Five Ideas for Welcoming Spring in Traverse City

As any Michigander will tell you, Michigan is truly a four-season state. The water wonderland of summer, the brilliant colors of fall, and the snow sports of winter all contribute plenty of reasons to love a four-season destination like Traverse City. But it’s spring that seems to occupy a special place in the hearts of many residents of the Great Lakes State. As winter whites give way to the greens of springtime, it’s time to get outside and renew our relationship with Michigan’s many outdoor resources.

With so many options in and around Traverse City, the hard part can be deciding where to go and what to do first. Read more as our friends at Northern Swag narrow down the list for you by sharing five Traverse City favorites.

1. Hike a Trail

The Traverse City area is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails that are perfect for taking in on a sunny spring day. The wooded Lake Michigan Trail in Leelanau State Park near Northport winds its way through wooded hills to an observation deck overlooking Lake Michigan. While you’re enjoying the natural setting and fresh air, be on the lookout for the unmistakable petals of the white trillium, which can cover entire hillsides when they bloom in early-to-mid-May.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Swag

2. Hunt for Morels

These tasty, yet elusive natural treasures can be found in wooded areas throughout the Traverse City area. Look for south-facing hillsides that soak up the sun, and if possible, wait for a warmer day (over 60 degrees) that follows several warmer evenings for the best chance at success. Locals may be hesitant to share their favorite spots, but the adventure of the hunt can be almost as rewarding as the discovery. Almost.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Swag

3. Take a Sunday Drive

In mid-May, the hills and valleys of Old Mission Peninsula come alive with color as the cherry blossoms emerge. The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula ® host Blossom Day Saturday, May 14. This event offers participants a chance to sample award-winning wines while enjoying the incredible scenery along the way. Scenic overlooks and cherry blossoms abound, and if you make it to the town of Old Mission, be sure to enjoy the view at Haserot Beach – it’s one of our favorite stops on the peninsula.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Swag

4. Hit the Beach

The water will still be a bit too chilly for a swim, but a picnic with an afternoon walk along the beach is a splendid way to celebrate spring in northern Michigan. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore includes 35 miles of pristine Lake Michigan shoreline. The views are some of the best in the Traverse City area, and don’t forget to keep an eye open for Petoskey stones, found along the entire length of the Lakeshore.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Swag

5. Discover a New View

There’s a brief window of time between the melting of the snow and the return of summer foliage to the trees and the forest floor. With 70,000 acres to explore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers numerous opportunities for discovering hidden views that aren’t as visible during the summer months. If you find yourself “up north” on a perfect spring day, an afternoon adventure amongst the rolling hills and wooded bluffs of the Sleeping Bear Dunes can lead to a pretty nice reward.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Swag

Northern Swag:

Northern Swag is a collective group of Northern Michigan creatives that is obsessed with the incredible beauty of the area. In their eyes there’s something else that evades description, a type of pervasive style that makes being here just feel awesome. It’s their goal to try and capture that unique Northern Michigan style, or swag, with photos and words.

How will you celebrate spring in Traverse City? Let us know by commenting below!

Seven Pure Michigan Travel Resolutions for 2016

After a great 2015, the New Year in Pure Michigan is well under way! As we look forward to the many events, fairs and festivals that will happen across Pure Michigan, we put together a list of seven travel ideas to put on your 2016 ‘bucket list’ for fun around the Great Lakes state. Read below for just a few suggestions and let us know which Pure Michigan destinations you plan to visit this year!

1.)  Cross the Mackinac Bridge. If you can believe it, 20 percent of Michiganders have never crossed the bridge! Though some might not realize it, winter is a great time to explore the Upper Peninsula and all of its glory. Arguably, the Tahquamenon Falls are just as beautiful in winter. With interesting cities like St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Houghton, Ironwood, and countless more, there’s so much to explore north of the Mighty Mac.

View from the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

Photo Courtesy of Tim Burke

2.) Go somewhere in the state that you’ve never visited before. Consider a trip to the Alpena-Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary and shipwreck tours by boat. Marquette is a cool university town with unique sandstone architecture and a beautiful waterfront with excellent trails for biking. The Keweenaw Peninsula is great for scenery, mine tours, history, kayak/canoe, biking, motorcycle tours and more. 3.) Do something that scares you…just a little bit. This winter, that could mean snowmobiling, ice climbing or even luge!  The Michigan Snowmobile Association website has a great list (available via the Michigan.org Snow Day page) of trails to explore. If you seek something a bit more tame, try Fat Tire biking.

