Traverse City is True North!
Combining breathtaking attractions with a rich blend of adventure and relaxation. Climb to the top of Sleeping Bear Dunes, and the glistening waters of Lake Michigan make a stunning backdrop as spring erupts in millions of cherry and apple blossoms, while summer's warm temperatures are perfect for boating, swimming, golfing, hiking and sightseeing.
The above is the exact reason why I chose to visit Traverse City; I was sure that this trip will provide me the perfect blend of visiting a small town and soak in its culture and the hiking trails nearby will help me stay close to nature.
I stay in Chicago and I set forth for my trip with the hope of achieving the above.
After a long almost 400 mile drive I reached my hotel for the night stay.
The next morning after a healthy breakfast; I drove towards Philip Hart Visitor Center to get park information regarding Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
located at 9922 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630
After some discussions with the Park Ranger I visited the Esch Road Beach which was serene and less crowded. There I just gazed at the vastness of Lake Michigan. You can visit the beach by driving south on M-22 towards Esch Road and visit the beach by turning right on M-610. (From the Visitor Center)
Next spot was a trail along Lake Michigan Bluffs ~ Empire Bluff Trail.
To access the trail drive north on M-22 towards Empire Bluff Trail (1.5 mile) (continue onto Wilco Rd → split from M-22)
Thereafter I visited the Pierce Stocking Drive is certainly a must-do activity when visiting the Lakeshore. This 7.4 mile self-guided auto tour provides the visitor with insight to the history of the area, spectacular overlooks of the Glen Lakes, the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan.
GPS: 8500 Stocking Drive, Empire, MI – 49630
I also did the Dune Climb and climbing up the dune is surely an uphill task!
The hike is average hike and should be relatively fine to complete for all age groups. (GPS:6748 S Dune Hwy, Glen Arbor, MI 49630/49636)
Lastly within the Lakeshore I visited the Pyramid Point Trailhead.
Drove back to Traverse City for the evening for some nice food and I guess the day with hikes and spectacular views will surely give a sound sleep.
The next morning after breakfast I proceeded to Traverse Bay Parasail ~ 1773 US 31, Traverse City, MI – 49686 (231-929-7272) for water sports activities like Jet Ski. After thoroughly enjoying the water activities the next destination was some nice food!
However; make sure to check the weather conditions before planning any water activities and advance booking might be necessary during peak summer weekends.
Thereafter visited The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. (GPS: 830 Cottageview Drive, Traverse City, MI – 49684)
The Village is a fascinating collection of shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants set in a cluster of cream-colored castles amid acres of beautiful wooded grounds.
Thereafter I drove to Clinch Park Marina to again view Lake Michigan and the Pier. (GPS -161 E Grandview Pkwy, Traverse City, MI – 49684)
The trip to the True North isn't complete without visiting Suttons Bay famous for it's wineries.
Suttons Bay is located on the eastern shore of the Leelanau Peninsula.
You need to drive slowly to savor the charms of this historic village.
I visited the L. Mawby Vineyards (12-6pm) ~ 4519 S Elm Valley Road, Suttons Bay, MI 49682.
Visit to the wineyard was the last destination on my short trip.
Thereafter I began my drive back to Chicago.
It was a different experience visiting such small towns and villages and soaking up the laid back natural charms and village culture compared to the hustle and bustle of the city I live in!