Top 10 Things for Active Travelers to Do in Traverse City
1. Do the Dunes
Some of the most spectacular scenery in Michigan lies at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (about 26 miles west of Traverse City). Enjoy the views along Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive , then head to The Dune Climb in another area of the lakeshore for a workout.
2) Ride the TART Trail
Stretching 10 miles east-west across Traverse City, TART (Traverse Area Recreation Trail) is one of several paths in a linked system that includes the Boardman Lake Trail along the shores of Boardman Lake and the Leelanau Trail, which extends 17 miles north to Suttons Bay. Jog, bike, skate or stroll past beaches, forests, city streetscapes and residential neighborhoods.
3. Paddle or Pedal
In the repurposed Clinch Park Zoo and Marina on downtown Traverse City's waterfront, The River Outfitters supplies kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, float tubes and bikes for people-powered adventures. One choice: A combo bike and kayak tour that consists of biking the TART Trail and kayaking back.
4. Bike the Countryside
Break up a 10-mile bike ride on picturesque country roads with wine tasting at several of the pretty wineries in Leelanau County or beer sampling at a Traverse City craft brewery. Grand Traverse Bike Tours will arrange your self-guided tour with a bike or e-bike rental, route planning advice, a boxed picnic lunch, pick-up service for any purchases and a souvenir water bottle. Bike and sail, bike and paddle, and guided tours available as well.
5. Sample Fresh Fare
Among the most popular of the region's many farm markets, Gallagher's serves up an authentic country experience along with fresh cherries, baked goods and produce.
6. Relax on the Beach
Sugar-soft sand and soaring dunes along the pristine Lake Michigan waters means the beaches on this 180-mile stretch are sure things. Clinch Park is the biggest and busiest beach, with a trail that connects to downtown, but it's also worth checking out West End for beach volleyball and Bryant Park for sunset viewing.
7. Indulge at Black Star Farms
Part of the booming agritourism market, this destination blends a winery, restaurant, market and hiking area into one incredible attraction. Pamper yourself with an overnight stay in the luxurious inn, or just wander the gorgeous property, taste award-winning wines like the A Capella Pinot Noir and dine on farm to table cuisine.
8. Explore Leelanau State Park
Perched at the northernmost tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, this waterfront park commands 1,300 acres of natural beauty. Enjoy it via rustic campsites, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, fishing areas, picnic facilities and other amenities. Tour Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum in the summer, and watch for endangered piping plover birds on Cathead Bay.
9. Go All-Out Cherry
Cherry Republic runs a satellite store in Traverse City, but for the full-on experience, head 25 miles northwest to the flagship winery-cafe-general store in Glen Arbor. Pace yourself! There's a lot to browse and taste at this three-building facility, including wine, soda, hard cider, salsa, granola, mustard, chocolate and baked goods. Don't even think about leaving without a slice of cherry pie a la mode.
10. Sail Away
Crew members with the Traverse Tall Ship Company invite passengers to try hoisting the sails on the Manitou, a 114-foot replica schooner. But there's plenty of time to relax over snacks and drinks during the two-hour cruise, too.