Stunning views of Lake Michigan reward adventure-seekers in Traverse City during an active Midwest weekend getaway.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Michigan Traverse City
Sleeping Bear Dunes
| Credit: Tony Demin

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. 

Traverse City Boardman River paddleboarding
Credit: Tony Demin

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.

| Credit: Kevin J Miyazaki/Redux

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.

The Inn at Black Star Farms
Inn at Black Star Farm
| Credit: Tony Demin

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.

Cherry Republic
Cherry Republic

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. 

Tall ship Manitou

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.