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Accessibility in Traverse City

The Traverse City region offers enjoyment and exploration opportunities for everyone. Our area continues to add and enhance accessible experiences, and Traverse City Tourism is dedicated to providing information so that travelers of all abilities can find and explore the places they love.

If you have questions while planning your trip or visiting the area, we recommend reaching out to Disability Network Northern Michigan, which provides resources, programs, and support for people with disabilities who live in or visit our community. Contact them directly at 231-922-0903 or info@disabilitynetwork.net.

Accessible Accommodations and Transportation


Accommodations

Find ADA accessible accommodations in the Hotels section of our website. Check under “Amenities” for details on accessibility. You can also find more information by visiting the hotel’s website or calling their reservations line.

Transportation with Cherry Capital Airport 

Traverse City (TVC) Cherry Capital Airport is fully accessible. The airport is all one level (with a slight incline from check-in and baggage claim to the airline gates), with no stairs, elevators, or escalators to navigate. TSA offers resources for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, and all airlines have wheelchairs upon request. Accessible seating, dining, and restrooms are available throughout the airport, and curbside pick-up makes it easy to get to your next destination.

Transportation with BATA

The Bay Area Transit Authority (BATA) offers wheelchair accessibility on all of their Link and Loop buses, which can take you all around northern Michigan. They also provide a 50% discount for riders with disabilities. View additional information about accessibility with BATA.

Accessible Attractions


Downtown Traverse City

Downtown TC is a great place to explore, with many accessible boutiques, restaurants, and businesses.

Things look a little different this summer, as Front Street has closed to vehicular traffic between Park and Union, meaning all sidewalks and the main roadway (except at cross-street intersections) are available for pedestrian use. View more accessibility information from Downtown Traverse City. 

Sara Hardy Farmers Market

The Sara Hardy Farmers Market is held in Lot B—aka the Farmers Market Lot—just off of Cass Street in downtown TC. The parking lot is fully paved, and accessible parking is available in an adjacent parking lot or along Cass Street.

The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park

Nestled near the beautiful Village at Grand Traverse Commons—formerly the Traverse City State Hospital—the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park are a must-visit. Wide pathways take you through the park (which is free to use) to see stunning seasonal displays native to northern Michigan and two beautifully preserved barns.

The Dennos Museum Center

One of Michigan’s most unique museums, the Dennos Museum Center is wheelchair accessible for all indoor exhibits and the outdoor sculpture park. (Free on-site wheelchairs are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.) The museum hosts one of the largest collections of Inuit art in the world, as well as rotating artists and exhibits. Their performance venue, Milliken Auditorium, is also wheelchair accessible.

The State Theatre & Bijou by the Bay

The State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay have made a commitment to accessibility, from parking and entrances to seating and restrooms. They also offer infrared sound amplification, Contacta Infoloop for telecoil hearing aids, and Sony Access Glasses, which allow moviegoers to see closed caption text superimposed onto the screen. View additional information about accessibility at both theaters. (Please note: As of July 15, the State Theatre is still closed in response to COVID-19.)

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons

The red-spired buildings of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons are well worth a visit while you’re in Traverse City. Explore the paved paths around the facility, visit the shopping Mercato (accessed via elevator), or dine at an outstanding restaurant. Although walking tours of the property are not wheelchair accessible due to stairs, tunnels, and changing terrain, private tours can be arranged for groups of nine or more.

Accessible Trails and Outdoor Activities

 

Area Trails

  • TART Trail: The Traverse Area Recreation Trail is a paved, 10.5-mile trail running through TC. Explore from Acme Township to downtown and beyond. The TART links up with The Leelanau Trail (paved, 22 miles, running through Leelanau County, the Boardman Lake Trail (paved, 4 miles, adjacent to Boardman Lake, and Three Mile Trail (paved, 2 miles, alongside Three Mile Road).
  • Arcadia Dunes: A beautiful nature preserve featuring dunes, forests, and Lake Michigan views, Arcadia Dunes offers the 1-mile universally accessible Overlook Trail as part of their Baldy Trail system.
  • Betsie Valley Trail: Located in beautiful Benzie County, this 22-mile trail is partially paved (other parts are crushed limestone). The trail is home to the free Joy 2 Ride program, which offers specially designed wheelchair bikes to help all users enjoy the trail.
  • Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve: Welcome to the home of the Grand Traverse Conservation District! Explore their accessible boardwalks throughout the reserve.
  • Grass River Natural Area: This trail, found in Antrim County, has 1.5 miles of boardwalk trails, including the Perception Pathway, which features Braille interpretive signs and a guiding rope.
  • Michigan Legacy Art Park: The outdoor art and sculpture park features the ADA-compliant Access for All Trail. They also have all-terrain golf carts to assist those with limited mobility.
  • Mission Point Lighthouse: Though the wooded trail system is not set up for accessibility, an accessible pathway runs from the parking lot to the lighthouse and beach for great views.
  • Ransom Lake Natural Area: Part of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, this trail includes a fishing dock, accessible trail, and accessible restrooms.
  • Timbers Recreation Area: Just outside Traverse City, Timbers Recreation Area boasts frontage on three lakes. It also has an all-new universal access trail that starts right from the main parking lot.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

There are so many ways to experience the beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The park has accessible campsites, overlooks, and facilities, as well as park brochures available in Braille. Here are a few ways to explore the dunes:

  • Sand wheelchairs are available to see the dunes up close on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail has 27 miles of paved surface to experience the park at the surrounding Michigan towns.
  • Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive has several accessible overlooks for stunning lake and dune views. (Please note, as of July 15, the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is only open on weekends in response to COVID-19.)

View more Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore accessibility information

Accessible Beaches and Boat Launches


Disability Network Northern Michigan has been hard at work making our beaches and waterways more accessible for travelers with disabilities. Their Access for Everyone program has developed beach walkways at the following locations:

  • Clinch Park Beach
  • Bryant Park Beach
  • Greilickville Harbor Park Beach
  • Veterans Memorial Park Beach
  • Elk Rapids Rotary Park Accessible Kayak Launch (in progress)

Michigan Water Trails also has a helpful map of universally accessible boat launches in the state.

For further information about accessibility in the state of Michigan, visit the Disability Resources page at Michigan.gov or Pure Michigan’s Accessibility Center.

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