This Michigan city offers a thriving food and wine scene as well as scenic beaches and beautiful lakes.
Food and wine lovers will enjoy the natural bounty of the Traverse City area while outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in the dense forests and along the beautiful waterfront pathways.
Known as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” Traverse City produces up to 75 percent of the tart cherries grown in the United States. Many cherry orchards are located near the city and reveal their colorful blossoms in spring. To coincide with the cherry harvest in July, the city hosts the annual National Cherry Festival, which attracts more than half a million visitors.
As well as cherry trees, the fertile land of the area is home to many vineyards. Stop at a tasting room and try some locally produced chardonnay or pinot noir, among other varietals. The Traverse City area is situated at the 45th parallel, which is the same as many world-famous wine regions, such as Bordeaux and Côtes du Rhône.
Hops are also a popular crop in the region, and beer enthusiasts can enjoy craft brews at local breweries and pubs. The craft brewing and wine scene is matched by a thriving dining scene, and many restaurants and cafés in the city use local produce, such as cherries, apples and mushrooms.
To make the most of Traverse City’s beautiful surroundings, it’s a good idea to rent a car. Just a short dive from the city you’ll find spectacular forests, wetlands and beaches.
Families will enjoy the quiet surroundings of the Traverse City State Park, where there are opportunities for kayaking, swimming, boating and other water activities.
The plunging dunes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are another local highlight. Here, towering bluffs of sand stand 450 feet (137 meters) over the Lake Michigan shore.
Adventurous travelers can even go scuba diving at the Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve, home to several sunken wrecks.
If you prefer to keep dry, try teeing off at one of the area’s many golf courses or browse the city’s shops to see local handmade arts and crafts.