Originally known as “Barnes”, Gaylord was established in the 1870s with the arrival of the Jackson, Lansing, and Saginaw Railroads. In recent years, it has developed into an alpine village, with Tyrolean-style architectural elements in its downtown core. Gaylord’s abundant winter snowfall attracts skiers and snowboarders to the surrounding resorts.
Things to do in Gaylord
Travelling with kids? Don’t miss the Call of the Wild Museum, which features life-like displays of North American animals, such as white-tailed deer, moose and black bears. In addition to the taxidermied animals, there are beautiful, hand-painted backdrops complete with authentic sound effects. Adjacent is Bavarian Falls Park, where you’ll find a miniature golf course and a go-karting track.
For a real-life wildlife experience, head to Gaylord's City Elk Park, where you can observe wild elk from the comfort of your car. The resident herd was established in the late 1980s with just three elk and has grown to around 40 today. Particularly impressive are the bulls with their massive horns, some of which weigh over 350 kilograms.
Several of Gaylord’s old railway tracks have been transformed into recreational trails that are accessible to cyclists in the summer months and snowmobiles in the winter. Connecting to Mackinaw City is the North Central State Trail, which takes in the Sturgeon River Valley and Mullet Lake. Gaylord also serves as a gateway to two of Michigan’s top cross-country skiing destinations, the Mason Tract Pathway and Hartwick Pines State Park Trails.
Getting around Gaylord
Gaylord is just over an hour’s drive from Cherry Capital Airport, which has seasonal flights to destinations across the United States. Buses connect from towns and cities throughout Michigan to Gaylord while local services traverse the city. Renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around the area.