More About Our Area


Otsego County is located in north central lower Michigan approximately 250 miles north of Detroit and approximately 60 miles south of the Mackinac Straits. Gaylord, the largest city in the county, serves as the county seat and is located at the intersection of Interstate 75 and M-32. 


Gaylord Community Schools (GCS) educate most of the city’s children and many others who live throughout Otsego County. GCS has over 3,000 students and employs over 400 people.  Students attend classes in two K-3 elementary schools, one 4-6 intermediate school, one 7-8 middle school, one 9-12 high school and a Montessori school. There are also a number of parochial schools: Grace Baptist (K-12), Otsego Christian (pre-6th), Trinity Lutheran (pre), St. Mary Catholic (pre-12).


Higher Education

In addition to quality K-12 programs, Gaylord is home to the University Center at Gaylord and M-TEC at Kirtland-Gaylord, programs that provide education from various college degrees to hands-on training for high-skill, high-wage occupations.

The University Center at Gaylord is a partnership of two community colleges and six four-year universities that deliver higher education and help prepare the region’s work force to meet the needs of an ever-changing workplace.  The eight partners include Central Michigan University, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Madonna University, M-TEC at Kirtland Gaylord, Michigan State University, North Central Michigan College and Spring Arbor University.  In addition, life-long learning courses are available through Plante & Moran PLLC, The Learning Center and the Dale Carnegie Institute.

M-TEC programs include carpentry, electrical technology, HVAC/R, machine tool technology, welding and fabrication, industrial maintenance, computer training and computer-aided drafting and practical nursing level one.

Recreational opportunities

Regardless of the seasons, there are many ways Otsego County residents stay active.  Gaylord and Otsego County are famous for the endless outdoor recreation opportunities provided by their pristine natural surroundings.  Springtime invites walks in the woods, or along neighborhood streets, as well as ORV, all-terrain vehicle trails, mushroom hunting  The area is dotted with nearly 100 inland lakes and streams, which in the summer, offer great fresh-water boating, fishing (fly fishing - headwaters of Black, Sturgeon, Pigeon, AuSable, and Manistee rivers), kayaking and canoeing.  Thousands of acres of state forest land offer hiking, mountain biking, picnics, horseback riding, elk viewing, birding and hunting.  The area sports 24 award-winning golf courses with all the amenities.  There are also nearly 15 camps in the area.  Fall months encourage residents and visitors to pick pumpkins or collect colorful leaves.  Winter days provide some of the most popular sports:  snowmobiling (more than 100 miles of trails), skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and skating.  The community owned Otsego County Sportsplex offers year round ice skating and swimming at the indoor facility.    Hockey leagues, swim lessons, skating, water exercise and a walking track are just a few of the opportunities available at the Sportsplex.

Shopping & Restaurants

Aside from the natural beauty and outdoor recreation, life in the Gaylord area includes shopping, the arts, fine restaurants, services and an outstanding health care system. With a unique location on the 45 parallel, the AlpineVillage of Gaylord is truly Northern Michigan’s heart.  Gaylord is unique in its centrality - only minutes from everything you could hope for in the north.  Downtown Gaylord boasts an array of specialty shops, galleries and delightful restaurants. Community theatre is alive and well, and the annual Alpenfest is a community celebration of the area’s Alpine theme. Walking thorough the downtown district offers many specialty shops for the perfect souvenir, local clothiers for the latest fashions or something to wear at the beach.  Check out shops for the latest in sporting goods or camping equipment.   Beyond downtown an array of shops beckon shoppers to national retailers such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Kohl’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Meijer.

Shoppers may want to savor a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants or cafes downtown.  Also available are treats from downtown candy and ice cream shops.

More about Otsego and Montmorency counties: