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Free Things To Do in Traverse City

If you have extra time, Traverse Area Recreation Trail (TART) is worthwhile.
  • #5
    Things to do in Traverse City
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    #5 in Traverse City
    Beaches, Free, Parks and Gardens, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free, Parks and Gardens, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    You can't visit any of the Great Lakes without heading to the beach. Traverse City's location right along the waters of Lake Michigan gives visitors that opportunity. If you don't feel like making the trek to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, consider an afternoon at Clinch Park. Clinch Park is Traverse City's most popular beach. And for good reason. Not only is the beach park located smack dab in the middle of the city, but it also offers a lengthy stretch of shore with beautiful views of the nearby peninsulas. The park is also equipped with convenient amenities, such as restrooms, a snack bar, bike racks, picnic tables, a grassy park and during the summer, lifeguards. It's the perfect place to take a dip or simply gaze upon the beauty of Lake Michigan. 

    Recent visitors enjoyed their time at Clinch Park, complimenting the beautiful lake views, the available amenities and close proximity to downtown Traverse City. Travelers were also pleased with the park's clean beaches and publicly shared spaces. Families noted that this park is perfect for the kiddos thanks to the calm waters and abundant amenities. 

  • #6
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    #6 in Traverse City
    Free, Cafes, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area, Recreation, Shopping
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Cafes, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area, Recreation, Shopping
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The beating heart of Traverse City is its downtown and Front Street is where it all happens. You can find just about everything along Front Street or adjacent, including plenty of hotels and local shops, restaurants and entertainment options. A handful of the city's hottest beer spots can be found along this thoroughfare too. Plus, you are just blocks away from the lake as well as city beaches, including Clinch Park and Volleyball Beach.

    The area is home to a variety of boutiques selling everything from fudge and cheese to custom jewelry and dog treats. Dining options are just as diverse with everything independent coffee shops to seafood spots, burger joints and international cuisine. Don't skip the Grand Traverse Pie Company, where you can sample pie made from locally grown cherries. For entertainment, there are two movie theaters, an opera house and the Old Town Playhouse, which features shows by local performers. If fun and games are more your speed, hit up The Coin Slot arcade bar and end your night at the 123 Speakeasy.   

  • #8
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    #8 in Traverse City
    Free, Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of the best ways to see Traverse City is via the Traverse Area Recreation Trail, otherwise known as TART. TART is a network of connected, multiuse trails that cover ground in both Grand Traverse County, the nearby Leelanau Peninsula and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. These trails, which are primarily used for biking, pass through the center of town (Tart in Town trail), along the water and to natural attractions, including Clinch Park and Traverse City State Park (TART). You could also use the TART system to ride through the beautiful wooded areas that can be found along the Boardman Lake Trail, the Boardman River Trail and the Leelanau Trail, the latter of which ends at Suttons Bay, another small, charming lakefront town. Plus, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore also has its own TART trail that covers 20 miles of terrain. 

    Recent visitors who utilized the TART system had great things to say about this Traverse City asset. People were pleased with how well-maintained and well-marked the trails were. Others remarked that it's important to study up on your chosen trail before you take it on – some travelers were surprised that some trails had very steep inclines while others were disappointed that certain trails weren't scenic enough. Some visitors also noted that trails can get crowded, so be sure to time your ride or hike outside of peak hours. TART doesn't have any set hours and there is no admission fee required to ride along its pathways. For more information on Traverse Area Recreation Trail, visit the official website.

  • View all Photos
    Beaches, Free, Cafes, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area, Hiking, Recreation, Shopping, Sightseeing, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free, Cafes, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/Area, Hiking, Recreation, Shopping, Sightseeing, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • View all Photos
    Beaches, Free, Parks and Gardens, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free, Parks and Gardens, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

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