Looking into our crystal ball this weekend at the Traverse City area forecast we see SUNSHINE! Great news for Northern Michigan vacation and stay-cation lovers! Even so … the air temps are going to be a wear-a-light-jacket-60s and the Lake Michigan water temperatures are a scary, instant-hypothermic 30’s … so don’t even think about swimming (please click here to read what the Coast Guard says about the danger of these water temps). So, what to do when playing in the water is off limits? Tons of things! Here’s a taste of cool weather fun in the Traverse City area, from tasting Northern Michigan wine to biking through Northern Michigan’s outdoors to exploring the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Leelanau County:
1) Wine Tour Leelanau Peninsula
When in doubt drink—in the scenery of rolling, bucolic, water-splashed Leelanau Peninsula. Along the way, stop into any of the peninsula’s 25 wineries for a taste of the house special. Award-winning wines, exquisite settings, hip tasting room—this tour is a sure kill chill. After you’ve designated your driver, click for what you need to know to plan your wine tasting tour. Click to find out more.
2) Wine Tour Old Mission
Ditto on what we said above—except with just eight stellar wineries set on the smaller (but no less stunningly beautiful) Old Mission peninsula. P.S. Don’t forget that DD! Plan your tour here.
3) Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes
No bathing suit required to jump in the car and tour the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Relax and enjoy some of the most exquisite freshwater-and-dune vistas in the world. Plenty of places to stretch your legs, snap photos and read interpretive signs along the way. Here is all you need to know about making the most of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
4) Paddle the Crystal River in Glen Arbor
Yep, we did say to beware of the water this Memorial Weekend—and we mean it with only a few exceptions: one being paddling the adorably shallow Crystal River in Glen Arbor. Accidental capsizing is rare on this river that meanders through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and on the off chance you did flip a kayak, anyone over 5 feet tall isn’t going to be wet much over his or her waste. Here’s more on paddling the Crystal River.
5) Bike the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail
This stupendous trail stretches from Glen Arbor to the Sleeping Bear Dune Climb—and by mid-summer will go all the way to Empire. Cool days are perfect for a ride through the woods! Pick up the trail at the Sleeping Bear Dune Climb or Glen Haven (where you’ll need a vehicle pass to leave your car) or Glen Arbor on S Forest Haven Drive. Find bike rentals at Crystal Outfitters in Glen Arbor.
6) Explore the Village at Grand Traverse Commons
Explore 63 acres of forested trails and boutique shopping, eating, drinking and pampering in and around the stunning last century Victorian Italianate buildings at the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. The boutique-ing starts in Building 50’s Mercato and then spills out all over this lovely campus. Find this one-of-a-kind enclave at Division and 10th on Traverse City’s west side. Read more about shopping in Traverse City.
7) Sail the Manitou
A cool spring breeze only makes a 2-hour sail on the schooner Manitou of the Traverse Tall Ship Co. into an adventure. This replica of a 19th-century schooner cruises Grand Traverse Bay three times a day: choose from a Noon Sail, afternoon Moomers Ice Cream Sail or Evening Sail. Saturday and Sundays only this Memorial Weekend. Find out more about it here.