top of page


  • Writer's pictureDesirae-Haunted Traverse

5 Out-of-the-Way Things to Do Near Traverse City Michigan

Updated: Apr 20

When visiting Traverse City some guests want to stretch their wings and explore things to do near Traverse City Michigan. Many guests to the area make a mistake by not giving what lies beyond Traverse City's limits enough time to truly explore this visual stunning area. As a local and tour guide of Haunted Traverse Tours, here are some tips for 5 out of the way, but fun things-to-do in the Leelanau County area (just a short drive from Traverse City). So, get ready for historic lighthouses, beautiful Grand Traverse Bay scenic views, some local favorites for fun dining, and more!

Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Thing To Do when Visiting Traverse City Michigan and Leelanau Peninsula. Wine Tours, Cherry Orchard Visits, Fine Dining, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
Visit the Beautiful and Haunted Grand Traverse Lighthouse

Here are 5 Fun Things to Do Near Traverse City Michigan!

5. Cherry Orchard Visits!

Let's start out our Things to Do Near Traverse City Michigan by exploring what the area is so well known for... our fudge! Just kidding, it's our cherry production. Fun fact, this area produces 40% of all of the tart cherries consumed in the United States.

Cherry Orchards host a variety of entertaining options from Spring through the Fall. In mid-May, stop at one of the many cherry orchards that dot this part of Northern Michigan. Get ready starting in mid-July through the rest of the summer for some u-pick them options too! In the fall, many orchards will host fun, fall events.

Hallstedt Homestead Cherries is a u-pick 'em option on Leelanau Peninsula. Plus, when the blossoms are in bloom, guests can leave with their very own cherry blossom bouquet!

4. Wine Tasting!

Traverse City and its surrounding area are an ideal destination for wine production, offering a unique combination of natural advantages on the 45th parallel as well as a thriving viticultural community.

The regions' climate is a temperate and moderated ecology making the weather in Northern Michigan perfect for growing cherries and grapes. This makes it a great location for a vacation too regardless of the season.

If this local may make some suggestions on where to get the most tastings for the least number of stops, I would suggest the following:

  • Black Star Farms, The Leelanau Peninsula Location. I love hopping on wine tours, but when I only have time to visit one or two wineries, this one is one of my favorites because of the beauty of the estate, the variety of wines, and its nearness to Traverse City (only 13 miles from Traverse City).

  • Leelanau Wine Cellars, Leelanau Peninsula. I love the tasting room located right on the water with large viewing windows and an outdoor seating area as well. A large option of tastings with over 60 wines, translates to the most fastidious wine lovers finding a bottle to go back home with. LWC does take reservations for the tasting room with a modest cost to enjoy such beautiful, big, bouquets of wine tastings. Plus, a bonus complimentary glass of wine for visiting!

3. The Grand Traverse Lighthouse just north of Northport Michigan

Grand Traverse Lighthouse: As one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes, the GT Lighthouse is located at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula about a 50-minute drive from Traverse City Michigan. Hop on a tour or walk the site on a self-guided adventure. Get ready for stunning views of Lake Michigan! Plus, appease your curiosity with a visit on site to the Fog Signal Building and the Shipwreck Exhibition. This lighthouse is located right next to a playground and picnic area, so think ahead and pack a picnic for lunch.

2 Glen Arbor

Glen Arbor is a sleepy village nestled in the curves of Crystal River, the sand dunes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and the edge of Lake Michigan.

Glen Arbor hosts a variety of recreational activities, but the shopping is where it is at in the town. Guests to Glen Arbor can explore shops specializing in Jewelry to clothing to gift shops! There is so much to see, but what you won't see are big box stores. Don't forget to stop into the Cherry Republic to get your chocolate covered cherries!

Glen Arbor is also a great stop for some fun dining too! I suggest Art's Tavern for some local grub since 1934. If you are looking for food and some great beer options, the Broomstack Kitchen & Taphouse for Dine-in or carry out (maybe to picnic at the edge of Lake Michigan perhaps;)

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

A short drive away is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. This national park has been voted the 1 national park in the nation! How exciting! Which means get ready for the hikes, the views, and the trek back in time to a simpler era of Michigan.

I would start your visit at the Phillip A. Hart visitors center or just wing it by exploring the many trails (over 100 miles), hiking up the Sleeping Bear Dunes' Dunes, or visiting the Maritime Museum in Glen Haven.

If this local may make one suggestion, hike up the easy trail to the Empire Bluffs for a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. Beaches are aplenty but beware of hiking down the dunes to the shore of Lake Michigan. Many tourists have been stranded at the bottom and been in need of official rescue and the price tag is billed to the tourist to provide this service. Don't worry about not identifying this risky part of the National Park, the warning signs posted cannot be missed by visitors.

One other helpful hint for those that may have tired legs, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a great option for an enjoyable drive under a shady maple tree canopy while still seeing a panoramic view of Lake Michigan.


In summary, when staying in Traverse City, hop on M-22 and head north for a day of fun in Leelanau County. This can be a full day, half day, or just a jot out for some food and wine before you head back in Traverse City.

Be sure to take advantage of roadside stands you'll drive by. Just don't be afraid to explore the unbeaten but not to be beat path that is Leelanau Peninsula!


Hello! Desirae is a tour guide in the beautiful Traverse City, Michigan area. I love all things haunted, history, or hun....err..I mean fun! Please let me know if I can help answer any questions about my hometown Traverse City. What are you waiting for!? Come up and visit us soon, you won't regret it. :)

Pinterest 1200x2500 (1).jpg

Calendar of Tours
Click on the Green Boxes

bottom of page