By Brad MacDonald | MLive Media Group

Bleisure — merging business and leisure — is the new hybrid buzzword capturing how many people are working and traveling. This trendy portmanteau demonstrates changes to how we work and travel, thanks to technological advances and a pandemic that revealed the possibility to seamlessly work away from the office.

Some industry experts predict that more than one in three business travelers will add a leisure component to their business trips this year. An industry outlook report from Deloitte also says people with intent to fit work into their travel planned to vacation twice as often as those who sought time to unplug.

Bleisure travel can mean attending a conference and sticking around for a few days to explore the area, a workplace looking for a location to host team-building activities or becoming a digital nomad and working on the road.

For employers and employees seeking bleisure in Michigan, Mt. Pleasant features a resume that’s perfect for the job. Its central location means it can be a hub to gather from all directions in the state. Bleisure travelers will intrinsically fit in Mt. Pleasant, as it’s already an ideal spot for group activities in general.

While Soaring Eagle Casino and Central Michigan University are staples in the area and offer a slew of activities and events, let’s examine what else can fill your Mt. Pleasant group itinerary. Whether traveling for bleisure or gathering a group for some general fun, the area provides big city amenities with small town service and outdoors where you can experience adventure by choice or by chance.


Bucks Run

Golf is likely the activity most associated with business dealings so if it’s a priority for you, good news: the Mt. Pleasant area offers everything from championship links to relaxed, “Up-north” styles of golf.

“We have 13 golf courses within a half hour of the Mt. Pleasant area,” said Chris Rowley, executive director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The most popular courses are PohlCat and Bucks Run.”

Both Bucks Run and PohlCat are award-winning courses with championship-style play. Buck’s Run rests upon 290 acres of verdant bentgrass. Here, you will also find The Bucks Run Putting Island, a unique 18-hole, real-grass course in the middle of a large lake — and it was recently named “Best New Amenity” by Great Lakes Golf Magazine. Pohlcat is nestled along the Chippewa River, merging captivating northern Michigan scenery with a links-style course feel.

Learn more about golfing in the Mt. Pleasant area.

Chippewa River

Chippewa River

And speaking of the Chippewa River, this waterway offers much more than admiration while golfing. This 91-mile long river flows through Mt. Pleasant and offers numerous methods to leverage it for some soaking good times.

“A lot of people know about the river but may not utilize it for activity,” said Rowley. “They don’t realize how many things you can rent. And the outfitters are easy to find.”

Popular activities include tubing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and swimming. The river flows fairly slow and sees little to no rapids. Weaving through the parks system, wooded areas and neighborhoods, it provides a relaxing way for your group to spend time outdoors.

Learn more about Chippewa River activities.


Deerfield Park Suspension Bridge

If you prefer to stick to dry land when enjoying the outdoors, the Mt. Pleasant area features more than 1,000 acres of parkland and 18 preserves to explore.

“We have a great park system to stretch your legs in,” Rowley said. “I don’t know if people think of parks when they think of Mt. Pleasant. It’s like a hidden gem.”

Deerfield Nature Park was even declared Pure Michigan’s most beautiful place in Isabella County. At 591 acres, this park features eight miles of trails, two disc golf courses, picturesque walking bridges over the Chippewa River, camping opportunities, multiple picnic areas and much more. If you’re in a passionate group of outdoor recreationists, this is a must-visit park.

Learn more about outdoor adventures in Mt. Pleasant parks.


For Arts Sake Rage Room

Downtown Mt. Pleasant is also somewhat a hidden gem of itself. Nearly 100 businesses line historic streets in the heart of city, featuring everything from art galleries to specialty shops.

A recent addition downtown is an art therapy space, the “Rage Room,” at For Art’s Sake. Here, you can discover your inner artist — even if you don’t consider yourself artistic — through splatter paint projects or by launching some paint-filled glass bottles at the wall or a canvas.

Art Reach of Mid-Michigan is another artsy-imbued adventure to have in the downtown area. This arts organization features private party opportunities where you can undergo a three-hour, step-by-step painting instruction as you socialize and create.

Learn more about downtown Mt. Pleasant amenities.

Group Dining

Hunters Ale House Band

Of course, after a day of activity, it helps to unwind and cheers to all the memories that were made with your group. The area boasts several spots to accommodate fun for your group into the evening hours. Some establishments, such as Hunter’s Ale House, Shepherd Bar and The Brass, offer private spaces available to rent out. You’ll also find many establishments that offer live music, karaoke and trivia.

Learn more about group dining in Mt. Pleasant.

All this and more supports why when a group is involved you should “meet Mt. Pleasant.” Here, you can relax, explore and unplug — but then also plug back in when it’s time to answer some emails.

“I think Mt. Pleasant is a great gathering place with its location in the center of the state,” said Rowley. “It’s perfect whether you are here for a meeting or gathering friends from around the state for a celebration. There’s plenty to do and it’s easy to get to.”

Visit to learn more about the area and plan a trip.