Things to Do in Gaylord MI – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Welcome

Welcome to Gaylord, Michigan, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the state’s picturesque landscape. This charming town offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, a history buff, or simply looking to relax and unwind, Gaylord has something for everyone. Join us as we explore the top things to do in Gaylord, MI, and discover why this destination should be at the top of your travel list.

Can’t-Miss Attractions

1. Otsego Lake State Park
Nestled in the heart of Gaylord, Michigan, Otsego Lake State Park is a serene oasis for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Boasting a picturesque lake surrounded by lush forests, this park offers a plethora of recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, hiking, and picnicking. Visitors can also rent kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards to explore the crystal-clear waters of Otsego Lake. The park’s tranquil setting and stunning natural beauty make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the great outdoors.

2. Call of the Wild Museum
For a unique and educational experience, head to the Call of the Wild Museum in Gaylord. This fascinating museum showcases an impressive collection of wildlife exhibits, including lifelike taxidermy displays of native Michigan animals. Visitors can learn about the region’s diverse ecosystems, conservation efforts, and the importance of preserving wildlife habitats. The museum’s interactive displays and engaging exhibits make it a captivating destination for families, nature enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the natural world.

3. Gaylord Eberhart-Petry Estate
Step back in time and explore the historic Gaylord Eberhart-Petry Estate, a well-preserved example of early 20th-century architecture in Northern Michigan. This stately mansion offers guided tours that provide insight into the region’s rich history and the lives of the prominent families who once called it home. Visitors can admire the estate’s elegant furnishings, intricate woodwork, and beautiful gardens, offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Michigan’s elite during the Gilded Age. The estate’s historical significance and architectural beauty make it a must-see attraction for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

4. Aspen Park
Experience the beauty of Michigan’s wilderness at Aspen Park, a hidden gem located just a short drive from downtown Gaylord. This scenic park features miles of hiking trails that wind through dense forests, tranquil meadows, and along the banks of the Sturgeon River. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and peaceful picnics amidst the natural splendor of Aspen Park. The park’s peaceful ambiance and stunning landscapes make it a perfect destination for those looking to reconnect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

5. Gaylord City Elk Park
No visit to Gaylord would be complete without a trip to the Gaylord City Elk Park, home to a thriving herd of majestic elk. Located on the outskirts of town, this unique park offers visitors the opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat. The elk can often be seen grazing in the meadows or resting under the shade of towering trees, providing a rare and unforgettable wildlife viewing experience. The park’s natural beauty and the chance to witness Michigan’s iconic elk make it a top attraction for animal lovers, photographers, and anyone seeking a memorable encounter with nature.

One-day trip

If you’re looking for exciting day trips within a 2-hour drive from Gaylord, MI, you’re in luck! Here are five fantastic destinations to consider:

1. Traverse City – Known as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” Traverse City is situated about 1.5 hours southwest of Gaylord. This charming town offers a mix of outdoor and cultural activities. Visitors can explore the picturesque wineries on the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, relax on the sandy beaches of Grand Traverse Bay, or stroll through the vibrant downtown area filled with shops, galleries, and restaurants.

2. Mackinac Island – Located approximately 2 hours north of Gaylord, Mackinac Island is a step back in time with its ban on cars and horse-drawn carriages. Visitors can bike around the island, visit historic sites like Fort Mackinac, indulge in famous fudge, or take in stunning views of the Mackinac Bridge and Lake Huron.

3. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Just under 2 hours west of Gaylord, this natural gem boasts towering sand dunes, pristine beaches, and lush forests along the shores of Lake Michigan. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the dunes, kayak along the crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on the beach. Don’t miss the scenic overlooks for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscapes.

4. Petoskey – Situated less than an hour north of Gaylord, Petoskey is a quaint town known for its charming Gaslight District, filled with boutiques, cafes, and art galleries. Visitors can hunt for the famous Petoskey stones along the Lake Michigan shoreline, explore the local history at the Little Traverse Historical Museum, or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Bear River.

