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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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Jim Beam Family of Bourbons Pairing Dinner

March 24, 2023

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VIP Wine and Spa with Brys Estate

April 7-9, 2023

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June 10-11, 2023

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Traverse Wine Coast Weekend

May 12-14, 2023

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