“Make It Benzie” County, The Ultimate Michigan Outdoor Destination for Fall Color Touring & Winter Season Fun

Enjoy this year’s fall season exploring one of the most picturesque outdoor recreational locations in the state of Michigan– Benzie County.  This fall in Benzie County experience festivals, outdoor recreational events, family friendly experiences, as well as the spectacular autumn beauty. Make the experience that much richer with Make It Benzie’s fall package – the“Benzie Treasure Trove” running through October 31, 2019. The package includes up to $300 worth of free, 2 for 1 and other value offers for visitors who spend two consecutive nights at one of Benzie County’s participating lodging establishments (minimum stay required). For details about the package and how to participate see, or call toll free (800) 882-5801.

In Benzie County find an expansive variety of lodging options conveniently located along the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Cottages along Lake Michigan, charming cabins, upscale condos, an historic hotel, and an award-winning resort are all a part of the collection of places to stay after a long day of exploring Benzie County’s beautiful stretch of West Michigan coast. Visit Point Betsie Lighthouse, one of the most photographed destination lighthouses in Michigan. Hike or bike along the picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline, on inland wooded trails and colorful tree lined country roads. Kayak or canoe the Platte and Betsie rivers abundant with fish and wildlife and autumn color along the shore. Take a chairlift ride to the top of Crystal Mountain to view miles of trees and a panorama of gold, red, orange and more. Golf at over six courses offering great play and wonderful views of the autumn scenery.

Drive through the many unique towns and villages of Benzie County to explore the beauty in Frankfort, Elberta, Beulah, Benzonia, Honor, Thompsonville, and Lake Ann. Discover unique galleries, boutiques, and impressive antique, cottage furniture and unique home décor stores. See impressive photography and original artwork by Michigan artists, handmade jewelry, a top of the line sporting goods shop, and cozy pubs and breakfast cafes. Savor the flavors of local eateries serving hand crafted donuts, delicious local ice cream, authentic deli sandwiches, white fish dip and gourmet popcorn. Relax at fun restaurants, a winery/meadery, hand crafted micro brew pubs and a farm-focused distillery. While enjoying a leisurely color tour traveling along roads with gorgeous fall foliage, discover out-of-the-way places offering the perfect gifts for holiday gift giving. Benzie County has the perfect mix of shopping and adventure, beauty and local bounty!

As the winter season rolls in, experience the award-winning Crystal Mountain for holiday events and winter experiences on the slopes and along the trails. The resort offers skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and fat tire biking and amenities including a lovely farm-to-table restaurant, children’s activities, child care, sensational spa services, indoor pool access, a fitness room, as well as, the ability to relax in front of the fire in a condo or rented vacation home. Benzie County is also booking now for great winter lodging some that offer skiing packages to make your overnight stays relaxing and your days on the slopes exciting. Once the snow sticks, snowmobilers flock to Benzie County to enjoy over 300 miles of regional connecting trails leading to numerous villages with restaurants and lodging for overnight stays. Travel on beautiful well-groomed trails to villages on your own snowmobile or a rented snowmobile available at Crystal Adventures. Ice fishing is also a favorite activity in Benzie County once the lakes freeze over. What a thrill it is to walk on top of the water to participate or watch ice fishing in action!

Discover Benzie County along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and check out the Benzie Treasure Trove package running through October 31, 2019.

Get the true flavor of Northern Michigan’s relaxed pace and exquisite natural beauty – all waiting for you in Benzie County.  Visit or call 800-882-5801 to find out more.

Benzie County Fall Festivals & Events

Beulah/Benzonia Fall Festival – October 5

The fun begins at the Beulah/Benzonia Fall Festival on October 5th. The Beulah festival is a family extravaganza centered on the shore of sparkling Crystal Lake in Beulah Park. Kids will love the festival’s awesome petting zoo, horse drawn wagon rides, pony rides, a climbing wall and bounce house,chalk art, kids’ games& activities, pumpkin decorating and much more. Adults will gravitate toward sampling the flavors at the popular soup contest, the cookie bake sale, and a Classic Car and Vintage Camper Show. In Benzonia the whole family will enjoy historic museum tours.

Frankfort Craft Beer Week – October 7 – 12

Frankfort Craft Beer Week launches from October 7 – 12. Get hoppy at five days of brew centric events complete with beer dinners, beer-pairing menus at restaurants, a home-brew contest, beer infused foods, concerts, cookouts, specialty beer releases and tap takeovers. Frankfort’s Stormcloud Brewing Company is at the center of all of the activities with other popular Michigan breweries involved, too. Small-batch releases from many craft breweries will be available at special events taking place all week. Look for great lodging packages at

Frankfort Fall Festival – October 12

Coinciding with the final day of Frankfort Craft Beer Week is the Frankfort Fall Festival on October 12. The festival kicks off with a fun and funny hometown parade complete with the amazing Scottville Clown Band, the festive Mutt March where pets and owners are dressed in outrageous and unique garb, floats, and more. Festival highlights include GIANT pumpkins aligning the park along Betsie Bay. Watch as Ed Moody, pumpkin carving king, creates intricate designs on gargantuan pumpkins; gaze in amazement as giant pumpkins weigh-in at 500, 600, 700+ pounds, and be ready when a 600+ pound pumpkin is dropped onto a full-sized vehicle!  Throughout the day there are exhilarating events including a pumpkin pie-eating contest, a silent auction, a craft fair, helicopter rides (fee charged) and more. Kids will love tons of games and a straw maze, bounce house and wagon rides with horses, guessing the weight of a pumpkin for a chance to win a bike, as well as the free movie at the Garden Theater on main street showing “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  Enjoy the beverage tent featuring craft beer, wine, mead, and craft cocktails from local purveyors.

