The Highlands - Harbor Springs
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Awesome Mitten’s Guide to The Highlands at Harbor Springs

Sometimes, you just need a trip that feels like a complete and total escape. You need someplace where the air is clear, the views are inspiring and everything is simply enjoyable. In Michigan, that premier destination is The Highlands at Harbor Springs.

This four-season resort is located on the northern rim of the Lower Peninsula. It sets itself apart from similar destinations because it is a family-owned operation that has long been committed to providing an experience that boasts modern amenities and the charm of an era gone by.

From golfing in the summer to skiing in the winter, The Highlands is the definition of luxury travel in Michigan. Our guide gives you a glimpse into what it is like to stay there.

The Highlands-Harbor Springs
The Highlands | photo via michiganmagictreehouse

About The Highlands at Harbor Springs

The Highlands at Harbor Springs is an all-season resort that aims to provide a welcoming escape from the trials of daily life.

Many people who have stayed here report feeling at home as soon as they step onto the resort grounds, yet they also feel transported to another era — a time when tradition, values, and community played a pivotal role in daily life.

The Highlands aims to bring the traditions of its past in line with the desires of modern travelers by continually adding amenities that enhance the overall experience at the resort.

With panoramic views of Northern Michigan and a peaceful atmosphere, this resort brings people back time and time again.

Where to Find The Highlands

The Highlands at Harbor Springs is located in the heart of the tiny town of Harbor Springs Michigan, and in many ways, it defines the way of life in the local community.

Most visitors from around Michigan can easily drive to Harbor Springs, but it is conveniently located near several Michigan airports, such as Harbor Springs Municipal Airport, Pellston Regional Airport, and Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport.

History of The Highlands

Before it was a resort, the land that is now The Highlands at Harbor Springs was part of the Harbor Highlands — a ski area that was developed by local businesspeople in the 1950s and showed signs of promise.

When times got tough, however, Boyne Resorts Founder Everett Kircher purchased the land in 1960 and began to develop the resort. It first opened to guests in 1963, and it quickly became known for its luxurious amenities.

The Highlands was the first ski resort to have triple chairlifts, and it also boasted a fine dining room, swimming pool, and cocktail lounge. Soon, it became the place to be seen in Northern Michigan.

Throughout the decades, The Highlands has undergone multiple facelifts — but the heart of the resort has remained the same. The resort remains owned and operated by the Kircher family, giving guests the local flavor that they have long enjoyed and the experience that they expect.

Iconic Features & Things to Know

  • The Highlands is a well-known ski resort with over 435 acres of terrain, 10 chair lifts, and 53 ski runs.
  • The resort boasts four award-winning golf courses, making it Michigan’s premier golf destination.
  • The Highlands is a four-season resort, so there’s really never a lull in crowds. However, seasonal packages allow guests to maximize their time at the resort no matter when they choose to visit.
The Highlands-Harbor Springs-Evan_Schiller_Photography
Donald Ross Memorial- The Highlands | photo via evan_schiller_photography

Things to Do at The Highlands at Harbor Springs

The owners of The Highlands have taken great care to ensure that guests have plenty of ways to experience the resort landscape. Because of that, many people never leave the resort grounds once they arrive. These are just a few of the things that you can do when you stay at The Highlands.

Golf at The Highlands at Harbor Springs

The Highlands is a world-class golf destination, offering guests the opportunity to play a round on one of four courses, which include:

  • Arthur Hills is a legendary course that is considered a bucket-list destination for many Michigan golfers.
  • Donald Ross Memorial is an expertly designed course that is considered a collection of Donald Ross’ greatest ever created holes. Many call it the most satisfying golf course to play in the state.
  • The Heather is famous for being the first resort course in Michigan and is considered one of the finest golf courses in the country. It was the 2018 Michigan Golf Course of the Year and earned recognition around the country as the 2019 National Golf Course of the Year.
  • The Moor is a versatile golf course known for its surprising challenges. Resort guests consider it to be the players’ course, and many opt to play a round of 9 or 18 holes during their stays.
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The Highlands | photo via cronkright_creative

