Traverse City Hotels
Traverse City Hotels, and other accommodations, offer approximately 5000 guest rooms in the area, including full-service resorts to family-owned and operated motels, condominiums, bed and breakfast inns, bayside homes, and rustic cottages. 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. You can also fly into The Cherry Capital Airport on a non-stop flight from Detroit, Minneapolis, and Chicago. Seasonal non-stop flights are offered from Denver, Dallas, Cincinnati, and New York.
What To Do
Our first stop on this tour is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, with sand dunes of over four hundred feet high, and sensational views of Lake Michigan. At the dunes, you can take a hike in your bare feet, or scout out a few biking trails. You can swim, picnic, canoe, kayak, or even spend the day tubing. In the winter, you can strap on your snowshoes, or go cross-country, or downhill skiing. The Sleeping Bear Dunes, on its own, offers days of potential fun.
If you love all the outdoor recreational activities offered at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Traverse City offers so many more with the Traverse Area Recreational and Transportation Trails (TART). On these trails, you can ride your bike, jog, or rollerblade over sixty miles of either dirt or paved trails.
When you need a little break from the trails, you can make a quick stop at one of the various microbreweries or quaint cafes along the paths. The longest trail, Sleeping Bear Heritage, is over twenty-seven miles long and connects the major parks with the local communities.
If your idea of a great day involves water, Traverse City has you covered as well. You can go for a swim on the sugar-sand beaches and crystal blue waters of the area, catch a few fish, or even take a cruise.
You might also want to visit The Mission Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse was in operation from 1870 to 1933 and is now open to tourists who can climb to its top and view Lake Michigan and its shores. You will also enjoy the scenic 19-mile drive to its location through cherry orchards and vineyards.
Traverse City Tall Ship Company offers sailing trips on Grand Traverse Bay on their replica vessels. The Manitou is modeled after a 19th-century cargo schooner and is 114 feet long with a 59-passenger capacity. 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. From purchasing the right equipment to scuba diving instruction, advanced scuba specialization, to local and international diving trips, Scuba North has you covered.
Maybe you are a land-lover. In that case, did we mention Traverse City is known as the summer golf capital of America? You can find over thirty public and championship private golf courses here with stunning backdrops of woods, water, and hills. In fact, Golf Magazine selected Traverse City as one of the top six golf destinations in the country with courses designed by Palmer, Weiskopf, and Nicklaus to name a few.
Traverse City also celebrates many aspects of life with its robust festival and event schedule. The National Cherry Festival takes place in the first full week of July and attracts nearly 500,000 visitors annually. Some other fun festivals and events include Traverse City Beer Week, the Traverse City Film Festival, the Winter Comedy Festival, and A Taste of Traverse City.
What to Eat
By now, you have surely worked up an appetite with all this activity! In Traverse City, farm-to-table dining is de rigueur with Michigan coming in second only to California as the most agriculturally diverse state in the US. Your inner foodie is 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. The Little Fleet is an outdoor, locally-run, food truck caravan with a bar, offering diverse fare like barbecue, grilled cheese, vegetarian and gluten-free options, smoothies, and Portugese food. 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. You can grab a hand-pattied hamburger, freshly-cut fries, or even a rootbeer float, and dine on their outdoor patio, or inside their relaxed and comfortable digs.
Maybe you are looking for a more upscale experience with a seven-course tasting menu — fancy pants! In that case, you will definitely want to check out The Cook’s House. This cozy, fine-dining establishment is located on Wellington Street and offers sustainable fare like lake trout roasted in brown butter or flat iron steak with parsnip puree.
If you like contemporary Italian fare, make sure to book a meal at Sorellina, located on East Front Street. You can dine on delicious options like Gnocchi ala Bolognese or Gamberetti (Shrimp in White Wine), and take advantage of their extensive wine list
If you are craving something a little sweet, Moomers Homemade Ice Cream is located minutes away from downtown Traverse City. 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. The Traverse City wine coast is made up of about 50 different wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms in the area. These winemakers have put Traverse City on a lot of lists including The Travel Channel’s Ten Best Cities for Wine Snobs. With ideal temperatures for cultivating grapes, this area has produced many award-winning pours.
Chateau Grand Traverse Winery is a more than worthy stop for wine lovers when touring the area. Chateau Grand Traverse, located on the Old Mission Peninsula, is an estate winery. 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. You can partake in a wine tour or tasting during your visit, and shop for your favorite wines.
Another family-owned and operated winery are Brys Estate Vineyards and Winery. Also located on the Old Mission Peninsula, the vineyard and winery are situated on an 1890s homestead. The owners have transformed old buildings into a fabulous brick and mahogany tasting room. 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.
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.
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 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 is 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.
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 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 to 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. Each has a stunning view of the beautiful East Grand Traverse Bay. All units come equipped with a full kitchen, 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. There is also a washer and dryer in some rooms. Rooms come with central air and heat as well. 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. 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!