Snowmobile trail in Pure Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @Mossemmallee

4.) Expand your horizons/loosen up: Try a spa. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “spa person”, relaxation is healthy for everyone. Give yourself a treat this winter and head to one of Michigan’s many resorts and take in the relaxing benefits of a massage or other spa treatment.  You’ll be happy you did. Some spas even offer couples massages and discounts, for you early Valentine’s Day planners! 5.) Bring your family and friends outside for a hike at one (or all!) of Michigan’s National Parks and Lakeshores.  These cost-effective trips offer spectacular beauty and are great for laying down a foundation of healthy habits for generations to come while enjoying the outdoors. Consider a trip to one of the 100+ free parks to choose from.

Isle Royale National Park, located in the northwest of Lake Superior.

Isle Royale, Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

6.) Visit Detroit-America’s Comeback City. Detroit is on the move and worthy of visitation for so many reasons. Explore the culture through the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Motown ‘Hitsville’ Historical Museum, Michigan Science Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Fox Theater and more. Cheer on Michigan’s favorite teams, the Lions, TigersRed Wings and Pistons (Auburn Hills), enjoy delectable restaurants (more than 80-new to choose from in the last year and half) and the gaming scene with three casinos.

"The Fist" in Detroit, America’s Comeback City

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @Regalt

7.) Give yourself a Pure Michigan Snow Day. Remember the thrill you felt as a kid when you found out you had a snow day?  Now, as an adult, it’s good for your heart and soul to take some time off work, and many vacation days often go unused throughout the year. Channel your inner child and take a grown up snow day of your own, or take the whole family on a Pure Michigan adventure! Already planning your Pure Michigan travel for 2016? Share the destinations you plan to visit below!

Falling for Michigan: Five Ways to Enjoy the Fall Foliage

Another fall color season in Pure Michigan is about to begin! When the days begin to get shorter and the crisp fall air arrives, Michigan’s 19 million acres of woods turn to shades of red, gold and orange.

The new season offers new vacation experiences, and whether you take a long weekend, or a short day trip, there is no better place to see the dynamic fall foliage colors than along Michigan’s highways, trails and coastlines.

Here are five great ways to “fall” for Pure Michigan this year.  

Take a Fall Color Tour

From the Keweenaw Peninsula to the Sunrise Coast to Southeast Michigan, there is no shortage of beautiful places to take in the fall foliage.  Starting in the Upper Peninsula in Mid-September to Michigan’s Sunrise and Sunset coasts in Mid to late October, let our fall colors report guide you toward the best time to take a Pure Michigan fall vacation.   For a listing of fall color tours, visit http://www.michigan.org/fall-color-tours/ or sign up for the Fall Color Update newsletter.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

By Land…or By Lake

During the summer, boat cruises take vacationers out onto Michigan’s lakes, but many of them offer color cruises or private charters for those wanting to enjoy the fall foliage from the nation’s longest freshwater coastline.  Check out cruises and charters near you here.

Want to get in some outdoor recreation?  Bundle up and take a fall paddling trip on one of Michigan’s lakes or rivers, enjoying the peace and quiet of a fall morning or afternoon.  Michigan is blessed with more paddling opportunities than any other state.  {Related:  Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips}

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Blaze Your Own Trail

Michigan has hundreds of miles of trails and pathways, and nothing beats a biking or hiking trip than one with a colorful backdrop of fall foliage and the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet.

Looking for something unique? Saddle up and enjoy the beauty of fall with a horse ride.  Michigan has several horse-friendly trails and stables perfect for an afternoon adventure.

Michigan Trails Week  is September 19 – 26, which is a weeklong celebration of Michigan’s extensive trail network.  Find your favorite trail.

Trails_Info_435083_7_Trail week infographic

A View from the Top

We are often times looking up to see the fall colors, but you can get a bird’s eye view of Michigan’s thousands of trees with orange, red and yellow leaves.

Take a scenic chairlift ride at participating ski resorts throughout the state such as Boyne Mountain Resort, Mount Bohemia,  Mont Ripley and Crystal Mountain, among others.

Feeling more adventurous?  Many of Michigan’s hot air balloon companies have fall schedules that will give you the view of a lifetime.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Fall “Fore” Michigan Golf

Michigan is consistently named among the best places in the country to play golf with more than 650 public courses throughout the state.   The fall season is a great time to enjoy a round of golf and the fall colors with many courses offering packages and deals.

Where is your favorite place in Pure Michigan for fall colors?