Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/MaszaSBigPhotoFortraverse cityTraverse City, MIBlack Star Farms VinyardFall Colors in Traverse Citysurf funSleeping Bear DunesA dramatic sky view from our cottage deckA dizzying view from the top of the Sleeping Bear Dunes

Families will love:

  • July's week-long National Cherry Festival
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Beaches, turquoise blue water and towering dunes

With sugar-sand beaches, towering dunes and Caribbean blue water, Michigan's Traverse City area feels like an ocean vacation without leaving the Midwest. In many ways it is but with a freshwater twist!

In Traverse City, Lake Michigan's surf lulls you to sleep at night and greets you in the morning; crystal clear water beckons children into the bays; and tall ship ... more
With sugar-sand beaches, towering dunes and Caribbean blue water, Michigan's Traverse City area feels like an ocean vacation without leaving the Midwest. In many ways it is but with a freshwater twist!

In Traverse City, Lake Michigan's surf lulls you to sleep at night and greets you in the morning; crystal clear water beckons children into the bays; and tall ship sailing and tales of Great Lakes' wrecks around Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas fuel imaginations with nautical adventure.

The Great Lake clearly ranks as the star attraction in this upper corner of Lower Michigan and is widely known for its tart and sweet cherries. Approximately 75 percent of the nation's cherry crop is grown here along the 45th parallel. The lake acts as a giant insulator, cooling or warming tender crops during seasonal temperature swings.

Throughout the year in Traverse City you can savor every variation of cherry pie, sausage, bread, scones and cookies, salad and salsa and even cherry barbecue sauce! There are dozens of cherry ice creams, too! In July, close to 500,000 visitors celebrate the weeklong National Cherry Festival.

Cherry orchards flow across the hills and valleys of this area along apple and peach orchards, strawberry fields and a growing number of wineries. You can enjoy the local produce at area restaurants, and you'll find the indigenous crops knitted into the area's culture and even artwork. Look for unique restaurants, shops and galleries in towns such as Glen Arbor, Suttons Bay and Leland on the Leelanau Peninsula or in the hub of Traverse City.

Leave at least a day to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This 35-mile stretch of coastline encompasses historic farms and lifesaving stations, a lighthouse and maritime museum and a stunning scenic drive. Tell the kids it's Michigan's largest sandbox; If they can climb to the top of the 110-foot dune, it's a joyous, unforgettable run down to the bottom!

Written by Lisa Meyers McClintick less

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