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Tour of Sleeping Bear
The Lake Michigan coastal communities of Beulah and Traverse City are primed for a journey of discovery. Don't miss the host of must-see attractions, lakeside views, and outdoor adventure at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Grab your keys and begin your “Top of the Mitten” adventure in Traverse City – the Cherry Capital of the World – set at the southern edge of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan.
Traverse City is conveniently located along U.S. Highway 31 – easily accessible from northern communities on Interstate 75 like Mackinaw City and even Sault Saint Marie to the Great White North.
While traversing Traverse City, do as the locals do, and take in the culture on Front Street. Many of the city’s best local restaurants, boutiques, bars, and historic sites are found along this bustling boulevard.
Front Street slices through downtown, stretching from Northwestern Michigan College to the Boardman River. Don’t miss annual events on Front Street like the Traverse City Winter Comedy Festival.
Traveling fans of fine arts would be remiss not to make a stop at the Michigan Artists Gallery. Coming from the north, take U.S. 31 alongside Grand Traverse Bay – the gallery is located off of Park Street in downtown Traverse City.
Once there, enjoy the collection of award-winning art from some of Michigan’s best regional artists. The gallery often hosts family-friendly events, like the Traverse City Art Walk and Friday Night Live, so plan your itinerary accordingly.
Given Traverse City’s proximity to Grand Traverse Bay, lakeside recreation and adventure is plentiful. Be sure to stop at Clinch Park, found at the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay – conveniently just off of Michigan Highway 72 on Union Street.
The park features seemingly endless amounts of fun, including 1,500 feet of sandy beach, the Duncan L Clinch Marina, fishing piers, and more. Bring your bicycle and take a trip along the Traverse Area Recreation Trail for more adventure – there are miles and miles of trails crisscrossing the city and alongside the bay.
After you top-off your tour of Traverse City, hop back on U.S. 31 and make the short drive south into the Village of Beulah.
The drive is less than an hour, but if you’re feeling adventurous, take the scenic route – south on Michigan Highway 37 through Manistee National Forest, reconnecting with U.S. 31 via MI-55. While this may double your drive time, the scenery along this route is well worth the trip.
One of Beulah’s top attractions, St. Ambrose Cellars serve as a one-stop for food, fun, drinks, and events native to the region. The winery is found just a short drive east of Beulah along Homestead Road.
Be sure and try one of St. Ambrose’s famous estate or draft meads or fine wines while relaxing in the Tasting Room. St. Ambrose is also known as a hub for live music and fun-filled events each weekend.
One of the village’s most cultured attractions, the Live For Art Gallery may be small, but it certainly packs plenty of creativity and discovery. Peruse the collection of paintings, sculptures, photography, and other mediums during your visit.
The gallery is located on the corner of Prospect Avenue and Benzie Boulevard on the south side of town. Just a short walk from Crystal Lake – you can’t miss it! You’ll also be just steps away from Crystal Lake from nearly anywhere in Beulah. The Crystal Lake Beach offers hundreds of feet sandy shores and pristine waters, as well as park pavilions, a boat launch, and plenty fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities.
Of course, what would the Sleeping Bear Tour be without a stop at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore? Located just north of Beulah, near the town of Empire, the lakeshore features unmistakable scenery, stretching along the northwestern shoreline form Platte Bay to Good Harbor Bay.
Enjoy outdoor recreation along the lakeshore, including hiking the hundreds of miles of trails, biking the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, climbing the iconic dunes, taking a drive on the seven-mile scenic drive, or visiting North or South Manitou Islands. Better yet, pack a canoe or kayak and enjoy the refreshing waters of Platte River or Glen Lake.