When you have the time to make the most of an exciting getaway, picking a destination that pairs fantastic scenery, amazing options for fun, and versatile vistas to enjoy too can make all the difference. For those who are craving time spent on the shorelines and could stand to match that with shopping, dining, and exploring in abundance, Traverse City, Michigan is a great place to find yourself.
While every season offers up its advantages to travel to Traverse City, there’s something exceptional about a summer or fall venture this way when the weather and vibrant atmosphere tend to be in full swing! Whether you’re one for outdoor adventure, can’t wait to relax on the sand, or have it in mind to make the most of a trip that combines all discoveries possible, Traverse City is waiting to provide you with a one-of-a-kind stay! The following are just a few of the many summer and fall activities in Traverse City that you’ll want to make sure define your getaway this year.
What to Do While You’re Here: From Shopping to Wineries and Breweries
A trip to Traverse City tends to be dominated by time at or on the water with good reason. Its lakeside location makes Traverse City an eye-catching and exciting destination to explore when you can’t wait to commune with nature. That said, it’s also a place that’s packed with opportunities in the way of shopping and sipping away a fantastic afternoon or two. When you’re looking for the best of both activities, there is no shortage of options to choose from.
The Mecca of shopping in Traverse City begins on Front Street without question. This dynamic destination is a haven of options when it comes to a combination of big-name and boutique storefronts alike. While the purchasing potential is phenomenal, Front Street is just as appealing to those who are in the mood to window shop their way through a day.
While the products available to purchase promise to be intriguing on Front Street, there’s a lot to be said for the ambiance struck here as well. As you pop in and out of shops, it’s easy to get pulled in by the charm. This street features brick walkways and showcases a variety of Victorian building facades that are designed to be admired. Lined with trees and bustling with activity, Front Street is the perfect addition to the downtown shopping scene that keeps consumers occupied for hours at a time! Looking for something really specific? It’s likely that Front Street has it. This area is known for its apparel and home goods stops as well as its consignment stores, book shops, jewelry stores, and even its cheese hub!
When all of that shopping has left you looking forward to a tasty experience paired with a pristine view, guests to Traverse City are often thrilled to learn that the lush landscape here offers itself up nicely to thriving wineries throughout. While there are plenty to choose from that are worth your while, a tasting session at Black Star Farms Old Mission is a must. This award-winning stop is a sensational place to book a tasting session with family and friends and settle into beautiful surroundings to enjoy some of the best dry Riesling around! Of course, red, rose, dessert, and white wines are also available to savor while you’re here and the one you fall in love with can be purchased in a bottle to go. Reaping the benefits of the Old Mission Peninsula soil, this winery has continued to capture the minds, imaginations, and tastebuds of those who stop by since first opening its doors in 1998.
While the wine scene has long been a thriving one in Traverse City, the craft brew scene has also found momentum in recent years and a great place to bring that excitement and flavor to life is at the Acoustic Tap Room while you’re in town. Open seven days a week, this colorful and savory destination is found at 119 N. Maple and is the perfect place to find mead, hard ciders, craft brews, ciders, and snacks whenever you have a craving to curb! The laid-back atmosphere at Acoustic Tap Room is endlessly inviting and guests will find that the vibrant wall art is a great pairing with whatever beverage graces their glass. Much as the name of this craft brew stop indicates, Acoustic Tap Room is also a place to enjoy live music almost every day of the week, so get ready to indulge your creativity, artistic leanings, and love for great brews while you’re here!
Outdoor Adventure in Traverse City
Taking time to make the most of the great outdoors is an absolute must when your travel plans bring you to Traverse City in the summer or fall. While there is a long list of places to check out during your explorations of Michigan summer activities, Sleeping Bear Dunes should definitely top the itinerary. Set aside a day to explore this scenic and inspiring locale which encompasses more than 64 miles of shoreline. Sleeping Bear Dunes offers up a collection of forested and lush terrain paired with beautiful freshwater beaches to enjoy. It’s also home to a wide variety of trails that take visitors around the massive dunes from which the destination gets its name. Sleeping Bear Dune is a delightful place to spend a day admiring nature, but it’s also a good spot to come if you have a passion for capturing amazing colors and wildlife on film.
For those travelers that prefer to explore their summer or fall vacation destinations on two wheels, Traverse City is proud to provide access to some amazing trails to follow while you’re in town. Among them, Boardman Lake Trail promises to provide just the right challenge and adventure your trip needs! This heavily wooded route follows Boardman Lake and offers cyclists two miles of route to relish that alternates between a paved pathway and crushed limestone surfacing. Lake views, a sense of tranquility and options to take the trail at your own pace make this a great place to begin your cycling adventures in Traverse City.
If you find that you’re a summer or fall Traverse City adventurer that prefers to lace up their boots and explore trails on two feet instead, heading towards Miller Creek Nature Preserve is bound to be a highlight of your stay. Covering 66 acres of land, this area of protected nature is home to meadows, swamps, urban landscapes, and hiking trails alike that give you a taste of it all!
For all of the outdoor fun that Traverse City parks, hiking trails, and biking trails provide, for many travelers that come this way, it’s hard to imagine a stay without time in the fresh air on the greens! Fortunately, Traverse City is also known for its collection of exciting and beautiful golf courses to enjoy, making it a haven of potential for those with a passion for fun on the fairways. Hills, lakes, and lush greenery are all defining features of a stop at Bay Meadows Family Golf Course in Traverse City. Conveniently located on Bay Meadows Drive, this golf course features a family-friendly golf experience that everyone can enjoy while pairing it with spectacular views, meticulously maintained landscapes.
The Best of Beaches and On-The-Water Fun
Enjoying time in Traverse City in the summer or fall offers up just the right weather opportunities to get out and make the most of a beach day or two while you’re here. The lakeside locale provides an abundance of summer and fall activities in Traverse City in the way of shoreline fun, but West End Beach tends to be a fan-favorite among families. This inviting beach park has convenient parking options and on-site restrooms as well as a dog-friendly section at the far west end for those who are headed to Traverse City with a canine companion in tow.
No matter what beach you land at, getting out on the waves is key to fun in the summer and one of the best ways to pair the view with an on-the-water adventure is to rent a stand-up paddleboard while you’re in town. Paddle TC situated right in the heart of Clinch Park is the perfect place to find a wide variety of stand-up paddleboards that fit your preferences and needs. Paddleboards can easily be rented by the hour or by the day and if you’re looking for more for a guided experience, stand-up paddleboard as well as kayak tours are available to participate in upon request.
If you’re a Traverse City visitor who is looking to add a bit of speed into your on-the-water experience while you’re here, head over to Sail & Power Boat Rental on Front Street and reserve a vessel that makes the most of every watery moment you have available. Life vests and all safety equipment are provided when you rent with this renowned recreation provider who has been serving the greater Traverse City area since 1987. With more than 40 pontoon boats, jet skis, ski boats, and sailboats to their name, Sail & Power Boat Rental promises to be a one-stop-shop for outdoor fun.
When it comes to outdoor fun and excitement, Traverse City is brimming over with opportunity, but it’s just as much a destination for the traveler with a heart for pursuing the past and connecting with history wherever possible. Maritime history plays a major role in Traverse City’s story thanks to its location, and when you’re looking to gain more insight into this aspect of your visit, a stop at Fox Island Lighthouse is sure to please. While Fox Island Lighthouse is situated within Leelanau County on an island all its own, Mission Point Lighthouse can be easily accessed right on the end of Old Mission Point. Dating back to 1870, this lighthouse is a great place to capture a photo, admire the architecture, or simply appreciate a place where history still thrives in the modern world.
Things to Do with the Kids
Traverse City is certainly a vacation destination for everyone, but those traveling this way with little ones in tow in the summer and fall will find it’s particularly appealing to adventurers of all ages and attention spans! If you’re looking for something to do that’s creative, engaging, and offers up a unique souvenir to commemorate your stay, head over to Handz On Art with the kids at least once. This paint-your-own-pottery stop is located on Hall Street and is a great place to let imaginations run free. Kids can pick and choose their own pottery to paint and colors to cover it in, resulting in one-of-a-kind works of art that are sure to inspire young minds! As an added convenience, the team at Handz On Art can even ship pottery to your home if you don’t want to risk having it broken during the journey back.
If you find yourself in Traverse City on a particularly warm summer’s day, head over to Centre Ice Arena and enjoy a skate session that’s cool, refreshing, and fun! Open skate times are available all summer and fall and it only costs $10 per person to make the most of time on the rink. When free skate options aren’t in session, it’s fun to note that this arena is the training center for the Detroit Red Wings! Ice skating is one of our favorite kid friendly Michigan summer activities, just as it’s sure to be one of yours.
Places to Stay in Traverse City
Planning a trip to Traverse City in the summer or fall is always a good idea, but beyond the options for fun and entertainment, there’s a lot to be said for having the right accommodations in place that keep you close to the fun and living in comfort and style during a stay. That’s where the property professionals at True North can help. Our wide variety of Traverse City rentals make customizing your getaway experience easier than ever. Luxury, comfort, convenience, and amazing views are yours upon request with options to upgrade at every turn! Make the most of the experience by letting us handle your reservations. Reach out today to learn more and to begin planning your adventure!