Traverse City Hotels and lodging options range from full-service resorts to family-owned motels, condominiums, inns, and bayside residences. In addition, you should have no problem finding the lodging option perfectly-suited to your needs.
Traveling to Traverse City is uber-convenient too, with a short four-hour drive from Detroit, or a five-to-six-hour ride from Chicago. Moreover, non-stop flights from Detroit, Minneapolis, and Chicago arrive at The Cherry Capital Airport. In addition, they have several seasonal non-stop flights.
What To Do
Our first trip is the Sleeping Bear Dunes, with its 400-foot-high sand dunes and spectacular views of Lake Michigan. In fact, you can go for a trek in the dunes or seek out some bicycle tracks. Swim, picnic, canoe, kayak, or tube all day. In the winter, you can cross-country or downhill ski on snowshoes. A day in the Sleeping Bear Dunes might be a lot of fun!
Sleeping Bear Dunes
If you like outdoor activities, the Traverse Area Recreational and Transportation Trails in Traverse City provide even more (TART). Moreover, you can ride your bike, jog, or rollerblade over sixty miles of dirt or paved paths on these routes.
You can take a quick break from the trails by stopping at one of the many microbreweries or quaint cafes along the paths. Sleeping Bear Heritage, the longest trail is over 27 miles and connects the major parks with the surrounding communities.
If water is part of your notion of a perfect day, Traverse City has you covered. Likewise, you may go swimming, or take a cruise on the sugar-sand beaches and crystal blue waters of the area.
The Mission Point Lighthouse
You might also want to visit The Mission Point Lighthouse. Visitors can climb to the top of this lighthouse to see views of Lake Michigan and its beaches. Enjoy the picturesque 19-mile trip past cherry orchards and vineyards.
Traverse City Tall Ship Company offers sailing trips on Grand Traverse Bay on their replica vessels. Of course, the Manitou is modeled after a 19th-century cargo schooner and is 114 feet long with a 59-passenger capacity. Furthermore, The Scout is a sailing yacht designed for smaller groups at 38 feet. Manitou sailors can enjoy two-hour cruises, or overnight bed and breakfast sails. Passengers can take four to six-day Fall cruises on the waters of Lake Michigan.
If you are seeking more adventure in the water, you should check out Scuba North. Of course, Scuba North can help you with everything from equipment purchases to local and international diving adventures.
Maybe you are a land-lover. In that case, did we mention Traverse City is known as the summer golf capital of America? In addition, you can find over thirty public and championship private golf courses here with stunning backdrops of woods, water, and hills. There are courses constructed by Palmer, Weiskopf, and Nicklaus, to mention a few.
Traverse City also celebrates many aspects of life with its robust festival and event schedule. For example, the National Cherry Festival takes place the first full week of July and attracts nearly 500,000 visitors annually. Similarly, Traverse City Beer Week, Traverse City Film Festival, Winter Comedy Festival, and Taste of Traverse City are all enjoyable events.
What to Eat
By now, you have surely worked up an appetite with all this activity! As a result, farm-to-table dining has Michigan coming in second to California as the most agriculturally diverse state. Coupled with our inner foodie are going to thank you for visiting and enjoying the Traverse City restaurants.
If you like the food truck vibe, make sure to bring your appetite to The Little Fleet located on Front Street. A similar food truck caravan with a bar, Little Fleet, offers different cuisines such as barbeque, vegetarian, and Portuguese food. Of course, you can also grab an adult beverage at the bar.
Another relaxed and casual dining option is Slabtown Burgers, which is just steps away from the main drag in Traverse City. A similar food truck caravan with a bar, Little Fleet, offers different cuisines such as barbeque, vegetarian, and Portuguese food.
The Cook’s House
Maybe you are looking for a more upscale experience with a seven-course tasting menu — fancy pants! By the same token, you will definitely want to check out The Cook’s House. This quaint fine-dining business is located on Wellington Street and serves sustainable dishes. For example, lake fish cooked in brown butter or flat iron steak with parsnip puree, to name a few examples.
If you like contemporary Italian fare, make sure to book a meal at Sorellina, located on East Front Street. Gnocchi ala Bolognese and Gamberetti (Shrimp in White Wine) are both great choices. You can also take advantage of their wine list.
Moomers Homemade Ice Cream
If you are craving something a little sweet, Moomers Homemade Ice Cream is located minutes away from downtown Traverse City. As a matter of fact, this family-owned business, overlooking the dairy farm, offers 160 flavors of premium ice cream like amaretto cherry, apple crisp, and bear paw.
If the pie is more your sweet-treat style, make sure to check out Grand Traverse Pie company in its original location in downtown Traverse City. In addition to pie flavors like blueberry crumb, lakeshore berry crumb, and chocolate peanut butter, Grand Traverse Pie company also offers a full menu with items like salads, sandwiches, and quiche.
We have spent a lot of time talking about food, but we also need to talk about the unique libations offered in Traverse City. Similarly, the Traverse City wine coast is made up of about 50 different wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms in the area. Correspondingly, these winemakers have put Traverse City on a lot of lists including The Travel Channel’s Ten Best Cities for Wine Snobs. And, with ideal temperatures for cultivating grapes, this area has produced many award-winning pours.
The Chateau Grand Traverse Winery
Chateau Grand Traverse Winery is a more than worthy stop for wine lovers when touring the area. Together with the Chateau Grand Traverse, located on the Old Mission Peninsula, is an estate winery. As a result, this means the grapes are grown on the property. This winery was founded in 1974 by Edward O’Keefe Jr. and offers world-class Riesling wines.
The Inn at Chateau Grand Traverse is located next to the winery and offers six well-appointed guest rooms nestled in a tranquil, wooded setting. In addition, you can partake in a wine tour or tasting during your visit, and shop for your favorite wines.
