Soak up the last bit of a summer Up North on a Northern Michigan vacation. From Suttons Bay to Traverse City to Harbor Springs, here are 10 Northern Michigan vacation ideas with plenty of Northern Michigan events and ideas for August.
Catch a falling star: Magic! That’s the feeling of sailing on a tall-ship schooner as twilight turns to night and nearly 100 meteors an hour are streaking overhead. The Suttons Bay–based Inland Seas launches from Northport on a 9–11 pm sail August 12, the height of the Perseids meteor shower. Schoolship.org.
Camp and paddle: Every bend, every rock face yields a new sight and fresh color palette as you paddle Lake Superior sandstone cliffs along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Launching the daytrip is easier than ever from your base at the new Uncle Ducky’s Paddlers Village. The rental pop-up campers, platform tents, cabins or yurts let you take off from a sandy beach steps from your bed. Adventure options even include a Grand Island paddle in a jumbo-sized 26-foot-long voyageur canoe. Camp rentals from $99 (kayak rentals and paddling excursions extra); PaddlersVillage.com.
Cruise, then dine: Act like elegant vacationers of old on a newly built replica of the yacht-like Pointer Boat. From 1930 to 1962 the Pointer ferried Little Traverse Bay resorters to Harbor Point, and the boat’s doppelgänger is now used for harbor cruises. The original boat was stored in what’s since become the elegant Pointer Room of Harbor Springs’ Stafford’s Pier restaurant—settle in for seafood chowder or oak-planked whitefish. PointerBoat.com.
Explore the Inland Waterway: Scan the shoreline for wildlife oft spotted along the Crooked River near Alanson—easy, especially with a captain doing the driving on the new-this-summer cruises. Just $20 for 1 hour trips offered five times daily on a 40-foot pontoon. RiverBoatToursMi.com.
Soo Locks and supper: The massive engineering marvel of the Soo Locks remains the centerpiece of this Sault Ste. Marie adventure, but dinner elevates the experience when you book a Soo Locks Dinner Cruise like the Aug. 1 Caribbean cruise (jerk chicken, spicy pork); Aug. 8 is German cuisine, and other themes follow. SooLocks.com.
Sleep on board: The lapping of water along the dock will rock you to sleep in your lower-level bunk on Traverse City’s Manitou, which operates a Tall Ship B&B on its schooner. Many day-sail options as well, with themes like regional wines, microbrews and ice cream. TallShipSailing.com.
Boat and Bike: Make Shanty Creek your base for a pontoon trip on pretty Torch Lake via resort partner Dewitt Marine. Keep summer all about living easy by renting Shanty’s battery-powered bikes—a nice electrical assist up the hills of Antrim County. Packages start at $72 (pontoon and bikes extra). ShantyCreek.com.
Kayak adventures: Paddling on the Boyne River is among the newest off-hill outing options at Boyne Mountain. Outfitters pick you up at the lodge, but you’re on your own for the river trip that ends with a leisurely float into Lake Charlevoix. Take the relaxation further at Solace Spa, and order up this season’s new watermelon cooler body treatment and pedicure. Boyne.com.
Sleep and paddle: Start with a room at Borcher’s Au Sable Canoe Livery in Grayling (river lullaby included); end with a canoe or kayak trip down the pristine Au Sable River. CanoeBorchers.com. Catch a wave: Have fun trying with a surfing lesson on Empire Beach, offered three times a week through Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak ($40 includes board rental). SBSurfandKayak.com.