Summer Resorts 2002-Midwest: Crystal Mountain, Mich.

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Crystal Mountain, Mich.

When SKI?s readers rank you the No. 1 family ski resort in the Midwest, what?s your encore? Crystal?s answer is to pack summer with even more family fun. Junior golfers play free midweek and there?s a free family golf clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Families who like woods and water can kayak down the nearby Betsie River, go on a wildlife and bird-watching hike on the Betsie River Pathway, mountain bike the singletrack on the backside of the mountain, or stroll among the 24 interpretive pieces on the wooded trail of the Michigan Legacy Art Park. Or, for an adrenaline rush, leap off the Frankfort cliffs above Lake Michigan in a hang glider under the tutelage of the Northwest Soaring Club.

On Monday, Wednesday and Saturday nights, Crystal?s summit is the place to be: Ride the chairlift to savor a MountainFest barbecue, or let the kids order pizza at the Little Betsie Bistro, while mom and dad enjoy an elegant dinner at the Wild Flower.

On another evening, motor 25 miles north along the Lake Michigan shoreline to the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at the Sleeping Bear Dunes state park. When twilight falls, watch the sun set from the Empire Bluffs (four miles south of the dunes) or Frankfort?s lighthouse pier (closer to Crystal). On your way back, celebrate another idyllic Lake Michigan day with a slice of cherry pie at the Cherry Hut in Beulah. ?J.N.

DON?T MISS Step into the past with a trip to the old-fashioned A&W hot-dog stand in Frankfort: Enjoy drive-in service, followed by a double-feature movie at the Cherry Bowl Drive-in Theater in nearby Honor.

best deal The Classic golf package includes midweek lodging, 18 holes of golf and unlimited practice-range use, starting at $99 per person for a hotel room. 800-968-7686; www.crystalmountain.com.