Traverse City, (my favorite city in the world) lies on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bays and is the largest city in the 21-county of Northern Michigan. If you are heading “Up North” and want to “explore some of Northern Michigan’s Best Beaches“, then make sure to read our article.
TC is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States reportedly, however rumors swirl about the Cherry Festival bringing in cherries from Washington for the National Cherry Festival…. The festival attracts at least 500,000 tourists for a full week in July. Talk about “fudgy central”. If you dont know what the term “fudgy” means, it means you’re not a local. People visiting always seem to stop at some of the fudge shops that are scattered across TC.
French voyagers named the city after the Grand Traverse Bay as “La Grande Traverse.” It means the long crossing across the mouth of the bay. In 1839, Rev Peter Doughtery started the first permanent settlement in Traverse City.
The Best Beaches in Traverse City
Traverse City draws tourist because of its many spectacular beaches, crystal clear waters, amazing hotels and world class restaurants. To make your next vacation easier, we compiled a list of the city’s best beaches.
Traverse City State Park
The beach is located just two miles west of downtown TC. It stretches a quarter mile of beautiful sandy beach on Grand Traverse Bay. This place also offers a great camping site with at least 300 camping wooded setting spots.It also happens to run adjacent to the Pinestead Reef resort which is one of my favorite places.
To get there, just cross a bridge across US-31, to reach the camping ground.
Ok, maybe I’m a little biased on this one. I grew up right across the street from this beach, so it will always have a special place in my heart. Located within a few minutes’ away from downtown, Bryant Park sits on the West Grand Traverse Bay. The beach faces west, so it is always great to catch the sunsets here. Situated at the base of Old Mission Peninsula, it is also a great place for kids to play under the pine trees.
Bryant Park is super close to, Bardon’s Wonder Freeze, a mid-century shop that was my favorite place growing up to get ice cream after a baseball game at the Civic’s Center.
Popular because it’s gorgeous after just having a major facelift a few years ago, Clinch Park is a “fudgy” and local favorite.
Since its right downtown, you can head there after that shopping spree, or after indulging in some beverages or food.You can burn those calories (from dining in downtown TC’s cafes) in several activities on the beach. Clink Park offers kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP), and canoes rentals.
Although parking is not easily accessible, except for some spots scattered across the marina,you can park along Cass Street and cross the underpass to get to Clink Park. Cass Street is located on the north side of West Grandview Parkway.
East Bay Park
East Bay Park is great to bring along your toddlers along because the beach is shallow than most of the beach in TC. Perfect for those little kids to splash and enjoy the warm water and lifeguards watch the beach during the summer. It is located on the bottom of the East Grand Traverse. The beach also has a playground and restrooms.
West End Beach
If you want to party in TC, then the West End Beach sure top the list. It’s hard to really differentiate what is Clinch Park beach and West End Beach, because they are essentially the same spot. But the maria is what separates West End Beach from Clinch Park.
If you see people drinking beer and sporting backwards ball caps, then you are probably at West End Beach. This place offers several sand volleyball courts, an open space for Frisbees or to play catch. The beach is also buzzing with people lying along its mile-ling sweet sandy beach. The Volley ball section of the beach is populated with teens and young adults. Boaters often park their boats and “Red Neck Yacht Club” it up for days.
West End beach is literally across the street from restaurants, cafes, and shops. So, you could just grab a bite and go back to swim in no time. The beach is located west of Division Street and on the north side of Grandview Parkway.
Now, if boating is your life, then head on to Power Island. This place offers almost everything for the adventurer. Power Island has great wooded hikes, old-school camping sites, and sandy beaches.
Also, it’s great to spend time some quality time with your loved ones since the scenic island is secluded from the busy noise of the city. The island is located 3.5 miles from Bowers Harbor on Old Mission Peninsula.
Haserot Beach is a place also known for toned down ambiance. This place will give you a quieter beach time since people rarely go here. Haserot Beach is located on Old Mission Harbor and features a playground, picnic area, boat launch and restrooms.
You need to drive a little farther from downtown TC to visit, but trust me it’s worth the drive. Kite boarders love this spot. It is located north of Traverse City about 18 miles via M-37.
North Bar Lake
If you want to go in an off beaten path to have a pristine quiet time on the beach, then North Bar Lake is a perfect destination for you. It’s a 40-minute drive from downtown TC but the Sleeping Bear Dunes is one exceptional place to visit.
To get there you can drive via M-72 about 30 miles from downtown Traverse City. You also need a park permit to enter the beach but you can also pay once you get there.
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