TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Where can you jet ski in the morning, climb a sand dune in the afternoon, eat a gourmet dinner in an old sanitarium and end your evening with a local microbrew?
Traverse City, Mich., situated along Lake Michigan, offers it all.
With its proximity to lakes and sand dunes, a booming collection of nearby wineries and microbreweries, fine dining at Trattoria Stella, a charming downtown, and an annual cherry festival, a trip to this Northern Michigan destination could be a romantic getaway, a fun family outing, a relaxing beach vacation or an outdoor adventure.
Along the East Bay, the shore is lined with beachfront hotels. At the North Shore Inn, guests can play beach volleyball, sunbathe in white lounge chairs, swim in the pool, and build sandcastles near the lake.
Up and down the shore, vacationers will find kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, wave runners and jet skis, pontoons and other watercraft available to rent to spend 30 minutes or a full day on the lake.
Less than 30 miles from Traverse City, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an easy day trip. There are trails to bike, sand dunes to climb and scenic lookouts over the dunes and Lake Michigan to photograph. If you pack a picnic, eat lunch at the base of the dune climb or near one of the scenic lookouts. Otherwise, head to Glen Arbor by car or bike, and dine at Art’s Tavern, a bar with a pennant-covered ceiling, a delicious burger and an outdoor patio.
Back in Traverse City, plan to dine at Trattoria Stella. In what was once the cellar-area of an asylum, this gourmet restaurant now serves Italian cuisine with a daily rotating menu, an extensive list of Italian wines and fresh ingredients from local farms. Trattoria Stella is one of several eateries and shops inside the Mercato, an art-adorned indoor market in the repurposed sanitarium.
For a more laidback yet high quality dining option, start a meal with a creamy white cheddar ale soup topped with mustard pretzel croutons at North Peak Brewing Company. The brewery even makes its own root beer.
If you’re just looking to enjoy a microbrew, relax on North Peak’s chic patio with your beverage or try a seasonal lager made with Traverse City cherries at downtown’s Mackinaw Brewing Company.