Traverse City, Michigan Travel Guide

Traverse City is surrounded by the gorgeous Grand Traverse Bay and offers visitors a wonderful blend of fun and relaxation. A Traverse City vacation is ideal for those who love to play on the beach, go biking, play golf, and shop. You’ll love the laid back feel of Traverse City while experiencing some amazing adventures. This travel guide will offer many suggestions to help you plan your trip to Traverse City.

What to Do in Traverse City

traverse city vacationsIf you’re looking for a fun beach vacation, then you’ve got to come to Traverse City State park. The park is two miles from downtown and is a popular resort. With 47 completely developed acres, Traverse City State Park features a quarter mile of beaches, 343 sites of trees, and water activities. Many come here to go boating, sailing, fishing, and biking.

Boating and sailing are two of the most popular activities in Traverse City State Park. Take your boat out on Lake Michigan and enjoy feeling the wind in your hair. If you’re really adventurous, hook up some water skis or a tube to have some water fun. On the lake, you’ll also notice beautiful sailboats. You’ll be in awe at the many colorful sails that dot the lake. While you’re out on the water, try a little fishing. You can expect to catch salmon, trout, and pan fish.

When you’ve had enough of the water, get on your bike and head to the paved bike trail. The trail runs east and west, parallel to the park. A bicycle ride is the perfect way to experience the beauty of Traverse City State Park.

For those who would rather relax, bring an umbrella and enjoy sunbathing. In the summer time, the weather is perfect in Traverse City for soaking up some rays. Bring a long a picnic and go for a swim and you’ve got an incredible beach day on your hands.

Traverse City is known as one of America’s premier golf destinations. The courses here have been designed by golf greats such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Weiskopf. Tee off on one of the beautiful courses while enjoying the beauty of Lake Michigan. You’ll soon see why Traverse City Golf Courses are some of the best in the United States.

A trip to Traverse City would be incomplete without visiting the Traverse City Opera House. The Opera House is the oldest of three historic Victorian Opera House in Michigan. The Traverse City Opera House has been completely restored and is open to the public. Unique national, international, local and regional shows are performed at the Opera House. There are also private and public educational opportunities here.

While in Traverse City, why not plan a wedding? Traverse City weddings are romantic and beautiful with Lake Michigan as the back drop. Traverse City is home to romantic courtyard chapels, gorgeous gardens, and stone archways that provide the setting for your perfect wedding. There are 19 different wedding locations in the area. Plus, Traverse City weddings are affordable, while remaining absolutely beautiful. None of the details are skipped on your special day.

Traverse City has no shortage of activities! You can visit one of the many art galleries, go to a museum, play miniature golf, or ride a restored antique carousel. A leisurely walk through downtown will bring magic to your senses as you take in the scenery and the architecture. There’s so much to experience here.

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What to See in Traverse City

traverse city vacationTraverse City is full of wonderful sites and things to see! On your vacation, take some time to head to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Here you’ll experience incredible views of Lake Michigan from the top of high dunes. There are miles of freshwater beaches, wilderness islands, hiking trails, and historic farmstead. You’re also likely to run into some local wildlife while visiting Sleeping Bear.

Another fun place to visit is the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center. The visitor center is named for the former Michigan senator who helped establish Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Here you can learn about the park, see history exhibits, and learn about the flora in the park. Take in a 15 minutes slide show and check out the incredible hiking trails available.

In the winter, take some time to go to the Traverse City Annual Winter Festival. The festival is four days of winter celebration including, music, food, and fun winter time activities. The Winter Festival is a fun place for kids and adults a like.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Traverse City

Traverse City has many fun places to shop. From quaint shops to giant malls, Traverse City is a shoppers paradise. Explore the shops, buy some homemade fudge, and search for big city bargains.

If you’re in the mood for some small town shopping, head to one of the towns within a short distance from Traverse City. You’ll experience the relaxed atmosphere of a smaller town while finding some great deals on souvenirs, antiques, and other local favories.

If you want to stick to Traverse City, you can shop in downtown and Old Town. You’ll the Cherryland Center, Grand Traverse Mall, Grand Traverse Crossings, and Preferred Outlets. You’ll find many national retails chains, as well as some unique items from independent shops.

Traverse City provides a unique dining experience. While in Traverse City, be sure to visit some of the signature restaurants. Many of the restaurants here are rich in history and offer a wide variety of specialty food. You’ll find everything from seafood to Italian and home-made cooking to chain restaurants. There’s surely something in Traverse City to satisfy your taste buds.

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When to Visit Traverse City

The summer is a great time to come to Traverse City. The average temperature this time of the year is 70 degrees. The weather is perfect for enjoying the beaches and shopping. There are more crowds in the summer time, especially during school breaks.

In the winter, Traverse City gets very cold. The average temperature is 14 degrees. The city gets a lot of snow because of its location by Lake Michigan. The average snow fall is around 28 inches. In the winter, be aware of hazardous road conditions.

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What to Bring on a Traverse City Vacation

If you come in the summer time, be sure to bring your bathing suit! You’ll want to spend plenty of time on the beach and in the water, so a bathing suit is essential. When you’re not on the beach, shorts and flip flops are appropriate. You’ll also want sunscreen, sunglasses, and insect repellant.

In the winter, you’ll definitely want to bring a warm coat. Long pants and sweaters will keep you warm as you go shopping or explore restaurants. Comfortable shoes and warm socks are a good idea as well.

You can bring a nicer outfit for a fancy dinner or night on the town, but it isn’t necessary. You’ll fit in just fine with slacks or jeans in most places around Traverse City.

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Local Services in Traverse City

Traverse City is a larger city with public transportation and modern conveniences. High-speed internet is readily available and you can find most everything you need for your vacation. Grocery stores, post offices, shops, and medical facilities are readily available.

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What to Know About Traverse City

Traverse City is the largest city in Northern Michigan. The population is about 14,532 in the city and 142,315 in the Traverse City metropolitan area. Traverse City is the “Cherry Capital of the World” with an annual week-long Cherry Festival the first week in July. Traverse City is also produces grapes and is one of the centers of wine production in the Midwest.

Tourism is a major economic source. Freshwater beaches, mild summers, high-class golf courses, and nearby forests are some of the favorite tourist attractions. Traverse City is the second most popular tourist destination in Michigan.

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Getting to Traverse City

You can easily drive to Traverse City. From Cincinnati, it’s a short 7 hour drive. You’re only 5 hours away from Chicago, and 14 hours from New York City.

If you’re flying to Traverse City, you’ll come to the Cherry Capital Airport. The airport services 750 domestic and international flights per day. Cherry Capital is a hub for Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas-Fort Worth. In the summer, non-stop flights come from New York City.

Most major car rental agencies are found at Cherry Capital Airport. You can also get a taxi service of courtesy van to get you into Traverse City. Call to make reservations for the courtesy vans before you arrive at the airport.

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Why Traverse City Vacation Rentals?

Choose to find the best prices for your Traverse City vacation. You’ll find comfortable homes, condos, and beach houses for rent during your stay. offers a better price than most hotels. You’ll be able to have a wonderful vacation without breaking your budget. is especially convenient if you are bringing your family with you to Traverse City.

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