5 New Ways to Enjoy Traverse City This Summer

Even on vacation, you can get stuck in a rut.

Fortunately, up here in Traverse City there are so many different things to see, do and taste that there’s really no reason for doing the same thing over and over. There are new thrills in store for those who are willing to try something different. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Watch the sunset from a kayak.

Summer sunsets are part of Traverse City’s magic, whether you watch them from your hotel balcony, the top of a sand dune or a lonely Lake Michigan beach. But one of the most beautiful ways to enjoy the lovely colors of sundown, the deep hues of twilight and the wonder of a star-dusted night is from the cockpit of a kayak as it knifes its silent way through the dark water of Grand Traverse Bay.

Photo Courtesy of Northern Swag

The ladies at Paddle Away Tours have years of experience leading small groups of kayakers on sunset, moonrise and starlight excursions in the waters of Bowers Harbor and Power Island.

2. Explore a Shipwreck.

There are dozens of shipwrecks lying in the crystal-clear waters near Traverse City – schooners, steamships, freighters and tugs. Some are in deep waters and can only be reached by experienced scuba divers – but a surprising number can easily be reached from shore, and all you need is a pair of fins and a mask.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

The 160-foot wooden steamer Three Brothers and the 246-foot freighter Francisco Morazan, the Rising Sun and the skeletal remains of the 124-foot schooner Metropolis are all within easy reach of the adventurous snorkeler!

3. Do a Microdistillery Tasting

Traverse City is already well-known for the quality of its wines and its craft brewing scene. But if you’ve already done the wine trail route or the brew trail route — or if you’re just not the wine or beer-drinking type — there IS a third alternative. Traverse City is blessed with several fine microdistilleries that produce a bewildering array of brandies, vodkas, whiskeys, gins and other spirits – and putting together a tour of these places can be lots of fun as well as a great learning experience.

4. Walk, bike or skate the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

The Traverse City area is well-known for its many hiking, cycling and skiing trails, but one of the most exciting ones is still being built. It’s the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, a paved pathway that allows cyclists, strollers, wheelchair pilots, in-line skaters and others to reach the highlights of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Right now the pathway is 13 miles long. When completed it will stretch 27 miles, from the northern end of the park to Manning Road, just south of Empire.

 5. Play a Round of FootGolf

Ever hear of FootGolf? This challenging hybrid between golf and soccer, where players try to sink regulation-size soccer balls in 21-inch holes with as few “strokes” as possible, is now being played at Elmbrook Golf Course in Traverse City and The Summit at Shanty Creek Resorts.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

The game is great fun, and its basic rules are like those of golf: the first shot at each hole has to be taken from the tee, and players must play past the usual array of bunkers, trees, water hazards and hills. Get your “team” together and try it!

Which of these Traverse City activities have you tried? Share with us in the comments!

Mike Norton spent 25 years as a newspaper writer and columnist before starting a second career as media relations manager at Traverse City Tourism. An avid cyclist, kayaker and hiker, he lives in the village of Old Mission.

5 Reasons Golfing in Charlevoix is Above Par

Charlevoix is known for its picturesque views of Lake Michigan, Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix. Nestled between these lakes, Charlevoix boasts of five renowned area golf courses. This region of northern Michigan offers interesting course diversity and easy access to multiple courses. Read more on the incredible golf scene in Charlevoix and a few courses to explore when you visit the area.

Proximity to the courses

Charlevoix boasts of five renowned golf courses. Each of these five courses is located no farther than 20 minutes from downtown Charlevoix, making it easy to play multiple courses in one day.  If you are looking for panoramic views, consider golfing at Antrim Dells. This golf course has amazing views of Lake Michigan while offering a challenging course for every skill level.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

 History in the making

History comes alive at two of the oldest golf courses in the state of Michigan. The Belvedere Golf Club and the Charlevoix Golf Club were both founded by renowned Scottish architect William Watson over 100 years ago. Both of these courses exhibit classic beauty and are known for their attention to detail and preservation.  If you are looking to relive history, the Belvedere Golf Club hosts the annual Belvedere Hickory Open in June, drawing in golfers from around the United States for games dressed in historic apparel and using hickory shafted clubs.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

 Variety is the Spice of Life

Diversity of courses, amenities, and degree of difficulty are extremely important aspects to the sport of golf. Charlevoix offers a variety of courses meeting all needs and skill sets. Whether you are looking for a 9-hole course, a classic layout, or championship challenges, Charlevoix has it all. The Dunmaglas Golf Course provides a pure and unspoiled golfing experience while the Heatherwoods Golf Course at the Charlevoix Country Club offers bent grass fairways with 4 of the most challenging end holes in Northern Michigan. The Charlevoix Golf Club is a 9-hole course that offers gentle terrain that is good for beginners, families, or if you’re looking for a quick round of golf.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Charlevoix

Deals and Discounts

Everybody likes a deal, right? Each Charlevoix area golf course offers group packaging and specials. Check out each of these golf courses to see about special group discounts and outings. Insider tip: Plan to golf in Charlevoix during the off season (beginning of May or end of September through mid October) to enjoy greatly discounted rates as well usually good weather and gorgeous fall colors.

 Stay and Play

After spending a day (or two) on the golf course, take in the happenings of downtown Charlevoix. Enjoy one of the many great restaurants, take a stroll through unique stores, stop for an ice cream cone or fudge, and top the night off with Michigan craft beer. No matter what your group’s interest, there is something fun for everyone. Use this website to plan your trip to Charlevoix!

Katherine

Katherine Forrester is a graduate from Hope College with a degree in communication and works at the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau as the Sales & Marketing Coordinator. She is a native of Charlevoix, loves skiing, kayaking, going to Detroit Red Wings games, and craft Michigan beer. You can follow the Charlevoix Convention and Visitors Bureau on Facebook and Twitter.

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!