Experience an Up North Adventure at the Resort

While it’s commonly referred to as a resort, you could also call The Highlands an adventure center. Year after year, the resort developers create new and exciting experiences for guests to enjoy. Some of the adventurous experiences that you can book during your stay include:

  • Horseback riding
  • Zip line adventures
  • Segway tours
  • Disc golf
  • Mountain biking
  • Meditation and yoga

Relax on a Scenic Chair Lift Ride

If you thought that the innovative ski lifts at The Highlands at Harbor Springs primarily served a utilitarian purpose, you would be wrong. In fact, the ski lifts are so much more than just a way to get up and down the slopes.

During the spring, summer, and fall, The Highlands operates iconic chair lifts to give visitors unparalleled views of the surrounding region from above. Chair lift rides are particularly popular during the fall when the artistic display of colors seems to be painted directly onto the Northern Michigan landscape.

If you are staying at the resort, you will have the opportunity to ride the chair lift for free. On the other hand, non-resort guests can purchase tickets for a fee.

Ski the Slopes at The Highlands at Harbor Springs

Skiing has long defined the way of life at The Highlands. In fact, the sport was the entire reason that the resort came to be. Today, it’s one of the most beloved ski destinations in Michigan.

During the winter, guests come from across the country to enjoy the downhill slopes. Runs are available for skiers of all ages and skill levels, making this a perfect, family-friendly destination.

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The Highlands | photo via critter4750

Dine at a Fabulous Resort Restaurant

The on-site restaurants at The Highlands at Harbor Springs are an experience in and of themselves. They are known for serving delicious meals handcrafted by local chefs, and they all feature an unbeatable atmosphere.

Popular dining locations at the resort include the Main Dining Room, which boasts mountainside views, and North Peak, which is perched high on the slopes and features gorgeous views of Mackinac Bridge.

The Highlands-Harbor Springs
The Highlands | photo via beklynns

Things to Do Near The Highlands at Harbor Springs

It may be tempting to stay on the resort property for the duration of your Up North getaway, but you should know that The Highlands is centrally located to some of Northern Michigan’s other popular destinations. Here are a few things to do near the resort:

The Highlands-Harbor Springs
The Highlands | photo via zacharydrobertson

FAQs About The Highlands at Harbor Springs

Which is bigger: Boyne Mountain or The Highlands?

The Highlands at Harbor Springs is the largest ski resort in Michigan, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy three terrain parks and 55 downhill slopes.

Who owns The Highlands?

The Highlands at Harbor Springs is a family-owned resort that is currently being run by the Kircher family. The entire operation relies on a network of more than 11,000 employees to keep things running smoothly.

Is The Highlands at Harbor Springs accessible?

The Highlands at Harbor Springs is an accessible resort that offers extensive facilities for guests with additional needs, including mobility-friendly rooms, wheelchair-accessible amenities, and more.

Guests who have specific needs or requests are encouraged to contact the resort directly to discuss additional accommodations.

Is there parking at The Highlands at Harbor Springs?

Guests who are staying at The Highlands at Harbor Springs enjoy free on-site parking during their stay.

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The Highlands | photo via

Escape to The Highlands at Harbor Springs Today

The Highlands is the closest thing to an all-inclusive resort in Michigan. Located in the heart of Michigan’s premier resort town, which has long been known as a place to find relaxation and rejuvenation, The Highlands is the perfect getaway for people of all ages.

Get one step closer to total peace and relaxation — book your stay at The Highlands at Harbor Springs today.

One Comment

  1. We have stayed at the Highlands about 9 times when we participate in a softball tournament in Petoskey each summer. The service has always been impeccable and the girls love the pools and hot tubs. I like how they are renovating and I hope it continues with all the guest rooms.

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