20 Hidden Northern Michigan Vacation Spots
Here at Lynden Sports Center we love the breathtaking summer in our beautiful state of Michigan, but summers in Michigan fade quickly and so are the opportunities for summer fun. Soak up every glorious moment of summer in Northern Michigan with these insider tips and vacation ideas from our family to yours.
#1 Power Island: Power Island in West Grand Traverse Bay is a gem, the Caribbean blue water, hiking trails and a dock to jump off.
#3 Betsie Valley Trail: Ride the Betsie Valley Trail from Beulah to Frankfort and on to Elberta Beach for a swim in Lake Michigan before you head back. The 22-mile trail goes all the way to Thompsonville if you’re up for a longer pedal.
#4 Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery: Pick up a howler of cider from Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery then get pizza at Grumpy’s Market, also on M-72 in Traverse City (yes, the gas station has great pizza). Finish the afternoon with a hike on Empire Bluff Trail.
#5 Good Hart: The sweet community of Good Hart is set along the iconic Tunnel of Trees on M-119. Park your car and explore the general store, their cookies, their one-of-a-king furniture, tea room, and their studio.
#6 Manistee Riverwalk: First thing in the morning, walk along the Big Manistee River through the heart of downtown Manistee. Twenty-five historical markets line the way, sharing the story of the town. The Riverwalk starts behind the Chamber of Commerce and ends at First Street Beach.
#7 Petoskey Wine Region: In the Petoskey Wine Region, expect to find wines you haven’t tried before, like Marquette and Marechal Foch, at these 14 distinct wineries.
#9 Shay Hexagon House: Take a photo of this crazy cool home, Shay Hexagon House, then head across the street to the Harbor Springs Historical Museum to learn more about its builder, Ephraim Shay. Schedule a family tour!
#10 The Village Inn: At the Village Inn, order the planked whitefish at this St. Ignace restaurant. You will not be disappointed.
#11 Van Pelt Alley: Take a stroll and discover Charlevoix restaurants and businesses tucked away in this fun alley. Check out Van Pelt Alley this summer.
#12 Keyhole Bar and Grill: Everything is covered in keys at this Machinaw City treasure, Keyhole Bar and Grill. Everything. Get lunch then head to Alexander Henry Park for the best views of the Mackinac Bridge (you can actually stand underneath and take your next Instagram selfie), and visit neighboring Colonial Michilimachinac.
#13 Omena Cut Flowers: This U-Pick garden, the Omena Cut Flowers is filled with more than 40varieties of annuals and perennials, sits at the corner of M-22 and Freeland Road (between Suttons Bay and Northport) and operates on the honor system, which makes us love it even more.
#14 The Sturgeon River Preserve: See who can spot an elk rub first! The Gaylord area Sturgeon River Preserve is home to the second-largest elk herd east of the Mississippi, and bull elk use small trees to remove the velvet from their antlers creating “rubs.” The short.75-mile trail is accessed off Whitmarsh Road.
#16 Farmers Market Row on US-31: The highway from Traverse City to Charlevoix is lined with local farm stands and orchards. Pull over at Farmer White’s and Altonen Orchards in Williamsburg, and Royal Farms and Friske’s Farm Market in Ellsworth.
#17 Boardman Lake: The Boardman Lake in Traverse City is a great place to paddleboard or kayak when you do not want to be out on the big lake. Bring your kids near the library on Woodmere Avenue, paddle around the east side (look for turtles, muskrats, and baby ducks) and then head to Right Brain Brewery. There’s a beach and small boat launch area to tie up near Sixteenth Street; just walk up the hill to grab a beer. Then Paddle around the west side of the lake and finish up with pizza and beer at The Filling Station. It’s your own personal couples beer tour.
#18 Crooked Tree Arts Center: The art galleries at both locations (Traverse City and Petoskey) of the Crooked Tree Arts Center always have free admission, with various shows throughout the year. Watch for special events and classes, too, such as Praint Grand Traverse and Charlotte Ross Lee Concerts in the Park.
#19 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is made up of 75,000 stunning acres and 42 miles of Lake Superior coastline. You could spend a lifetime exploring it. But, if you only have a day, visit Chapel Rock. A lone white pine bravely grows atop the rock, facing the brutal wind and waves of Lake Superior head-on. Access it from the Chapel/Mosquito trailhead parking lot.