Traverse City & Northwest Michigan Day Trips
Enjoying Traverse City and the surrounding area doesn't require careful planning or a fat wallet. The Cherry Capital and its surrounding communities have too many beautiful places and fun activities for us to provide a complete list, but here are a few easy and inexpensive day trip ideas in the area. Pick and choose from the area lists below to make your day trip as long as short as you please. Check back as we'll be adding new day trip ideas throughout the summer.
Day Trip Ideas in Traverse City
The Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve, a series of developed trails along the Boardman River and Sabin Pond (above), is just minutes outside the Traverse City limits.
Island Day Trips
Mackinac Island offers numerous day trip possibilities including biking around the island, hiking through the state park, exploring Fort Mackinac, taking a horse-drawn carraige tour, and sampling fudge.
Of the five Great Lakes, only Lake Michigan is entirely within the borders of the United States. Surrounded by four states, Lake Michigan completely surrounds several patches of land off the coast of northern Michigan. Consider a day or an overnight trip to each of these unique islands.
Day Trip Ideas in Charlevoix
The county, the city, and the third largest inland lake in Michigan are all named after Father Pierre Charlevoix, 1682-1761, a French Jesuit missionary and a spy for the French government. Although the region has changed since Father Charlevoix passed through in 1721, residents and visitors alike still refer to the area by its unofficial title of "Charlevoix the Beautiful."
Day Trip Ideas in Elk Rapids
One of the beautiful views seen from the Wilcox-Palmer-Shah Nature Preserve, located on East Bay off North Bay Shore Drive, about 2 miles north of the traffic light in Elk Rapids.
Take a drive and discover the picturesque town of Elk Rapids. Founded in 1852, the first town in Antrim County now boasts dozens of specialty shops, excellent art galleries, gorgeous Victorian homes, and a dynamic atmosphere.
Day Trip Ideas in Frankfort
The Betsie Valley Trail stretches from Frankfort to Crystal Mountain.
Whether your ideal day involves river kayaking, hiking and biking on local trails, or lounging away the afternoon on the miles of public beach accessible from Main Street, Frankfort has what you need for the perfect summer getaway.
Day Trip Ideas in Glen Arbor
The Dune Climb is a popular summer destination at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Surrounded by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Glen Lake, Glen Arbor provides easy access to some of Northern Michigan's most beautiful sights. Established in the late 1840s as a trading post, it now boasts a wide variety of art galleries, restaurants and shops. The scenic town is a short drive from Glen Haven, Empire and, of course, the dunes.
Day Trip Ideas in Leelanau County
Sunset in the Leland's harbor at Fishtown is a family favorite. Leland is a 140-year-old fishing village that has kept its small-town feel.
Around the 1850s, as the fur trading business waned, European settlers began taking up residence in Leelanau County, and both the timber and fishing industries began to grow. By the turn of the century, the lumber industry had greatly declined. In its place, between 1910 and 1920, cherries were introduced to the area and this form of agriculture began to take root. Within the past 20 years, the growth of grapes, the production of numerous award-winning wines and the establishment of protected natural areas has made Leelanau County even sweeter for both residents and visitors alike.
Day Trip Ideas in Petoskey
Not far from downtown Petoskey sits North Central Michigan College. Established in 1958, the campus has grown and changed over the years to better serve the community. One site on-campus that hasn't changed too much, however, is the 195-acre Natural Area.
Originally known as Bear River Town, the city of Petoskey was officially chartered and named in 1873 to help attract railroad transportation to the region. Today, although train whistles are rarely heard, the resort town atmosphere remains.
Day Trip Ideas in Suttons Bay
The Leelanau Trail consists of 15 miles of recreational trail along an abandoned railroad corridor.
First dubbed Suttonsburg in 1865, then known both as Pleasantville and Pleasant City in the early 1870s, the town finally found its identity as Suttons Bay in 1895. The sleepy village still feels magically removed from it all.