Other family-owned and operated wineries are Brys Estate Vineyards and Winery. Comparatively located on the Old Mission Peninsula, the vineyard and winery are situated on an 1890s homestead. However, the owners have transformed old buildings into fabulous brick and mahogany tasting rooms. You can enjoy wine on their upper deck overlooking Grand Traverse Bay and the vineyard. Guests can also purchase wine, like their 2018 Merlot reserve by the glass, and enjoy a charcuterie tray.
We have spent a lot of time talking about the wines of Traverse City. We would be simply remiss if we did not talk about the microbreweries of the area. Beer lovers agree that Traverse City’s reputation as a hotbed of craft brewing is completely justified.
The Right Brain Brewery
Right Brain Brewery is a great stop in the SoFo District of downtown Traverse City. Right Brain Brewery focuses on creating culinary-inspired brews with whole and local ingredients. You should try the Black is Beautiful, a slightly sweet imperial stout with chocolate notes. Or, you can try the Thai Peanut, a brown ale with peanut butter, Thai chili, coconut, and lime.
Rare Bird Brewpub also likes to keep the focus local with locally-sourced ingredients (when possible), with a half dozen or so of their own brews, and 35 taps from around Michigan. You can nosh on items like pork belly tacos, or a buddha bowl, in a lively and fun atmosphere, while you are there as well.
Where to Shop
You have tasted the seriously delicious foods of Traverse City, imbibed in the amazing wines and beers of the region, played in every way imaginable, so what’s left? Shopping of course! Traverse City does not disappoint with some unique and eclectic shopping opportunities.
Village at Grand Traverse Commons
Our first stop is The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Developers have repurposed this Victorian-Italianate style building, which was once the home to The Traverse City Hospital and Asylum, into a family destination complete with shopping, dining, and even a tour of the grounds. The shopping experience here is one-of-a-kind with a unique array of local shops and boutiques.
When you are worn out from shopping at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, you can check out Left Foot Charley Winery on-premises for some wine or a hard cider. You can grab a traditional breakfast at Spire Brunch House, or enjoy a Cali bowl or tamales from Spanglish.
Downtown Traverse City offers many unique shopping opportunities as well. You will want to make sure to take a stroll down its tree-lined streets, with its historic buildings, and sidewalk cafes. Check out the Cherry Republic, which offers over 200 cherry-infused products including cherry salsa, cherry jam, and cherry barbecue sauce.
For women’s clothing unique to Traverse City, check out Haystacks. Haystacks are home to the Haystacks brand with apparel cut and sewn in northern Michigan. My Secret Stash is another great place to shop, with products offered by over 100 Michigan designers, makers, crafters, and fine artists. Shop there for apparel, home goods, and so much more.
Where to Stay?
Have we convinced you to book your next trip to Traverse City yet? Are you interested in hearing more about various Traverse City hotels, and other great places to stay? We are going to assume the answer is a resounding “yes.” We need to talk about where you are going to stay. We briefly mentioned The Inn at Chateau Grand Traverse, but there are so many more options for you including wonderful Traverse City hotels on the water.
With the abundance of lodging options, ranging from Traverse City hotels on the beach to private house rentals, the decision can be daunting. We will help you narrow it down, by talking about a few great options here.
For Traverse City hotels on the bay, The Hotel Indigo is one great option. It is located on the West Bay in the waterfront Warehouse District neighborhood. This hotel offers modern guest rooms, a sawmill-inspired rooftop grill, and nearby freshwater beaches.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
For Traverse City hotels on the bay with more of a full resort experience, you may want to check out the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. With several dining options, a full-service spa, a marketplace, and an award-winning golfing experience, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa might be the perfect option.
The Traverse City Holiday Inn West Bay Beach Resort is a nice and affordable option with comfortable rooms, an indoor pool, and quick access to the beach. Along those same lines, you can also check out the Hampton Inn Traverse City. This hotel is near the airport and convenient to Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, and the Traverse City State Park.
For a unique stay, you may also want to check out Traverse City AirBNB Rentals. When you search for an AirBNB rental, you can filter your options based on the type of property you would like, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether it’s on the water, has a pool, is pet-friendly, and much more.
Two of our favorite Traverse City hotels on the water are the North Shore Inn and The Beach Condominiums. We like that these properties are condominium-style units, equipped with everything you need to make your stay enjoyable and to take full advantage of the area.
The North Shore Inn
The North Shore Inn is located at the shallow end of the East Bay, four miles east of downtown Traverse City. North Shore Inn is on the spectacular Miracle Mile, with a beautiful beachfront setting, and it’s convenient for dining, shopping, golf, snowmobiling, skiing, and two nearby casinos.
There are 24 condominium-style units at this property that are roomy, and comfortable with a full kitchen, and laundry facilities on-premises. The North Shore Inn also offers a heated pool in the summer and its own private sandy beach.
For more Traverse City Hotels on the beach, The Beach Condominiums offers 30 one-bedroom units on three separate floors — fully accessible by elevator. In the same way, each has a stunning view of the beautiful East Grand Traverse Bay. Equally important, all units come equipped with a full kitchen, a private bedroom, and a whirlpool bath.
Guests can enjoy the large living area, outdoor balcony, daily housekeeping, boat launch facility, and a championship golf course nearby. Also, there is also a washer and dryer in some rooms. Rooms come with central air and heat as well. Additionally, The Beach Condominiums are located just four miles east of downtown Traverse City, making it super convenient to all Traverse City has to offer as well.
Thank you for taking this tour of Traverse City with us. As a result, we have now talked about what to do, what to eat, where to shop, and where to stay in Traverse City. Hopefully, you are now fully prepared to plan your next vacation in Traverse City, and see for yourself why this area is considered the jewel of Michigan. We will see you soon!