crystal mountainCrystal Mountain is infamous in the Midwest as a hot-spot ski destination, but as my family found out last summer, it’s a perfect summer vacation as well. This family-focused resort has everything a kid – and grownup – could want.

Here are the seven things we enjoyed the most:

1. The outdoor alpine slide. After we went down five times, I alpine-slide-from-top-625wstopped counting. Since the rider controls the speed, this roller coaster of sorts can be as thrilling or as leisurely as one wishes. With two preschoolers on board, our first go was pretty cautious but my little daredevils were yelling for faster rides and by the last turn we were racing down at top speed kind of like Danica Patrick but with fewer endorsement deals.

2. The ski lift.  Again, one turn wasn’t nearly enough for the little ones as we took in incredible views and rode up and down on a gorgeous summer’s night. At the top one evening there was a lovely party with a country music band, snacks and cocktails and a face painting artist for the kids.

3. The Pool at Water’s Edge: This one-acre outdoor complex kept us busy all day, with rope climbing, bubbling spouts, water cannons, water volleyball and basketball. The snack bar grilled up fresh burgers and hot dogs along with delicious smoothies.

chair lift4. The night-time festivities: From family fire pits to outdoor movies the fun isn’t over when the sun goes down. Even just relaxing around sunset in the grass was fun for us and a change of pace from the city.

5. The Thistle Pub & Grill: We dined alfresco at this cool spot that has upscale choices for adults like rainbow trout, potato-crusted walleye and New York strip as well as a child-pleasing kids menu.  The wine list was expansive and reasonably priced.

6. The accommodations: The resort has choices to fit every family. We opted for a one-bedroom suite with pull-out couch at the Inn at the Mountain, which was super comfy with close access to all of the activities and located directly across from the pool. Other options include hotel rooms, condos, town homes and full houses with up to four bedrooms.

crystal moutain girls7. The Northern Michigan location: Within a short distance of Crystal Mountain are the Sleeping Bear Dunes, a must-visit if you’re in the area. Once is never enough for my kids, so we ran up and down the dunes for what seemed like hours until I made us call it a day, luring them back to the resort with promises of more swimming and ice cream.

Disclosure: Crystal Mountain Resort extended a media rate to my family for research purposes which didn’t influence my review.