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From “best small beach town” to “most beautiful town in the world,” there’s a reason people love heading north to this Northern Michigan town. Combining a bustling downtown scene with quaint surrounding countryside featuring lakes and trails, Traverse City truly has something to offer everyone.

It’s also one of the reasons Grand Traverse Resort and Spa guests love to stay with us. Our resort blends the convenience of downtown fun (just a short drive away) with the tranquility of countryside views right out our doors.

Whether you’ve got the whole family in tow, you’re here with friends, or up with your partner, we promise you’ll find yourselves plenty of outside adventures in the summer!

The Best Traverse City Has to Offer

Everyone’s vacation takes a different style—some travelers like to make a plan and see as much as they can, while other prefer to take things as they come, with minimal planning.No matter the pace you embrace, our tips below will get you started in the right direction.

What’s a visit to Traverse City without quality time on the water? Have fun while you keep cool:

  • A kayak brewery tour down the Boardman River is great way to taste local beers while getting a unique glimpse of the city from this iconic, easy-flowing river.
  • For those with kids or who would rather get out of the town, the Crystal River and Platte River both offer easy, family-friendly floats with gear rentals and shuttle service back to where you started.
  • Looking for the perfect way to end the night? A cruise of West Bay on the Nauti-Cat will give you the best view of the sunset from the deck of this catamaran.

If you’re the type that likes to keep an open schedule, a drive through the county is a great place to start:

Old Mission Peninsula

The tip of Old Mission Peninsula is just a 30-minute drive from the resort. The main road (Center Rd.) will take you past scenic turnouts and wineries. Don’t forget to grab a few snacks at the historic Old Mission General Store. The creaking wood floors and large glass candy jars bring the nostalgia and charm of a time gone by.

Once you’re finished, head just down the road to Haserot Beach for a quick dip in the upper East Bay and some time in the sun. If you want a short hike, head to Old Mission State Park or explore the coastline and historic lighthouse at Lighthouse Park. On your way home, don’t be afraid to turn on a seasonal dirt road to appreciate the historic farmland, barns, and fruit trees tucked into the rolling hills along the peninsula.

Leelanau Peninsula

The tip of Leelanau Peninsula in Northport is about a one-hour drive from Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. If you plan on spending time in this famously scenic area, we suggest you set the whole day aside, since there are many different routes to explore and places to see.

This area is home to Leelanau Conservancy hiking areas, farm stands with fresh produce, and scenic views. The small towns of Empire, Glen Arbor, Leland, and Northport have shops, beaches, and dining options you’re looking for.  

We can’t write about the Leelanau Peninsula without mentioning Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This park is located at the southern end of the peninsula on the west coast. Esch Beach, Alligator Hill, and Platte River Point are all great areas to get acquainted with the park’s natural beauty. Once you reach the tip of the peninsula (beyond trendy Northport), we recommend checking out Leelanau State Park for even more hiking and swimming opportunities.

Looking for a rush? These activities will get your heart racing and are fun for the whole family:

Zip Line Tour

Zip through a canopy of hardwoods going up to 35 miles per hour with Mt. Holiday’s zip line tours. Mt. Holiday is just 10 minutes down the road from Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, and their zip line course is perfect for an adventurous couple or family.

Catch Dinner

Lake Michigan supports a strong and healthy commercial fishing industry, and hiring a fishing charter is one of the best ways to experience Lake Michigan. What better way to get up and close to the lake than to catch your own dinner?

Rent a Kayak, SUP, or Bike

With several local businesses offering affordable and convenient rental options, a day spent exploring this area from a kayak, SUP, or bike is time well spent. The team at Blue Sky Rentals is happy to help! For biking, hop on the Tart Tail for safe and easy access to areas all around town and even Suttons Bay. You can also put in at Clinch Park for a mellow paddle along the downtown Traverse City coastline.

Your Adventure Hub

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is the perfect place to return after a day of touring the area. We also have plenty of on-site activities to keep you busy during your stay. When you’re ready to head north, book a room online or give us a call at 800-236-1577 for more information.

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Instant Gratification

HydraFacial delivers results on first treatment

By Cymbre Foster

When Spa Grand Traverse cosmetologist Sandra Umstead received her first HydraFacial, the results were so amazing that she knew it was something she wanted her clients to experience as well.  
HydraFacial is a patented technology that marries a deeply cleansing facial treatment with relaxation.
“After just one visit, this medical-grade procedure leaves the skin with improved clarity, texture, and tone,” Umstead says.
I admit I needed convincing that it could be that good when I arrived at the spa for my first HydraFacial. Truth be told, I’d rather spend my money on a new pair of shoes than skin care, and I didn’t think she would be able to do that much with my neglected, sun-damaged, slightly saggy, middle-aged skin.
Was I ever wrong.

Instant Results
A HydraFacial is a three-part treatment that begins with cleansing that removes dead skin cells and excess oil from the skin. Next, salicylic and glycolic acids are applied to break up any dirt and oil that's clogging pores. Then the HydraPeel Tip is used to painlessly suction out blackheads, dirt, oil, and impurities, while hydrating, plumping, and nourishing serums are simultaneously applied to the skin.
“No more manual extractions that may leave the skin blotchy and inflamed,” Umstead says. “The powerful serums break it all down, allowing the vacuum to pull it all up.”  
The best part is that after just one HydraFacial, you will see immediate results. I certainly did.
“This treatment satisfies our need for instant gratification, so clients can’t wait for the next treatment,” Umstead says.
Corrine Olson is one of those clients.
“My favorite facial at the spa is the HydraFacial,” she says. “It’s the first time I can say that I noticed results.”
Each treatment starts with before and after photos.
“We have the ability to compare them side by side after your treatment,” Umstead explains. “This allows us to better track your progress every time you come in.”
For many clients, seeing those results is motivation not just to come back, but also to continue better skin-care regimens at home.
Umstead pulled up my pictures, and, to my surprise, I had fewer lines on my face and my skin was truly hydrated — literally glowing, in fact.

Part of a Skin-Care Routine
Since Umstead has consistently treated herself to HydraFacials, she no longer needs to wear makeup. Her skin did look flawless.
For long-term benefits and correction purposes, Umstead recommends treatments every six weeks. For maintenance, she suggests having one each season.
“This treatment is fairly active, and I like to think of it as waking up the skin,” she says.
“It’s invigorating and satisfying in many ways, which keeps clients coming back for more.”
When a friend commented on how nice my skin looked the day after my HydraFacial, I had to agree.
“You will leave with your skin glowing, looking healthy, hydrated, and with overall better skin tone,” Olson says. “I plan on keeping this as part of my skin-care routine.”

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