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  • Writer's pictureDesirae-Haunted Traverse

Things To Do in Traverse City

Updated: Jun 4

Welcome to our blog post dedicated to the delightful city of Traverse City! Whether you're a local resident or a visitor, we understand the importance of finding activities that align perfectly with your interests, physical abilities, and time constraints.

Fortunately, you've come to the right place. This page is designed to be your ultimate guide in discovering the most enjoyable and fun-filled things to do in Traverse City.

Nestled in northern Michigan, Traverse City boasts a picturesque water system that offers a wide range of activities to suit every taste. From boating and fishing to kayaking and paddleboarding, there's no shortage of opportunities to make the most of the city's stunning aquatic playground. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie seeking thrilling water sports or a nature lover looking for a serene experience on the waves, Traverse City has something special in store for you.

Beyond its captivating waterways, Traverse City's downtown district is a true gem. Stepping into the heart of the city, you'll find yourself immersed in a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. The hometown feel is evident as you explore the streets lined with charming shops, captivating tours, and delectable dining options. Whether you're in search of unique souvenirs, want to delve into the city's history through guided tours, or simply crave a memorable culinary experience, Traverse City's downtown district has it all.

While Traverse City itself offers a plethora of exciting activities, the surrounding natural resources are equally captivating. Lace up your hiking boots, rent your bike, or hop on a local taxi to discover the breathtaking beauty of the area's forests, trails, and parks. Traverse City's nature reserves and outdoor spaces provide endless opportunities for exploration, relaxation, and connecting with the great outdoors. So, whether you prefer a leisurely stroll through a nature preserve or an invigorating bike ride on a scenic trail, Traverse City's natural wonders are waiting to be discovered.

So here are fun things to do in the Traverse City area based on your best needs!

Things To Do in Traverse City Michigan

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the enchanting city of Traverse City? Look no further, as we've handpicked the most thrilling and engaging activities tailored to your interests. Whether you're a water enthusiast, a downtown explorer, or an outdoor adventurer, Traverse City has it all. Get ready to dive into a world of endless fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. Join us as we unveil the top things to do in Traverse City that are bound to leave you captivated and yearning for more.

So ready to start planning your exciting adventure to Traverse City? Read on for some great tips for your beautiful Traverse City vacation!!

Things To Do in Traverse City include Water Fun, Downtown Exploration, and the Outdoors!

Below are links to the 3 different activities this page will help you explore! Have fun!!

Heading 1: Fun on the Bay or Boardman River

Heading 2: Explore Downtown Traverse City

Heading 3: Hike or Bike the Outdoors


1: Fun on the Bay or Boardman River?

You arrive in Traverse City via car or plane, but those modes of transportation are not symbiotically with hitting the waters of the Grand Traverse Bay or Boardman River. We need to get you in touch with an activity, outdoor, or tour company that will provide you with the best experiences, in the easiest way for you.

Once you see the crystal blue waters of the bay, you are going to want to get out there and feel the breeze, soak up the sun, and get your feet wet. So read on to connect with services that can help you get there!

Come on a Sailing Adventure with the Nauti Cat!

Traverse City Location:

The Nauti Cat is an old staple with the sails seen on West Grand Traverse Bay-just look for the kitty paw print on the Nauti Cat's sail. This catamaran can get moving by sailing up to 14 knots. And it is ready to provide the complete chill of a cash bar, experienced sailors, and the cool, Lake Michigan breeze.

Physical Level: 1/5 This is as chill as it gets.

Accessibility: All ages, must be able to get on the vessel.

Availability: Public cruises happen at set times.

Click below for more information on the:

6 hours of Biking and Sailing

Traverse City Location:

This is an outfitter that will provide eBikes and Sailing combined for its guests. The Leelanau Bike and Sail Tour will take you along the Leelanau Trail via bike and then transport you to sail in West Grand Traverse Bay. Perfect for the outdoorsy who wants a full day of fun!

Physical Level: 2/5 You will be riding an eBike and then sailing West Grand Traverse Bay! The trail is paved and flat for its users.

Accessibility: Ages 16+, Must be able to get on the vessel/eBike.

Availability: 6-hour activity with set times.

