Meeting Planner’s Guide to Planning Northern Michigan Events

Posted on September 4th, 2018

Holding an association or corporate event this fall? Need a unique location that can serve your group’s needs? Consider all that northern Michigan has to offer! With spectacular water views in a small-town atmosphere, this is an area your attendees will fall in love with year after year.

On Lake Michigan, this area comprises of a selection of more than 20 stellar golf courses, dozens of award-winning vineyards and a cosmopolitan range of dining and entertainment options.

Here are the six commonly asked questions I receive about Northern Michigan.

Keen Insights About Up North

1. How many places are there to meet?
Depending on your group size, there are over 75 different venues in this area! We have everything from small and cozy meeting areas for twelve to large ballrooms that seat twelve hundred attendees. In addition, many of our facilities have breakout rooms, outdoor spaces and team building activities in and around the venue.

2. What is there to do?
So many things are available for meeting participants. Here are just a few for the fall:

a. Biking
b. Cocktail making classes
c. Fishing charters
d. Golf
e. Hiking
f. History tours
g. Horseback riding
h. Kayaking
i. Lawn games
j. Segway tours
k. Scavenger hunts
l. Walk along Lake Michigan beaches
m. Watercolor painting class
n. Ziplines

One hint: If there’s something your group really wants to do, be sure to include it in your RFP.

3. How large are the towns?
Here is the 2016 full-time resident population of northern Michigan cities, towns and villages, from the largest to the smallest:
Traverse City 15,479
Petoskey 5,749
Acme 4,708
Boyne City 3,740
Harbor Springs 1,206
Bellaire 1,064
Sutton’s Bay 620
Mackinac Island 477
Boyne Falls 292

As you can see, you have a range of options from a busy, suburban setting to a quaint village. We even have one no car option, Mackinac Island, where participants get there via ferry and are transported back in time with horse carriages.

4. What’s the weather like?

This is the average temperatures for the next two months:
September 72 degrees high, 52 degrees low
October 57 degrees high, 41 degrees low

5. How can your attendees get there?

Fly. There are two airports:
Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City and
Pellston Regional Airport in Pellston

From lower Michigan cities such as Detroit, Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor the drive is 4.5 to 5 hours. From Ohio cities like Columbus, Cleveland or Toledo, it’s 4.5 to 7 hours. From Chicago, the drive is roughly 5 hours.


6. Why book a northern Michigan meeting?

“This is not a ‘me, too’ destination with a lot of ‘me, too’ attractions,” says Tori Piersante, Vice President of Sales for Traverse City Tourism. “It’s completely real and completely genuine.”

Ryan Buck, Director of Sales for Grand Traverse Resort & Spa says, “We can offer an amazing diversity of activities for meetings, from a team-building event on Level 17—the 17th floor of our tower—to events for up to 400 at our beach club.”

“We held our annual meeting at Mission Point. Wow! It was our best meeting ever! Attendees loved it,” stated Mary Kay Makarewicz, Director of Programs and Operations for the Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology.

“Our group has been meeting at Boyne Highlands for forty years. From the minute I check in, it’s a wonderful experience. Each staff member is professional and friendly. The food’s excellent. I’d recommend it again to anyone for business.”


Let Us Help You Plan Your Meeting
Please call Meetings Michigan at 800-210-1514 or fill out our contact form! We will help guide you to the best locations and venues based on your group’s size, goals and needs. We look forward to serving you!