Dynamic Variation:


You dive into the refreshing water, open your eyes and to your surprise, no salt! Michigan’s Great Lakes possess one fifth of the world’s freshwater, and in Traverse City we love to share our portion with others. Ride the waves, float on the current, test your balance on a SUP or feel the thrill of a jet ski, the options are all available!

Dreaming about your visit? View our places to stay on the water and start planning your adventurous trip today. 


No vacation to Traverse City is complete without spending time on the water! Whether you’re looking for a short or long trip on a river, paddling in Lake Michigan, or tying it into a brew tour through downtown. If you do not have your own kayaks, never fear, there are plenty of places in the area that have them available (and many will also transport them for you).

Kayak Brew Tour

If you are looking to explore the local beer scene in Traverse City and also want to try to get some outdoor recreation in, this is your golden opportunity! The kayak brew tour is an excellent way to spend part of your day. The tours last around four hours depending on the speed of your groups’ bike pedaling, kayak paddling and time spent at the breweries. All tours also come with a guide to answer questions and help you find your way.


Jet Ski

Whether you bring your own or rent one during your stay, taking out jet skis on the water is the premier way to truly enjoy the beauty of our fresh water. There are a few options for renting in Traverse City and there are plenty of areas that you can choose to start your jet skiing adventure, whether that be in the Bay or outside of Traverse City on Lake Michigan.


Surfing on the Great Lakes? You bet! It has increased in popularity recently as the Traverse City area and Benzie county have become bigger travel destinations. Especially in the fall through early spring months, Lake Michigan becomes a superb spot to surf as the winds are higher and the swells are large. There are many shops in the area that sell boards and have lessons available for those who have never tried the sport.

Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP)

Think you can balance yourself on a board? It really depends on the waves in the water. Mornings and evenings are perfect for SUP and if you get your timing right, you might even see a sunrise or sunset. Just like other water sports activities, you can rent and buy boards at many places in the area. Did we mention it’s also a great upper-body exercise?


Wakeboarding and waterskiing are very popular in the calm waters on the Grand Traverse Bay and the nearby lakes in the region. There are many places to rent equipment in the area as well, making it easy to experience during your visit. If wakeboarding and waterskiing are difficult for you, kneeboarding may be a good substitute.

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