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Things to do in Traverse City, Michigan

Updated on June 19, 2013

Cherry Festival

In 1852, Peter Dougherty was the first European settler in this area and he was the first to start growing cherries. To his surprise the cherry tree grew quickly because of the sandy soil and because of being located so close to Lake Michigan. Today about 70% of the United States tart cherries are grown here. During the first week of July, a Cherry Festival is held annually. Activities at the Cherry Festival include concerts, wine-tasting, games, contests. If you plan on visiting during the summer, this is a fun event to attend.

Casinos and Wineries

There are a few activities that can be enjoyed all year long. Because of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indian history in this area, there are 2 casinos nearby; Turtle Creek and Leelanau Sands. Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel is in Williamsburg, Michigan, which is about 10 miles from Traverse City. The minimum gambling age is 18 years old. They have 1300 slot machines and table games.

Leelanau Sands Casino also has a hotel. They are located 20 miles north of Traverse City. They have slots, table games and they sometimes have special events such as concerts.

Many of the surrounding cities grow grapes, so there are many wineries around the area. Wine tasting tours are also offered.

Great Wolf Lodge Resort

If you are looking for a more family-friendly attraction, this is the place to go. This resort has an attached water park that offers many different rides, slides, a lazy river, a large pool and hot tubs For the younger children there is a "Cub Paw Pool" that is shallow water with age appropriate activities. For older kids there is a "Big Foot Pass" with obstacles and basketball hoops they will enjoy. During the summer months the outdoor activities open up.


Outdoor Recreation

Traverse City is a great place to visit for outdoor recreational activities all year round. Traverse City is located very close to Lake Michigan. During the summer months canoeing, water skiing, boating, fishing or just relaxing on the beach are popular activities.

Hiking and biking are also popular activities. There are a few good areas to choose, but Traverse Area Recreational Trail is one of the best. Traverse Area Recreational Trail was built by a non-profit organization who are advocates for healthy living. It is about 10 miles long and is paved. Leelanau Trail is another trail that is about 15 miles and is paved. If you are up for a more difficult trail Sand Lakes Quiet Area is a good option, with much of it being a dirt trail. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshoore is a must see! It is a blast climbing the massive sand dunes.

If you are visiting during the winter months downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and cross country skiing can be done. Shanty Creek Resorts is about 30 miles outside of Traverse City and has activities all year round. During the winter this is the place to visit for skiing and snowboarding with over 50 runs. During the summer they offer golfing and their resort includes a spa.


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