Click below for more information on the:

Half Day on the Boardman Lake

Traverse City Location:

Bring your swimsuit and towel and get ready to explore Boardman Lake in the center of Traverse City. This outfitter is easy to access just off of a major road, but then get ready for the quiet of a beautiful lake with many varieties of birds to watch in the waters or skies above.

Physical Level: 3/5 The kayak models are easy to paddle and glide easily through the water. This is still a 4-hour event with lots of paddling involved, but this is a self-guided experience so the user can determine the amount of paddling. For the more adventurous stretch your legs and paddle all the way to Cass Street and the dam that will tell you exactly when to turn back.

Accessibility: All ages, must be able to get on the Kayak.

Availability: 4-hour activity with set times.

Click below for more information on the:

2: Explore Downtown Traverse City

Downtown Traverse City is going to be several city blocks will shops, dining, and activities lined on either side of Front Street. This is located right off the shores of West Grand Traverse Bay.

Dining in Downtown Traverse City Michigan


A helpful dining tip is to book a reservation as early as possible. Be sure to research operating times and call ahead to confirm that the restaurant is open. Don't just look for sit-down options, there are the Fleet and Coin Slot locations that host popular food trucks as well. Both of these locations are on east Front Street (Food trucks are located between Park Street and Grandview Parkway)


Firefly Restaurant- Eclectic

Taproot Cider House-Farm-to-table fare


The Flying Noodle- Italian Pasta

Red Ginger-Pan-Asian

Bubbas-Burgers and the best fries in T.C.


Some great stops for souvenirs in downtown Traverse City include Momentum Outfitters, My Secret Stash, Nifty Things, plus Critters Clothing and Souvenirs.

Here is a helpful guide to learn more about shopping in downtown Traverse City.

When I was a little girl, downtown Traverse City looked a lot different! Lining Front Street were the big box stores, J.C. Penneys and Millikens. Horizon Bookstore has taken the place of J.C. Penneys now and is one of my favorite stops to pick up local author's books and other great, hard-to-find reads. Oh and stop in at their cafe for some yummy peanut butter cookies and lattes.

3: Hike or Bike the Outdoors

Kayak on Boardman Lake and River in Downtown Traverse City

Traverse City has some of the best-groomed trails in Northern Michigan!

The TART Trail is a great way to soak up the sun, generate that breeze, and paddle your way into an adventure. You are going to need a bike!

Hiking Trails on the Boardman River Trail off of Beitner Road will get you an adventure hiking right next to the Boardman River Rapids. I love this hike for the ease of the journey and the sound of the rapids accompanying most of my hike.

The North Country Trail is another great trail to hop on for a longer hike. My favorite section is the Valley of the Giants which is located about 15 minutes southeast of Traverse City on the NCT.

Sleeping Bear Dunes offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and 100 miles of hiking trails. It is only a short drive from Traverse City. Hike the dunes while you are there or make a day of it by exploring the museums and shops in nearby villages.

Bike Rentals from The River Outfitters

Traverse City Location:

An assortment of bike options are available to you from children's bikes to hybrid bikes to beach cruisers. When you rent from the River Outfitters, just tell them what kind of biking you are looking for and they will get you to the right spot.

Bike the TART, BRT, and NCT near Downtown Traverse City

Physical Level: 4/5 You will be riding bikes that may be peddled by you. However, most trails are well groomed or paved in Traverse City making this an easy path to bike. Flat in Traverse City, although you may encounter some challenging hills if you tackle the dirt trails in the surrounding area.

Accessibility: All ages, Must be able to get on the bike.

Availability: 1-hour activity or more.

Click below for more information on the:


Congratulations! You made it to the end of this very informative blog entry on how to visit and plan your activities in Traverse City, Michigan. I hope this information was helpful. If you are looking for a spirited adventure, check out my ghost tours found in the right column of this blog post->.

Can't wait to see you out and about in Traverse City! Until then, have a great spirited adventure in Traverse City.


Desirae is the owner and tour guide of Haunted Traverse Tours in

Ghost Tour in Downtown Traverse City History Tour

downtown Traverse City. You will see her in her black steampunk costume walking the haunted streets of downtown Traverse City and sharing her ghost stories and the fascinating history of the area.

Some of these links are affiliate marketing through my tour company network Fareharbor. When clicking on the links, Haunted Traverse may earn a small income at no cost to you. Thank you for your support. I can do more information blogs like this when my patrons click on the links I provide. ~Desirae

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