There’s no better way to see a city, and to feel the character of an area, than by foot. The smells, the sights, the scenery—you get it all when you go for a stroll. Here are a few pedestrian-friendly spots we recommend the next time you’re looking to experience the Traverse City vibe.
Photo: Glacial Hills Trails
When you’re seeking a day trip that gets you into the woods, and your idea of exploring is going for a spin or feeling the dirt beneath your feet, the Glacial Hills Pathway in Bellaire delivers.
Go for a bike ride or head to the beach. Hike the dunes or stroll through a quaint coastal downtown. Here in northern Michigan, the day’s possibilities truly are endless -- especially when the sun is shining and the landscape beckons us outside to explore. We want to do it all.
Having our four-legged companions join us on the trails makes the experience all the sweeter—there’s just something about being outdoors, watching our tongue-wagging canines so deliriously happy as they sniff and run and check out every turn in the path. Here are a few of our favorite pet-friendly spots to get out in nature and explore:
Overcast, drizzly days and it’s-not-letting-up-at-all kind of afternoons definitely can dampen plans for outdoor excursions. And while I’m all about curling up on the couch with a great read and staying warm and dry inside, sometimes it’s just good to get out and about, regardless of what Mother Nature is dishing out.
Northern Michigan’s wooded, winding trails are second to none, and the Vasa on the east side of Traverse City holds an extra special place in my heart. I grew up with these trails literally in my backyard and years later fell in love with running and mountain biking on these paths meandering through the Pere Marquette State Forest.
Getting out on the trails come winter is its own kind of beautiful experience. A quiet path blanketed with snow, sunshine piercing through the ice-encrusted branches, snowshoes crunching along the path the only sound I hear … and, oh, the fresh, cold air. It’s crisper and cleaner during our most frigid months.
There’s nothing quite like breaking a sweat during a long, satisfying run come autumn, when the sun shines and the air cools. Fall is an ideal time for outdoor exploring in northern Michigan, not only for its just-right temps but for its amazing views around every corner.
We’re standing in the middle of a closed street, at times jumping up and down a bit, shifting our weight from side to side, and holding our crossed arms to our chests to warm up on this brisk late May morning. We’re checking and re-checking our watches, adjusting earphones and iPhones, chatting with one another, or maybe just staring straight ahead, alone in our thoughts as we wait for the final countdown to the race start. The excitement and nervous-tension is palpable.
In the midst of the morning rush—breakfast-making, backpack-grabbing, everyone scattering in different directions for the day—I remember to pull out a favorite pair of black running shorts and a red short-sleeve top to take with me. And shoes. Don’t forget your running shoes. While I often log miles from my house on the east side of town—the Vasa Pathway, one of our area’s premier trail systems, is within steps of our neighborhood—I like mixing up my running routine and will head to favorite routes throughout Traverse City.