Grand Traverse Bay Area

The Grand Traverse Bay Area is a region in Northern Michigan, known for its lakes and lakeshores, for its cherries and grapes and mushrooms, and for its boating and downhill skiing. Technically, the name refers to the shoreline bordering the West Arm and East Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay, but more generally the name is used to refer to all of Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties and at least the northern part of Benzie County; western Antrim County, which also borders the bay, may be included as well. Traverse City makes an excellent base for exploring the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas to the north, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the west.



Other destinations

Get in

Get around



  • Riverside Canoe Trips, 5042 Scenic Highway in Honor, +1 231-325-5622 (summer) or +1 231-882-4072 (winter), . The best family river trips in Michigan. Trips down the calm Lower Platte (2 hours) and fast Upper Platte River (4 hours) in canoes, kayaks, rafts, tubes, motorboats or rowboats. You'll need to leave your car in a parking lot by the Platte River Point on Lake Michigan, where the trips end, so bring money for parking ($3 for the parking lot alone, or $10 for a permit to all of Sleeping Bear Dunes). Lower Platte $10 - $48 (rafts $95 - $150), Upper Platte $14 - $45.
  • A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort, 627 A-Ga-Ming Drive in Kewadin, +1 231-264-5081 or +1-800-678-0122, . 36 holes of world-class golf. Golf school and lodging packages available. $20 - $74.
  • Champion Hill Golf Course, 510 N Marshall Road in Beaulah, +1 231-882-9200, . 18 holes, par 72. Cross-country skiing available. $9 - $45.
  • Interlochen Golf Club, 10586 US-31 S in Interlochen, +1 231-275-7311 or +1-877-480-7311, . 18 holes, par 71. Rated one of the top 100 best value courses in America, with one of the most scenic and lush courses in the region. Complete dining room service, driving range, practice green, complete pro shop. $12 - $39.
  • Mistwood Golf Course, 7568 Ole White Drive in Lake Ann, +1 231-275-5500, . 27 holes of championship golf and 9 holes of par 3 fun. Rated 4 stars by Golf Digest Readers in 2004 "Places To Play" and voted "Best Pro Am" by Northern Michigan PGA. Driving range, practice sand trap, and two spacious practice greens. Fully-stocked pro shop, on-site Sunset Bar & Grill and Bogey's Snack Bar. Adjacent rental units. $15 - $95.
  • Pinecroft Golf, 8260 Henry Road in Beaulah, +1 231-882-9100, . 18 holes, par 72. Rated 4 stars by Golf Digest Readers in "Places To Play". $9 - $45.
  • Crystal Mountain Ski and Golf, 12500 Crystal Mountain Drive in Thompsonville, +1-800-968-7686, . Voted #1 Resort in the Midwest by Ski magazine. Downhill and cross-country skiing, ice skating and ice hockey, sleigh rides, snowshoe and moonlight hikes. Two golf courses with 36 holes, and over 90 golf schools, lessons and clinics. Equipment rental and tuning, snowsports school, kids' programs and lessons available. Therapeutic massage, fitness center, indoor pool, hot tub, arcade room. Lift tickets $15 - $79, golf rates $30 - $85.
  • Shanty Creek Resort & Club, 1 Shanty Creek Road in Bellaire, +1 231-533-8621 or +1-800-678-4111, . 43 ski runs, sleigh rides, tubing. Four championship golf courses. Fitness center, spa, four on-site restaurants. Skiing and golf clinics and lessons available. Ski lift tickets $12 - $46, golf rates $12 - $99.



Traverse City cherries: tart (left) and sweet light (right)

Cherries are, of course, the predominant local specialty; when they're in season, you can find them fresh in the stores, at roadside stands, and at U-Pick farms throughout the area, particularly along the Old Mission Peninsula. If you want to try them, be sure to visit the area during the last two weeks in July or the first two weeks in August. In May, the wild morel mushroom season commences. Locals flock to the woods in search of "the truffles of the North", while restaurants celebrate the harvest with a variety of morel dishes.


The Grand Traverse Bay Area specifically, the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas is Michigan's premiere winemaking region, located as it is along the 45th parallel, which is home to other world-famous wine regions like Bordeaux in France, Tuscany in Italy, and Oregon (not to mention New Zealand, in the southern hemisphere). Over 50 varieties of wine grapes are grown in Michigan, including Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer, Vignoles, Chambourcin, and Seyval Blanc. Local specialties include cherry wine (of course) and the rare ice wine, in which the grapes are allowed to freeze on the vine and then pressed while still frozen, giving the wine a delicate and very sweet flavor.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, August 22, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.