About This Place
Traverse City, Michigan, is the “Land of Four Seasons,” a year-round destination for tourists who want to experience the true north. Despite its location near the north end of the Lower Peninsula, Traverse City boasts ideal weather all year, thanks to balmy breezes from nearby Lake Michigan.
Traverse City celebrates each new season with fun things to do: woodsy walks in spring, every kind of water sport in summer, wine harvests in fall, and snowboarding and skiing throughout winter.
Whenever the weather is warm, Traverse City visitors head for the water. Boardman Lake is just south of Traverse City; to the north are Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan. The northern waterfront has more than 180 miles of white beaches and clear water, which explains why the area is called “The Caribbean of the North.” Popular things to do in this part of Traverse City include water skiing and fishing. Charter boats carry fishermen (and women) out to deeper waters. The many small streams are springtime hotspots for kayaking and canoeing, and surrounding trails are ideal for hiking and sightseeing.
During the summer, Traverse City hosts its most popular annual activity: the National Cherry Festival. The region has a unique microclimate to thank for its most famous crop. Mild lake winds carry water to steep slopes nearby, creating the ideal growing conditions for tart cherries.
Throughout the festival, some 500,000 visitors taste cherry creations of every variety, from popular confections like cherry tarts and scones to savory cornbread stuffing and cherry chili. Fun festival activities include cherry-pit spitting and pie-eating contests.
Fall is wine season in Traverse City. This is the time of year when the special climate is most appreciated. Michigan cherries are blended with other fruits to make renowned Rieslings, Chardonnays and Pinot Grigios. The newest batches are available to sample at wine festivals in September, and tourists flock to wineries that line the peninsulas. Black Star Farms Old Mission offers a cozy tasting room with gorgeous views.
Late October brings colder temperatures, and snow-seeking travelers soon follow. Skiing and snowboarding are popular Traverse City activities through early spring. Skiers of all skill levels can descend the slopes at Shanty Creek, Hickory Hills and Mt. Holiday Ski and Recreation Area. Area resorts offer skiing lessons for beginners, as well as snow tubing and rope towing.
All year long, Traverse City visitors can enjoy shopping, dining, golfing and gambling. The Front Street shopping district features an eclectic mix of boutiques set against the waterfront. Visit any cafe, bistro or restaurant in Traverse City, and you will discover why it is one of the top five food towns according to Midwest Living and Bon Appétit magazines.
Traverse City’s manicured greens have earned accolades from Golf Magazine, with courses designed by legends like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
In any kind of weather, Traverse City visitors can try their luck at two casinos, Leelanau Sands and Turtle Creek. Both offer slots, craps, card games and live entertainment.