Top 10 activities listed for Traverse City

Submitted by Traverse City Tourism 

Visitors can explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes among other top 10 activities, such as watching a concert or wine tasting, while visiting Traverse City this summer. (Courtesy photo)

TRAVERSE CITY — All four seasons are wonderful in Traverse City, but most folks who come to the city on vacation prefer the summer. There’s so much to see and do in Traverse City in the summertime, including these top 10 suggestions:

1. Play at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The Sleeping Bear Dunes really do live up to their reputation. Towering sand dunes overlook a breathtaking expanse of water and islands, offering countless opportunities to be awestruck. Miles of beaches and hills on the west coast of the Leelanau Peninsula are ready and waiting to be explored and enjoyed.

Must-see at the park: Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, The Dune Climb and Pyramid Point

2. Paddle or pedal to the breweries

Traverse City is a major center of craft brewing, and a good share of the breweries are located in or around the downtown area. There are several ways to take a tasting tour — on foot, by bicycle, by kayak along the Boardman River or pedaling on the TC Cycle Pub, a self-propelled bar on wheels.

Must-try options include: Paddle for Pints, Paddle TC/Kayak Brewery Tours and Grand Traverse Bike Tours

3. Pick a festival and make plans to go

There’s no doubt about it, summer is festival season. From June to August, weekends are hopping in this corner of northwest Michigan. At the wine and beer festivals, sample local libations all in one place.; at the National Cherry Festival, it’s all things cherry (and more); “just great movies” play at the Traverse City Film Festival; and the art scene offers plenty of opportunities to explore during art festivals and events in August.

Festival Recommendations: Leland Wine and Food Festival, Suds & Sun and Paint Grand Traverse: A Plein Air Affair

4. Go to the beach

Northern Michigan beaches — they’ve got the sand and beauty without the salt. Not to mention that every view looking out over the bay is picturesque on sunny and cloudy days alike. Stroll the shoreline, or run as fast as you can into the water, either way visitors will be rewarded by the fresh coast.

Top Beach Picks: Haserot Beach Park, Esch Rd. Beach, Traverse City State Park

5. Eat outside and at a food truck

A visit to Traverse City in the summer isn’t complete without an alfresco dining experience and a meal enjoyed at the food trucks. Recently named one of the most under-the-radar food towns in America by the Daily Meal, Traverse City is attracting attention as one of America’s most unique culinary destinations. Local chefs are always up to something creative in the kitchen. Combine these delicious dishes with a view of the bay, or a fresh margarita on a patio.

Restaurant suggestions: The Little Fleet (food trucks), Apache Trout Grill and Taproot

6. Get on board a tall ship

One thing that constantly surprises visitors is the sight of all the schooners and sailing vessels as they glide across Grand Traverse Bay. “Tall ships” enchant visitors and have become the city’s unofficial mascots. Some are working replicas of historical ships, some serve as floating classrooms, where participants learn about the area’s aquatic environment and some are simply meant for relaxing and enjoying the view (and a cocktail).

Try one of these sailing adventures: Tall Ship Manitou, ISEA – Great Lakes Education Sails and The Nauti-Cat

7. Watch a concert

Every year, thousands of concert-goers flock to the Interlochen campus for the Interlochen Arts Festival, a season of outdoor performances by international superstars. While Interlochen is one of the main venues for live music, it’s not the only one. Concerts fill the week during the National Cherry Festival (at the Open Space), the Red Drive Concert Series takes place at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons and local bars pump out live music on a nightly basis.

8. Explore downtown Traverse City

Traverse City’s tree-shaded, pedestrian-friendly downtown is really a destination in itself, designed on an intimate scale with over 150 fascinating boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and galleries, and lots of places to sit and relax. Hunt for souvenirs in the many one-of-a-kind shops, browse the bookstores and art studios, or just enjoy an hour or two of people-watching.

Be sure to check out: The State Theatre, City Opera House and Friday Night Live in August

9. Go wine tasting

Fifty-five percent of Michigan’s wine grapes are grown in the Traverse wine coast. Designate a driver and head to hillside vineyards beautifully decorated by green vines and lush landscapes. Enjoy the colorful summer views and stop into the tasting rooms to cool down and sample the award-winning wines.

Explore: the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

10. Go for a round

In summer, when many of America’s golf destinations are blazing with heat, the courses around Grand Traverse Bay are cool and comfortable throughout the day. Strange as it may sound, summer days are actually longer here than they are in the south as Traverse City is situated on the western edge of the eastern time zone, so far north that the light of a midsummer day can last until nearly 10 p.m.

Check out the courses.

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