Visiting Traverse City by water, via boat is the best way to experience the second-largest city on Lake Michigan. Entering Traverse Bay and traveling south through the west bay is a journey as the bay is almost 30 miles long. I recommend docking your boat at Duncan L Clinch marina which is located at the south end of the west bay and is within walking distance to the downtown area. The marina has an expansive amount of docking on the walls inside the marina with ample power and freshwater. Docking on the wall is first come first serve and no reservations.
Just off the dock is a beach, splash pad for kids, concession stand, kayak, and canoe rental as well as a tunnel under US31 to the downtown area shopping and restaurants. There are many great restaurants to choose from including family favorites; Red Ginger, Mama Lu’s, Georgia’s and a short walk away is Bubba’s and the food trucks.
Traverse City shopping is a great experience because of the variety offered by all of the many stores. There are some traditional tourist-type stores but Traverse City’s downtown offer so much more. If you’re in need of groceries you can call for an Uber and be taken a short distance to a Michigan-owned and very large super grocery store named; Meijer. If you’re in town and need a haircut, check out Jude’s Barbershop – Traverse City.
Traverse City is now known as a great destination for wine with several dozen wineries with accompanying tasting rooms. You can spend a few hours doing a wine tour or a whole weekend.
While staying in Traverse City on a boat, your stay wouldn’t be complete without spending a day anchored of Marian Island (Power Island). Many boaters anchor off the east side of the island and spend the day swimming, kayaking and just enjoying the sun.
If you visit Traverse City during the film festival you can walk a few short steps from the dock to the area in Clinch park where they display a free movie each night on a very large blow-up screen. There’s also a large concession stand with all the traditional theatre concessions; popcorn, pop, candy, and much more. Hundreds of people come out each night for this amazing movie event.
There are many great places to stop by water on your way to Traverse City or when you are leaving. Sutton’s Bay is very scenic and has a quaint downtown area near the water with a few good eating spots as well as several stores for shopping. The Vineyards Inn on Suttons Bay is a nice stop for a glass of wine and a good meal with an amazing view of the bay. You’ll need to anchor out in the bay and take a dingy into shore. Northport is another great stop in the west bay. The marina is next to a small well kept public beach and a few steps to great shopping and great food.
Overall Traverse City Michigan is a great place to visit by land but it’s even better by water because you are within walking distance of so many things to do and see. Of all the great stops on Lake Michigan, Traverse City is one of the best.