The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the most popular single attraction in the Traverse City area, and it’s a rare visitor who won’t trudge up the Dune Climb, motor along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive or frolic on the beach at Good Harbor sometime during their stay.
Category - Nature
(All photos courtesy of Lake Michigan Whale Migration Station. No claims are made for their accuracy.)
The volunteers at the Traverse City Visitor Center can almost always come up with advice for baffled tourists who need directions. However, one question consistently leaves them speechless.
It’s the one about whale-watching tours.
Sometimes you want to get out and enjoy the winter (or at least get some exercise) but the conditions aren't really right for skiing or snowshoeing, and you don't want to deal with a lot of special gear anyway. Not to worry -- you can always take a winter walk! All you'll need are mittens, a hat, a warm coat and a good pair of boots!
Each summer, millions of visitors throng to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to prowl its miles of sandy beaches, climb its towering 400-foot dunes and swim in the jewel-bright waters of Lake Michigan.
Far fewer travelers think to visit the dunes in winter, but those who make the effort find it uniquely rewarding.
There’s no better way to enjoy the magic of a Traverse City autumn than to get out and walk about in it. Photographs are pretty, but there’s really no substitute for smelling the aromas of fallen leaves, listening to them crunch underfoot, and feeling the cool breeze brush your face as you surround yourself with in the sensory overload of this lovely, brief season.
Each day, hundreds of people – especially kids – will congregate along the Boardman River at 118 Hall Street, in the city’s warehouse district. If this season is anything like past years, there will be lots of laughter, jumping up and down, pointing of fingers and juvenile squealing.
There are lots of ways to experience fall color in the Traverse City area: driving, hiking, cycling, or simply staring out your hotel window. One of the most rewarding is to combine a color tour with a paddling adventure by canoe or kayak.
Photo Credit Ed Ketterer
While I have long been aware that Leelanau County is a great place to bird, that message was strongly reinforced when my pal Dave Barrons and I organized (and ran) a birding festival here for five years. A number of Leelanau Conservancy properties were included in our field
We were heading down Port Oneida Road to spend the day near Pyramid Point, one of my favorite spots. Up ahead, where the road makes a quick turn to the right, stood a line of tall trees. Above them and around them, the sky was radiant with a brighter, whiter light. Even though you couldn’t see the water, you could tell by the light that Lake Michigan was there, just beyond the treeline.
As the weather starts to heat up, so do the trails. The paved Leelanau Trail spans a full 19 miles, flowing through orchards, wooded wildlife sanctuaries, wineries and open meadows – offering miles and miles worth of biking paradise. Every mile has something new to offer for both experienced cyclists and beginners alike. Ready to explore?