Your Northern Michigan Summer Bucket List from Traverse Magazine

The Traverse Magazine & MyNorth staff share their favorite things to do Up North during summer. From wine tasting to exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes to rock hunting and enjoying a summer bonfire, break out your Northern Michigan summer bucket list, and a pen, too!

Drift-fish the Manistee River, especially through the National Forest section west of Grayling, where there are hardly any houses and wilderness prevails. —Jeff Smith, Vice President & Editor

Explore Fishtown, hike Pyramid Point, and play bocce and enjoy a glass of chilled white wine at Glen Arbor Wines. —Lissa Edwards, Managing Editor

Norte’s weekly neighborhood bike ride. Meet up at F&M Park on Wednesday evenings for a leisurely bike ride through Traverse City (about 3 miles or so) to Central Neighborhood, Grand Traverse Commons, along West Bay (pause a moment to take in Wednesday’s sailboat races on the bay!) and back to a downtown watering hole (usually Little Fleet or Workshop Brewing) for refreshments. Some weeks there are a few dozen pedalers. Other times there are more than a hundred. Regardless, it’s a fantastic way to spend a relaxing hour basking in the esprit de corps. Norte’s slogan: Bike Mas! —Jodi Simpson, Circulations Manager

Hunt for blue stones in Leland (I love North Beach and Van’s) before heading to Village Cheese Shanty for a North Shore. End the day with friends at Hop Lot Brewing Co. in Suttons Bay. —Carly Simpson, Web Editor

A weekend on South Mantou is always an adventure and a family favorite (day trips also available). Leave the phone at home and explore the island—swim, hike, fish, nap, repeat! This is where campfire cooking becomes creative! Celebrate a successful weekend when you get off the boat—a Chubby Mary and chowder at The Cove never tasted so good. —Gail Snable, Art Director

Visit Petobego Beach and grab dinner at Pearl’s New Orlean’s Kitchen in Elk Rapids —Libby Stallman, Office Manager

Stay active and still have fun in Glen Arbor! First, wear the dogs out hiking Alligator Hill. Then, cool off with some cold beers and cool water kayaking on the Crystal River. Lastly, cap it off with dinner on the porch over at Boone Docks! —Chris Hunt, Director of Sales

Wake up on a Saturday morning and head down to Brew where they’ll whip up a fantastic mocha then head over to the Farmer’s Market. Talk with the local vendors and get great food for the week. By the time you have grabbed some Boss Mouse Cheese, gotten cultured by Courtney at Cultured Komboch, and snagged the last piece of slipper bread from Patisserie Amie, downtown Traverse City is starting to wake up. You can stroll up and down the street people watching until you get hungry enough for lunch at Poppycocks. —Meg Lau, Account Executive

Take the M-119 scenic drive through the Tunnel of Trees for a beautiful sunset dinner at Legs Inn in Cross Village. (See photos of the M119 in fall!—Cyndi Ludka, Account Executive

I look forward to barefoot frisbee in the yard with a cold beer, Bob Marley tunes, and bonfires at Good Harbor Beach—Drew Warner, Account Executive

I hope to spend many afternoons on the blue waters of Crystal Lake with lots of friends. On the days that we can’t be “lakein’ it” then we plan to take lots of afternoon drives to check out the cool small towns and beaches in neighboring counties. We’ll also be biking the trails leading from Crystal Lake into Frankfort (Betsie Valley Trail). Of course, shopping is a must! —Ann Gatrell, Account Executive 

Bike and a swim! Take the bike trail from Traverse City to Suttons Bay (TART Trail connects to Leelanau Trail) and have lunch in Suttons Bay—there are a variety of choices—and go for a swim at the beach in downtown Suttons Bay. Do the same thing from downtown Glen Arbor to Good Harbor Bay Beach on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. —Jill Hayes, Account Executive 

I try to see a movie at Honor’s Cherry Bowl Drive-In every summer. Diner food and a double feature under the stars is the perfect end to a summer day. —Rachel Watson, Graphic Designer

Walk to the food trucks at The Little Fleet for good eats before heading down to the pier. —Breanne Kerner, Junior Graphic Designer

Camp at Tahquamenon Falls with a trip to the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in St. Ignace. Visit Mackinac Island early in the year to see the lilacs. Head to Frankfort for the Oliver Art Center and Stormcloud Brewing, inspired by the Red Hot Best list. We’re hoping to do an overnight stay on Beaver Island this year! And several restaurants including Dockside in Alden, Cafe Sante in Boyne City, and both Knot Just a Bar locations in Omena and Bay Harbor, when it’s warm enough to sit outside on their decks. —Rachel North, Marketing Director

More fun ideas!

Catch a movie at Bijou by the Bay!

Spend a day exploring Mackinac Island by bike.

Watch the sunset in Charlevoix.

Meet new friends!

Climb to the top of South Manitou Island Lighthouse. What a view!

This article was updated March 20, 2018, with current staff picks.

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