As much as I love to travel and explore new destinations, I also have those select few places that keep me coming back again and again. Northern Michigan is definitely one of those and is a beautiful area to explore no matter the season. We love Traverse City, Michigan for so many reasons and make it a goal to visit at least once every summer. Since we'd been there multiple times before, the focus of this trip was to discover new restaurants and wineries which made it seem like it was our first time visiting all over again.
You can discover my other Traverse City guides here:
Where to Stay:
We've stayed somewhere different each time we visited based on our specific needs for the trip (quick overnight stay when just passing through, pet-friendly for Wrigley, etc.) This trip we decided on Bayshore Resort which is located less than a mile off of Front Street and situated on it's own private beach area with lounge chairs and a variety of water sport rental options including SUPs and jet skis. Since Traverse City is situated on the Grand Traverse Bay and not Lake Michigan, beaches can be a bit hard to come by so it was nice to be able to walk right out onto the sandy shores. Like most lodging facilities, Bayshore Resort had made several changes during COVID-19 to ensure guest safety including no housekeeping or shuttle downtown and grab and go breakfast instead of their typical buffet. Overall, we would definitely stay here again as it offered everything we needed in a hotel at an affordable price. Keep in mind, during peak summer season lodging prices can get pretty pricey in this area so if you're trying to save money consider visiting in early spring/summer.
With around 40 different wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms to choose from, you simply can't visit Traverse City without making a least a few wine tasting stops. There are two primary regions to explore - Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula - making it easy to hop from one winery to the next while enjoying picturesque views along the way. Plan to choose your top two or three locations for each peninsula so you have time to enjoy each stop and don't feel rushed to make it to all of them. We will typically plan one day on each peninsula and enjoy the other sites to see along the way. If you don't feel like driving yourself, there are plenty of transportation options to choose from including tour buses or designated drivers who will drive your car for you. You can also rent a bike and pedal from one stop to the next.
The stops we made on this trip were:
If you're anything like me, you love a good mural find on your travels. Traverse City has some great ones that have popped up recently - most within walking distance while exploring Front Street.
Sleeping Bear Dunes:
Located about 30 minutes outside of Traverse City, we typically will make this the first stop of our trip on the way in to town or the last stop on the way home. The National Lakeshore encompasses a 35 mile stretch along the Lake Michigan coast line. It is truly a can't-miss natural wonder when visiting Northern Michigan offering a range of landscapes including forests, beaches, and of course the star of the show - towering sand dune formations. For this trip we wanted to check out a hike we'd never done before at Pyramid Point. Click here for my list of 5 of the best hikes along at Sleeping Bear.
The 2.7 mile loop trail winds through Beech-maple forest and fields with a dune overlook point located only .6 miles from the trailhead. Due to limited time we decided to just hike to the overlook and it was a perfect short adventure which rewarded us with amazing views of the turquoise water. The trailhead is located off Basch Road from Port Oneida Road and there is sign located in the parking lot so you know you're in the right spot (our Google map lead us astray the first time we tried this hike). If you're traveling to the dunes from Traverse City, this is a great first stop of the morning before continuing on M22 through to Glen Arbor.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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