domingo rogers: Capturing Life in the Fullest

What can you do in Northern Michigan? Part 1

Sun sets over West Bay in Traverse City, Michigan

Sun sets over West Bay in Traverse City, Michigan

That was the question for me the seven years that we lived up there.  Now that we have moved away and I look at Michigan with a different perspective, there is a lot to do, you just have to know the right people and know where to look!

Before I go into my recommendations on the great things you can do to escape the hot humid or dry heat, depending upon where you come from, let me ask you this:  Where do you go on vacation and what do you do that is unique to your family?

Top Ten Things To Do In Northern Michigan:

  1. Traverse City – There is a lot to do in Traverse City, especially if you are trying to do it all within a short period of time.  Most notably Traverse City hosts the annual National Cherry Festival the first full week in July.  As seen on Festival’s count-down clock,, at the time of this writing Cherryncf_logo Festival 2010 gets underway in 330 days!  During Cherry Festival one can enjoy participating in or watching competitions ranging from the: Million Dollar Hole In One Golf Contest; Cherry Pit Spit Contest; Sara Lee Bakery Adults and Kids Cherry Pie Eating Contest; and what I am looking forward to most next year – the Meijer Festival of Races. For a complete look at all of what the National Cherry Festival has to offer, go to:
  2. Moomers Ice Cream is definitely a place you need to stop if you are in the Traverse City area.  Moomers was  recently voted “Best” Ice Cream and was featured on Good Morning America.   They have someMoomers excellent flavors of ice cream, only found in northern Michigan and of course they have all American favorites like Chocolate and Vanilla.  When you are there and you are really hungry check out their Wholey Cow.  This one features 10 scoops of ice cream with every topping they have, including: bananas, brownies and served with an entire, yes, an entire can of whipped cream!
  3. Beaches – There are plenty of beaches to enjoy immediately around Traverse City.  The most popular are:  Bryant Park and the Clinch Park beach.  A lesser known beach but is nice if you are looking for a relaxing drive out on the Old Mission Peninsula out past the wineries is Haserot Beach.  When you are out there be sure to stop by the Old Mission General store that has been serving customers for 160 some odd years!
  4. Tubing down the Platte River with a cold soda…er…I mean pop or a nice beer is a perfect way to relax while working on your tan and enjoy the slower pace in your life.  You can either bring your own platte_tubing_canoeing_285xtube, raft, air mattress, etc. or you can rent them at the Riverside. If you need to rent during the height of the summer season, you will want to plan ahead and get reservations.  Our family opts to take the 2 hour float, though a shorter one is available.  You’ll want to put in at the Fish Weir just below Loon Lake and float to the mouth of the Platte where it flows into Lake Michigan.  In this case, you will have to carry your tube about 1/4 mile from the road to the river along a gravel road to the Fish Weir and shuttle your car to the parking lot at Platte Point at the end of Lake Michigan Road where you will end your trip.  A good tip here: take two vehicles park one at the the mouth of the Platte and leave the other up near the Fish Weir.  Trust me, you will save a lot of time and your trip down the river will be more relaxing.  Lastly, be sure to pack-out whatever you pack-in.  Keep northern Michigan clean for everyone!
  5. Everybody wants to climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes, so come to the Dune Climb located north of Empire on M-109.  You will find pure, wind-blown sand to climb, then run or roll down the dunes to the picnic area for a break and some refreshments and then head up the dune again.  If you are looking at taking the Dunes Trail to Lake Michigan please be prepared as this is the most strenuous trail in the park.  While only 3.5 miles round trip, it is all sand and you will find climbing the dunes all along the trail to be a challenge.  This is especially true on hot, sunny days.  Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and take lots of water.  Do not go out on the dunes in only bare feet, sandals or flip-flops!! The hike is worth the effort, because you will see a variety of wildflowers and the sight of Lake Michigan is outstanding.  Don’t forget, you have to walk back, so again bring plenty to drink!

Next time I’ll go into more detail on the other activities that your family can enjoy on your next trip to The Great Lakes State!

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