11thAnnual Frankfort Film Festival, October 17 – 20

During the peak of fall color in Northern Michigan, don’t miss the Annual Frankfort Film Festival. Every year the festival brings hundreds of movie lovers into the friendly beach town of Frankfort for an international film fest showcasing award winning independent films from the best festivals around the globe including Sundance, Cannes, and the Golden Globes. The festival takes place in the beautifully-restored Art Deco designed Garden Theater in downtown Frankfort. It begins on Thursday and runs all weekend through Sunday evening. Stay for the entire festival and experience the films, the beautiful fall color, great restaurants and gorgeous sunsets along Lake Michigan right in downtown Frankfort and throughout Benzie County. You may even have the opportunity to interact with film directors, producers, actors and screenwriters.  For more information about the film festival, purchasing film festival passes, and a listing of 2019 intriguing films to be presented, see Frankfort Garden Theater, or call (231) 352-7561.

Peak to Peak Mountain Bike Classic – October 19

Gear up for the annual Founders Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic during peak fall color in Benzie County at Crystal Mountain. The event includes some of the most fun mountain bike riding in Michigan. The course is designed to move along the beautiful, gently rolling terrain surrounding Crystal Mountain. Riders travel through hardwood and pine forests and along rambling two-tracks and flowing single-track on a course that is fast and challenging, yet not too difficult for first time racers. The Clipper chair lift will be running to view the racing action. There’s also a fun Tour de Tykes kid’s race held immediately following the adult event. Post-race festivities at the Mountain are always a good time for the entire family, with “cold ones” flowing for adult participants and enthusiastic spectators.

More events and information at Make It Benzie 2019 Events.

Crystal Spa Days, Thompsonville – Crystal Mountain
October 1 – November 28, 2019

Beulah Fall Festival, Beulah & Benzonia
October 5, 2019

Frankfort Beer Week, Frankfort
October 7 – 12, 2019

Frankfort Fall Festival, Frankfort
October 12, 2019

Peak 2 Peak Mountain Bike Classic, Thompsonville – Crystal Mountain
October 19, 2019

11th Annual Frankfort Film Festival, Frankfort
October 17 – 20, 2019

Peaktoberfest, Thompsonville – Crystal Mountain

October 18-20, 2019

Spooktacular Saturdays, Thompsonville – Crystal Mountain

October 19 & 26

 The Haunted Trail, Thompsonville – Crystal Mountain

October 18-19 & 25-26, 2019

Thanksgiving Reconnect Weekend, Thompsonville, Crystal Mountain
November 28 – December 1, 2019

Annual Holly Berry Arts & Crafts Fair with Santa, Frankfort
November 30, 2019

Christmas Magic, Beulah
December 14, 2019

New Year’s Eve
Thompsonville, Crystal Mountain
December 31, 2019

Annual Winterfest in Benzie County, Beulah

February 8, 2020

Betsie Bay Frozen 5K, Frankfort/Elberta
February 15, 2020

March on the Mountain, Thompsonville, Crystal Mountain Weekend events all month long March 2020


More about Benzie County

Benzie County is the smallest county in Michigan and includes the quaint towns and villages of Beulah, Benzonia, Elberta, Frankfort, Honor, Lake Ann and Thompsonville. It is a perfect vacation getaway with a variety of lodging locations, from a world class resort and historic hotels to B&B’s, motels, cabins and vacation rental homes, offering lodging with modern amenities along with unique and relaxing Up-North experiences.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which borders Benzie County, features miles of magnificent beauty and lodging nearby. The majestic Crystal Lake, one of the top ten largest lakes in Michigan, as well as the two rivers – Betsie and Platte – as well as over 50 other inland lakes are also popular vacation destinations with lodging opportunities available along the water.

Benzie County is known as one of the top places in Michigan to experience outdoor exercise, sports and recreation year-round, and has over 300 miles of regional connecting trails and 60 miles of lake shoreline, and over 25 miles of coastline along Lake Michigan. Outdoor activities during fall and winter include downhill skiing, snowboarding and ice skating, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, fat tire biking and more. Iconic lighthouses, galleries and culture  surround Benzie County and include Interlochen Center for the Arts, The Elizabeth Lane Oliver Art Center, Michigan Legacy Art Park and the historic Garden Theater.

There are many unique and locally owned restaurants in Benzie County including delis, craft brew pubs, farm-to-table and more. Breweries include Stormcloud Brewing Company in Frankfort, Lake Ann Brewing in Lake Ann, and Brose Brewing in Beulah. There is also St. Ambrose Cellars Winery and Meadery in Beulah and Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville.

Benzie County is 130 miles north of Grand Rapids, 235 miles north of Detroit, 290 miles north of Chicago, 295 miles north of Fort Wayne and 380 miles north of Indianapolis. Plan a couple of days or more and get a true flavor of the relaxed pace and exquisite natural beauty of Benzie County.