Traverse City Camping
Traverse City is a world-renowned vacation destination featuring a wide variety of food, drink, culture, and entertainment options—each with its own local flare. On the edge of the water, it reminds you of where you are, while delivering a small city vibe. TC even offers its own peninsula called Old Mission. The peninsula stretches 19 miles North into Lake Michigan, creating what are known as the West and East Bays. Visitors enjoy several restaurants, wineries, beaches, parks, outdoor recreation, and a lighthouse, all within a lush and rolling landscape with numerous water views. The entire area lends itself to exploration, whether by foot, bike, or water. Get out and see it for yourself this summer.
Explore the many miles of trails and footpaths through the area’s beautiful terrain. Enjoy thousands of acres of nature preserves at the East Creek Reserve, Sand Lakes Quiet Area, or the Reffitt Nature Preserve, conveniently located next to Traverse City State Park and the TART Trail. Visit Grace MacDonald Park, Old Mission Peninsula Park, or one of the other parks for a day of outdoor fun. You can even bring your dog along on select trails. See the complete guide to Hiking in Northern Michigan.
Many of the area’s attractions are connected to Traverse City by a network of bike trails, making everything easily accessible. Take the TART in Town or the Mall Trail through downtown or discover the numerous trails that take you through the surrounding area. The TART Trail is a great starting point, as it is intertwined with other trails such as the Leelanau Trail as well as local businesses and recreational attractions. With over 70 miles of trails at your disposal, biking is one of the best ways to get out and explore Traverse City. See the complete guide to Biking in Northern Michigan.
Sandy beaches and beautiful water views are scattered along the coastline of the Grand Traverse Bay. Downtown TC alone has 5 different beaches including the popular Clinch Park. There is a selection of beaches in the surrounding towns such as Acme and Suttons Bay, and even more on Old Mission Peninsula. One of the most beautiful beaches around is Old Mission Peninsula Park, located at the tip of the peninsula and is known for its shallow warm waters. Don’t forget about Leelanau State Park, which features panoramic views of Fox Island and the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse (open to the public). See the complete guide to Beaches in Northern Michigan.
The Traverse City area has over 10 boat launches and plenty of water to be enjoyed. Many of these boat launches are open to the public and are conveniently located throughout the Grand Traverse Bay. West Bay has its own island called Power Island, which is only accessible by boat and offers a variety of outdoor activities. Kayaking, paddle boarding, and other watersports are immensely popular in the rivers, inland lakes, and bays, with local rental opportunities available. See the complete guide to Boating & Watersports in Northern Michigan.
Traverse City is home to a variety of culinary flare unlike any other. It was named a Top 5 Foodie City in the US by Bon Apetit magazine with over 100 restaurants, dozens of food trucks, weekly farmers markets, and its own world-renowned culinary institute. As if that wasn’t enough, the local wineries, breweries, and distilleries offer award-winning food and beverages, many with their own tasting rooms in downtown TC. Various touring options are available, most of which include transportation between stops. See the complete guide to Food, Wine & Beer in Northern Michigan.
Stroll through galleries and museums for a taste of local culture or take in a live musical or theatrical performance at one of the city’s venues. The area is home to many talented artists who create and display beautiful paintings, pottery, jewelry, and more. TC has multiple children’s’ museums with hands-on exhibits and live demonstrations for kids to play and explore. The Interlochen Center for the Arts summer concert series features over 500 performances by world-class talents. See the complete guide to Arts & Entertainment in Northern Michigan.
There are hundreds of unique events that occur throughout the season in TC, many of which are free to the public. From weekly events such as Concerts on the Lawn to one-time events that draw thousands like the National Cherry Festival—Traverse City has it all. Dine amidst the vines of a local winery, paddle your way through a pub crawl, or take part in one of the seemingly endless number of festivals occurring throughout the summer. While there are many well-publicized events to choose from, there are even more local events that are lesser known but equally rewarding. The best thing to do is get out there and immerse yourself in the culture and let the warm sense of community do the rest. See the complete guide to Festivals & Events in Northern Michigan.