5. Charlevoix – Approximately 1.5 hours northwest of Gaylord, Charlevoix is a picturesque town nestled between Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix. Known for its unique mushroom houses and scenic marina, Charlevoix offers a blend of outdoor and cultural experiences. Visitors can take a boat tour of the stunning lakeshore, shop for local art and crafts, or dine at waterfront restaurants serving fresh seafood.

These five destinations near Gaylord, MI, offer a diverse range of activities and attractions, making them ideal choices for day-trippers looking to explore and enjoy the beauty of Northern Michigan.

Restaurants and bars

Gaylord, Michigan is a hidden gem for food enthusiasts, offering a variety of dining options that cater to every palate. Here are five must-visit restaurants in Gaylord MI that promise a culinary experience like no other:

1. The Alpine Tavern & Eatery: Nestled in the heart of Gaylord, The Alpine Tavern & Eatery is renowned for its cozy ambiance and delectable Swiss-inspired cuisine. Don’t miss their signature dish, the Swiss Fondue, a melty delight that will transport your taste buds to the Alps.

2. Treetops Resort: For a fine dining experience with panoramic views, head to Treetops Resort. Indulge in their famous Prime Rib, expertly prepared to perfection, while enjoying the stunning vistas of the surrounding forests.

3. Bennethum’s Northern Inn: A local favorite, Bennethum’s Northern Inn offers a sophisticated dining experience with a menu that highlights fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to try their Lake Superior Whitefish, a dish that perfectly captures the essence of Michigan’s culinary heritage.

4. Michaywé Inn the Woods: Located amidst serene woodlands, Michaywé Inn the Woods is a charming restaurant known for its rustic charm and hearty comfort food. Their Beef Stroganoff is a crowd-pleaser, combining tender beef with a rich, creamy sauce that will leave you craving for more.

5. The Iron Pig Smokehouse: If you’re in the mood for some finger-licking barbecue, look no further than The Iron Pig Smokehouse. Their Smoked Brisket is a standout dish, slow-cooked to perfection and bursting with flavor that will satisfy even the most discerning BBQ connoisseur.

When it comes to unwinding and enjoying a laid-back atmosphere, Gaylord MI has a couple of standout cafes and bars that are beloved by locals:

1. Gobbler’s Pub: Known for its friendly vibe and extensive craft beer selection, Gobbler’s Pub is a go-to spot for beer enthusiasts. The pub’s cozy interior and welcoming staff make it a favorite hangout for locals looking to unwind after a long day.

2. Snowbelt Brewing Co.: For a taste of locally brewed beers in a hip setting, head to Snowbelt Brewing Co. This trendy brewery offers a rotating selection of craft beers that are brewed on-site, ensuring a fresh and unique drinking experience every time you visit. The laid-back ambiance and communal seating make it a perfect spot to mingle with both locals and visitors alike.

Interesting Facts

Welcome to Gaylord, Michigan, a charming town with a lot to offer! Here are three surprising and interesting facts about Gaylord that will make your visit even more exciting:

1. Alpine Village: Gaylord is known as Michigan’s Alpine Village due to its unique Swiss-themed architecture and ambiance. Stroll through downtown and admire the chalet-style buildings, complete with intricate woodwork and colorful flower boxes. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint European village right in the heart of Northern Michigan.

2. Golfing Paradise: With over 20 golf courses in the area, Gaylord is a golfer’s paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, you’ll find a course that suits your skill level and offers stunning views of the surrounding forests and lakes. Don’t miss the chance to tee off in one of the most beautiful golf destinations in the Midwest.

3. Outdoor Wonderland: Nestled amidst the picturesque forests and lakes of Northern Michigan, Gaylord is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In the winter, you can hit the slopes at Treetops Resort or go snowmobiling on hundreds of miles of groomed trails. In the summer, enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, and more in the pristine natural beauty that surrounds the town.

Come and discover all that Gaylord has to offer – from its charming Alpine Village to its endless outdoor adventures, this hidden gem in Michigan is sure to surprise and delight you.

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