowmobile rentals are available from UP Rental in Mancelona, and trail access is available onsite.
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