About the Park
Beautiful Traverse City State Park was established in 1920 on 16 acres of land along Grand Traverse Bay. Located just 2 miles from charming downtown Traverse City, one of Michigan’s most popular resort towns, the urban park opened after the local logging industry began to wane. In 1921 and again in 1939, additional parcels were added to increase the total size of the park to its current size of 47 acres. The land was once occupied by the Ottawa branch of the Algonquin Indians.
Situated among a hardwood and pine forest, the Traverse City State Park is open year round and features heated bathrooms. The 342-campsite park has a playground, picnic area, beach house, grills, and a quarter mile of sugar-sand beach on East Bay that is accessible by using the pedestrian walkway that crosses over the traffic on US-31. The 10.5-mile long TART (Traverse Area Recreation Trail) runs east to west directly behind the campground and offers recreation for hikers, bikers, dog walkers, stroller pushers, walkers, runners, inline skaters, and more. The park also includes two mini cabins for visitors who want to stay in the park but don’t want to sleep in a tent or RV. The cabins each feature two sets of bunk beds, electricity, lighting, heat, a table with chairs, and a nice fire pit area outside with a picnic table. A Recreation Passport is required to use the state park.
Traverse City by the Season
Included in “11 of America’s Best Small Towns Perfect for a Long Weekend Trip” by The Huffington Post, Traverse City, Michigan, has a lot going for it. Known as the Cherry Capital of the World, Traverse City has become much more than just a destination for the annual Cherry Festival. It is a quaint city filled with trendy boutique shopping, fine dining, miles of soft, sandy beaches, limitless opportunities for year-round outdoor activities, beautiful accommodations, nearby casinos, and friendly people. Since it is located on the 45th Parallel (midway between the North Pole and the equator), Traverse City enjoys four-season tourism, with millions of visitors flocking to the area every year.
Summer is the busiest season in Traverse City. People come from all over to enjoy the sun-kissed beaches and sapphire-blue waters of the Grand Traverse Bay and surrounding crystal-clear lakes. People visit the majestic Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire to climb the dunes and marvel at the bluffs that tower 450' above Lake Michigan, celebrate the week-long Cherry Festival every July, fish for salmon and trout in the local rivers, play golf on one of the championship golf courses, bike along the bay, eat cherry pie, visit a winery, brewery, or distillery, tour art galleries, and so much more. The average high in the summer is right around a perfect 80°, and daylight hangs on until after 10 p.m. Soak it up!
Fall is a magnificent time in Northern Michigan! A popular fall activity this time of year in Traverse City is to go on a self-guided fall color tour. Virginia Creeper and bittersweet add shades of crimson, gold, and scarlet to the landscape. Low-growing shrubs, like sumac and chokecherry, are beautiful in their striking orange and purple hues. Set against the crystal-blue waters of the Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan, this colorful display every fall is stunning. The 116-mile-long M-22 route along Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan was voted by USA Today as The Best Scenic Autumn Drive in the entire country in 2015! This is a must-see! Fall is also an awesome time of year to visit the 25 local wineries in and around the Leelanau Peninsula. Choose from one of many guided winery tours or go off on your own and tour at your leisure. Come for the day or stay for the weekend. You won’t be disappointed!
With an annual snowfall of 125”-145”, Northern Michigan is snow country! Whether you’re into downhill or cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, or tubing, you’ll find plenty to do in the winter wonderland that is Traverse City. The area ski resorts offer well-groomed slopes. Ice fishermen flock to the area lakes every winter to catch perch. There are tons of snowmobile trails in the area as well as great hills for sledding and tubing. A perfect ending to a day filled with fresh air and chilly winds is to unwind in one of the area's unique restaurants. Whether you feel like warming up by a roaring fire with a local glass of wine or having a beer in a home-town brewery, there’s something for every taste. Comfort foods abound, such as gourmet mac & cheese, and old-time favorites delight, like juicy burgers and malts. Get out and enjoy the snow!
Come spring, Traverse City starts to thaws out. Millions of apple and cherry blossoms erupt in fragrant beauty, making the rolling hills a magnificent sight. Frosty mornings often develop into afternoons filled with warm sunshine. This is the perfect time of year to layer up and hit the hiking and biking trails for some much needed fresh air. Or cast your line into a nearby lake or stream for some great fishing. Enjoy strolling along the downtown sidewalks and taking in the boutiques and quaint shops. Spring is a laid-back time in Traverse City. The crowds haven’t arrived yet, and the warm sun is making its welcome arrival. Think spring in Traverse City!
Beautiful beaches, tempting cuisine, amazing shopping, year-round outdoor activities … Traverse City has it all! Plan your trip to one of the “Most Beautiful Small Towns in America” today! You’ll fall in love with all that this charming town has to offer!