Pristine "sugar sand" beaches, polished stones, historic light houses, and legendary sand dunes only tell part of the story of the Traverse City area. Belt-busting good eats at every turn are balanced by myriad outdoor activities from bicycling to dune hiking to sea kayaking on the bay. Traverse City is a tourist destination that doesn't feel like a tourist destination; rather than being bombarded by tacky storefronts and nautical kitsch, visitors find a town with unique stores and restaurants occupied by residents who love to live here, and with good reason.
Summer is the perfect time to explore Traverse City, with plentiful beaches and equally abundant opportunities to get on the water. Everyone from foodies to history buffs will find plenty to occupy themselves here. Autumn and winter are also popular times of year to visit, with colorful leaves and winter recreation.
Summer temperatures in the Traverse City area are a moderate 81-degree average, tempered by winds off Lake Michigan and the bay. Get more weather info.
The Cherry Capital Airport, located three miles from downtown Traverse City, receives flights daily from Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas-Ft. Worth. Since you'll need a car when you get there anyway, those who enjoy car rides should also note that Traverse City is four hours from Detroit, five hours from Chicago, and almost seven hours from Milwaukee.
You'll want to either drive your own or rent a car when visiting the Traverse City area to give you the most freedom to explore the windswept peninsulas, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and the many quaint small towns with eclectic shopping choices.
The National Cherry Festival is the grand dame of the year-round offerings around Traverse City. Dates vary each year, so check official event websites or check with the Chamber of Commerce, for exact dates.
Visit Traverse City is the area's comprehensive official visitors' site.