From the Top Resort Course in America to one of the toughest tracks in the country, there’s some phenomenal golf to play when you come stay in the Traverse City area.

Families that love to hit the links will have a blast at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, which has courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, or Crystal Mountain, longtime host of the Michigan PGA Women’s Open. Just as impressive is A-Ga-Ming, which has four places to play including the 2023 Michigan Golf Course of the Year.

Amid all those accolades, what flies under the radar is that the Traverse City area is also home to the best miniature golf in Michigan! Right across U.S. 31 from the Grand Beach and Sugar Beach resort hotels is the nation’s original Pirate’s Cove Adventure Park.

Not only does the family-friendly destination offer two award-winning putt-putt courses that take you on pirate-themed journeys through caves, over bridges, and under waterfalls, but there’s also an 830-foot go-kart track, bumper boats with squirt guns, and an indoor game room, too. 

Whether you’re a good putter or not, there’s fun for everyone at Pirate’s Cove!

Take a closer look at these premier resorts in the Traverse City area and see which one makes a perfect getaway for your family this summer:

The Torch at A-Ga-Ming In Traverse City, MI

A-Ga-Ming Golf Resort

For a pure golf vacation, A-Ga-Ming is the place to go. The resort on the shores of Torch Lake in Kewadin, about 25 miles northeast of Traverse City, has two golf courses right on site plus two more a little farther north. Together, these four outstanding courses make up one of the finest stay-and-play opportunities in Michigan:

  • Golfweek named Sundance the Top Golf Resort Course in America in 2022 and it earned Michigan Golf Course of the Year honors in 2023 
  • The Torch is rated 4 stars by Golf Digest and features an iconic par-3 overlooking the splendor of its namesake Torch Lake
  • A-Ga-Ming also offers the 4.5-star Antrim Dells overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan about 15 minutes north of the resort lodging and, a few miles farther along U.S. 31, the pristine Charlevoix Country Club

An awesome thing about A-Ga-Ming is that you can pair great places to play with spectacular places to stay. Choose from one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom accommodations right along the Torch and Sundance courses including condos and townhomes with private decks, grills, and breathtaking views of Torch Lake.

With the variety of golf courses and lodging options, the stay-and-play packages at A-Ga-Ming are amazing. Plus, wherever you play, you’re never far from a tasty place to eat. Duffers Bar and Grill is even within walking distance of all the A-Ga-Ming accommodations.

Crystal Mountain Summer Resort

Crystal Mountain Resort 

For a family vacation where golf is just one of many things to do, check out Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, about 30 miles south of Traverse City. A popular ski destination in the winter, Crystal Mountain offers different kinds of family fun all summer long.

In addition to two championship golf courses, the resort is home to Michigan’s only alpine slide, which sends you speeding down a 1,600-foot curved track with tunnels, dips, and high-bank turns! The Park at Water’s Edge features a gigantic outdoor swimming pool and water playground along with a rock climbing wall and high ropes course. There’s also the award-winning Crystal Spa for full-body rejuvenation and the fascinating Michigan Legacy Art Park with wooded walking trails through an outdoor gallery of sculptures. 

Crystal Mountain has more than 260 places to stay with space for 2 to 14 guests and, in some cases, pets as well. Options range from hotel rooms in the heart of the village to mountaintop townhomes, cottages in the woods, condos, bungalows, and more. 

The resort also has plenty of food for every taste, from pizza and subs to fine dining and a coffee and wine bar, too. Plus, there’s a specialty market right on site where you can stock the kitchen in your room.

Grand Traverse Resort Blossoms

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

The 900 acres of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa are home to 54 holes of golf including The Bear, designed by the great Jack Nicklaus and ranked as the 18th toughest course in America, and The Wolverine, designed by Hall of Famer Gary Player. There also are lots of things to do off the course. 

Here’s a rundown of just some of the resort amenities:

  • Private beach club with paddleboards, kayaks, jet skis and more
  • Spa Grand Traverse with a comprehensive menu of relaxing treatments for your hair, skin, nails, and body
  • Two outdoor swimming pools and two indoor pools including a water playground and slide 
  • Five indoor and four outdoor tennis courts as part of a 100,000-square-foot fitness center and health club
  • A Gallery of Shops including eight unique retail stores and the Marketplace with a variety of grab-and-go sandwiches and salads along with baked goods and sweet treats
  • The Den Entertainment Center with arcade games, virtual reality experiences, axe throwing, boutique bowling, and an escape room

The iconic 17-story glass tower at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa offers rooms with stunning views. Other resort accommodations include hotel rooms, suites, condos with private patios or balconies, and resort homes for larger families or groups.

On-site restaurants offer everything from beach bites and pub fare to fine dining in venues such as a golf side patio and a tower-topping lounge with panoramic views.

Grand Beach Resort

Grand Beach & Sugar Beach Resort Hotels

Located right on East Grand Traverse Bay with more than 300 feet of waterfront, the Grand Beach Resort Hotel and its sister property, the Sugar Beach Resort Hotel, combine to create one incredible destination in the heart of Traverse City. Both buildings have 100 rooms including many with patios or balconies right on the beach. The properties offer one- and two-bedroom accommodations as well as family suites and luxury villas with space for up to 10 guests.

Other resort amenities include a large, heated indoor swimming pool and spa, fitness center, arcade, and complimentary breakfast. There also are watersports rentals available right on site so you can get out on the bay in a paddleboard, kayak, jet ski, pontoon, or ski boat. Plus, the TART Trail runs right nearby giving you easy access by bike to downtown Traverse City’s charming Front Street.

Along with abundant natural recreation on the water side of the Grand Beach and Sugar Beach resort hotels, across the street is Pirate’s Cove. You can play miniature golf on the iconic Blackbeard’s Challenge, get behind the wheel of a go-kart on the Billy Bones Race Track, and engage in bumper boat battles, too. There’s also Blackbeard’s Den Game Room with video games and prizes.

So many other family-friendly attractions are also nearby such as Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where you can scale the towering Dune Climb, the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, GT Butterfly House and Bug Zoo, Traverse City Pit Spitters minor league baseball games, and more.