Beautiful Benzie County -- Smallest County in Michigan Gets a big "wow" From Visitors; Passport to Fun" Package adds Incentive to Visit this Northern Michigan Jewel

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One of the prettiest places in the Midwest is along the Lake Michigan's shoreline in Benzie County. And as a travel destination it won't break the budget. That's because the Benzie County Visitors Bureau has just launched a free travel promotion called Passport to Fun, worth over $100 in value for food, entertainment, and recreation when two consecutive nights are booked at over 30 available lodging locations. And Benzie County is only one tank of gas from Detroit, Chicago, Fort Wayne, Windsor (Ontario), Toledo, and Milwaukee (by way of the Lake Express Ferry). Passport to Fun includes a dozen free sporting and relaxation activities and free products harvested and baked in the Benzie area, including a free quality-made kite to fly along the beaches - and with 56 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, as well as pristine Crystal and Platte lakes, there are plenty of areas to Fly a Kite!

gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes

One of the prettiest places in the Midwest is along the Lake Michigan's shoreline - Benzie County. And as a travel destination it won't break the budget. That's because the Benzie County Visitors Bureau has just launched a free travel promotion called Passport to Fun, worth over $100 in value for food, entertainment, and recreation when two consecutive nights are booked at over 30 available lodging locations.

Passport to Fun includes a dozen free sporting and relaxation activities and free products harvested and baked in the Benzie area. The promotion also includes a free quality-made kite to fly along the beach - and with 56 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, as well as pristine Crystal and Platte lakes, there are plenty of areas to Fly a Kite! And Benzie County is only one tank of gas from Detroit, Chicago, Fort Wayne, Windsor (Ontario), Toledo, and Milwaukee (by way of the Lake Express Ferry).

Rediscover what family quality time is all about and enjoy the simpler things of life in beautiful Benzie County - where Northern Michigan Preserved speaks volumes about the pristine, untouched beauty and charm that exists here. More about the free Passport to Fun package on the web at http://www.visitbenzie.com.

The free PASSPORT to FUN package, an over $100 value, is available for travelers who stay at least 2 consecutive nights in Benzie County between May 1 - October 31, 2008. Visitors can receive a passport for each trip taken to Benzie County during May - October 2008. The Passport to Fun guides a family around to the various unique locations within the county where they can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, beach activities, biking, hiking, dune climbing and many other experiences. See http://www.visitbenzie.com.

Here's how the PASSPORT to FUN works:
(1.) Make a reservation at any one of the participating lodging establishments (see attached list);

(2.) Register for your Passport Certificate online at http://www.visitbenzie.com, (look for the red kite). Print off the Passport and present it when you check in at your lodging establishment for validation;

(3.) Bring the validated Passport to the Benzie County CVB to receive your Passport package. The Benzie County CVB is located along US-31 at the intersection of M-115 West in Benzonia - very central within the county, and easy and quick to find.

The PASSPORT TO FUN package* includes:

FREE Kite from Benzie County Visitors Bureau
FREE Handmade Donut and Coffee from Crescent Bakery
FREE Cherry Pie To Go from the Cherry Hut
FREE Root Beer Float at A&W
FREE Ice Cream Cones at Hill Top Soda Shoppe
FREE Breadsticks at A. Papano's Pizza
FREE 15 minute Chair Massage at Eden Salon & Day Spa
FREE Tour of Point Betsie Lighthouse
FREE 2 Hour Bike Rental at Crystal Lake Adventure Sports
2 for 1 Golf at Crystal Mountain
2 for 1 Golf at Champion Hill or Pinecroft Golf Course
FREE 1 Hour 1 Person Kayak Rental at Hanmer's Resort

  • One Passport to Fun package per family per visit

"Free" Passport to Fun Package leads Families to beautiful Benzie County, page 3 of 3

More Information about Benzie County
Benzie County, with over 50 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, is the "gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes" part of the Sleeping Bear National Forest. Benzie County is the smallest county in Michigan and has only one stoplight in the entire county! However, Benzie is one of the "largest" counties in terms of beautiful settings and natural resources including the "crystal blue" Crystal Lake where families have been vacationing for decades and the Point Betsie Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in Michigan.

Originally the hub of the lumbering industry in Northwest Michigan, Benzie County is currently known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Lakes and rivers - such as Crystal Lake, Lake Ann, Platte River and Betsie River - are prevalent here, where fishing, kayaking and sailing draw thousands of visitors annually. Hiking, biking, golfing, hang gliding, and surfing are also popular activities. Benzie County boasts numerous bike trails, including the over 20 mile long Betsie Valley Trail. Explore the quaint towns of Benzonia, Beulah, Honor, Lake Ann, Thompsonville, Elberta, and Frankfort. Benzie County is located along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Travel to and through the area is available on US-31, M-22, M-115, and M-168

Portions of the Pere Marquette State Forest lie within the county. Several trails including a 10-mile route along the Betsie River and a 5.8-mile trail near Lake Ann are included within the preserved State Forest. There are also state forest campgrounds at Platte River and Lake Ann. The Betsie River State Game Area is located just east of Elberta. Fifty miles of the Betsie River is a state-designated Natural River from Grass Lake.

The center of Benzie Country is located just 20 miles from the internationally renowned Interlochen School for the Arts and only 30 minutes from Traverse City. Benzie County is also home to numerous artists, musicians and professionals. Visitors for decades have come from all over the world to visit Gwen Frostic's Presscraft Papers, located in the woodlands of Benzonia.

Benzie County - Discover Northern Michigan Preserved, the home of Crystal Lake, Crystal Mountain Resort, port city of Frankfort, Point Betsie Lighthouse, and the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and Park. Benzie County is a special place along Lake Michigan's most pristine shoreline where people who love the outdoors and an active lifestyle can have it all: biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, golfing, cross country / downhill skiing, fishing, boating, and more. Galleries, restaurants and lodging from casual to upscale are available. Learn more at http://www.visitbenzie.com.
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For more information about the PASSPORT to FUN package, contact the Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 800-882-5801 or log on to http://www.visitbenzie.com

PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

B E N Z I E C O U N T Y
Northern Michigan Preserved

Activities Available during the Passport to Fun package promotion 2008
May:     Birding
    Mushrooming
    Cherry Blossoms
    Fishing
    Kayaking and Canoeing
    Biking
    Hang Gliding

June:    Surfing
    Hang Gliding
    Swimming
    Farmers Markets
    Craft Fair
    Alpine Slide

July:    Art Fairs
    Farmers Markets
    Swimming
    Beaching
    Boating
    Kayaking and Canoeing
    Golfing
    Surfing
    5K Races
    Alpine Slide
    Concerts

Aug:     Art Fairs
    Farmers Markets
Coho Festival
    Fishing Frenzie Event
    Golfing
    Swimming
    Beaching
    Boating
    Kayaking and Canoeing
    Surfing
Team Marathon Race
Alpine Slide
Concerts

Sept:    Salmon Fishing
    Romantic Getaways after the season
    Warm Waters in Lake Michigan
    Golf
    Hang Gliding

Oct:    Fall Color Tours
    Golf
    25K/5K Races
    New Spa Opens at Crystal Mountain Resort
    Fall Fest Event

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