All aboard! Take a two-hour cruise in Traverse City’s gorgeous Grand Traverse Bay on The Discovery, offering controlled indoor seating, outdoor seating, beverages and snacks. Learn more about Discovery Cruises and how you can get your tickets today.

The discovery, a 65-foot vessel designed to look like a 20th-century steamboat, launched its first sightseeing and happy hour cruises on Grand Traverse Bay in June, departing from its dock at Discovery Pier (13170 S. West Bay Shore Dr.). During the Bay Sightseeing Cruise, Captain Harley, who began his boating career in Traverse City in the early ’70s, shares an informative narration on TC’s past and present. Did you know there were hardly any trees in Traverse City in the early 1900s due to logging? Or that Henry Ford used to own Power Island? And how did Grand Traverse Bay get its name? You’ll find out! In addition, all public cruises will offer a snack bar with local options like pasties and cherry pie, plus traditional goodies such as hot dogs and ice cream bars. A full-service bar will have a variety of wines, beers and mixed drinks.


Related Read: How to Play on East & West Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City.


“Our goal here at Discovery Cruises is to connect the community and its visitors to one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world; the core of what Traverse City is really all about,” says Cruise Director Tammy Hoy. “With our passion to protect the bay for many generations to come, and in working with our environmental partners, we want to be a resource for the public to not only enjoy time on the water but to also learn about the water.”


The boat also operates as a venue for private events such as weddings, marketing itself as Traverse City’s only floating event center. It has two fully enclosed decks and outdoor observation areas to soak up the sun or to say “I do” with the bay as your backdrop. The Discovery is U.S. Coast Guard- certified to carry up to 150 passengers.


“The lower deck is climate controlled which can be a nice alternative to our region’s hot and humid summer days,” Tammy adds. “We have versatile seating arrangements for any type of event with chairs and tables for all guests and can accommodate most catering functions, including formal buffet setups or cocktail receptions. Formal or casual, we can just about do it all!”


View cruise schedules and find more information about private events on the official Discovery Cruises website.

Find this article and more in the August 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner