On the hottest summer days, enjoy a summertime treat on one of the many bodies of water around Traverse City. Check out some of the best places to float a boat or catch a ride and sail away on a nautical dream. Your Northern Michigan vacation isn’t complete until you’ve gone on a Traverse City boating excursion.

Charter Fishing on Grand Traverse Bay

With nearly 300 square miles, a depth of 600 feet and an abundance of lake trout, brown trout, steelhead and salmon the bay offers fisherman all the species of desire. Try these Traverse City charters: Big Kahuna, Daydreamer, Showtime, Prime Time, Hawg-Tide, Traverse City Bass or Reel Fun.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding

Paddling the shoreline of Traverse Bay is a summer classic. But if you’re up for something new, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. These outfitters will set you up: Sunset Water SportsThe River Traverse City, Paddle TC and TC Watersports.


A sunset cruise aboard this catamaran tour boat is by far one of the most memorable ways to experience the bay. Choose from one of the Nauti-Cat’s four daily cruises, which range from 1.5 to 2.5 hours long, depending on the time of day. Or rent the whole boat for you and up to 40 of your closest friends. A cash bar and bathroom are onboard.


Float up to 80 feet above Grand Traverse Bay for a seagull’s view of one of the biggest, cleanest, freshwater bays on earth. Try East Bay Parasail, Grand Traverse Parasail or Traverse Bay Parasail for solo and tandem flights.


If you love speed and don’t want to miss an inch of Grand Traverse Bay’s 300 square miles, a powerboat is a must. Sail & Power Boat Rental has ski boats, pontoons and jet ski—plus all the kneeboarding, tubing and waterskiing paraphernalia you’ll need for a perfect afternoon.


A sailboat is still one of the most nostalgic and romantic ways to experience the water. Bay Breeze Charters has a fleet of more than 20 yachts you can rent. No captain? They’ll set you up. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Tall Ship Manitou

This 114-foot-long, 1800s-replica schooner seems to have cruised straight out of a Great Lakes history book. The deck beneath your feet, the sails billowing above: unforgettable. Choose from three daily tours (noon, afternoon and the popular evening cruise), each two hours long. Or stay for the adventurous overnight trip, the Floating Bed and Breakfast.

More Traverse City Boating