Where to stay in Traverse City

When we travel, we tend to choose low-cost chain hotels that offer a free breakfast with a overnight stay priced below $100 per night. That’s because we are active travelers who spend little time in the hotel. Generally we’re there long enough to sleep and eat and then off for another traveling adventure.

But sometimes the hotel itself is a worth travel adventure. That’s true of two resorts we visited in Traverse City, Michigan-the Cherry Tree Inn and Suites and the Great Wolf Lodge.

The Cherry Tree Inn and Suites on the East Bay offers nicely furnished rooms, comfy beds, soft pillows and (best of all) a separate room for parents. In the other room, our kids slept comfortably on a trundle daybed that forms two separate twin beds. I could only wonder why so many hotels insist on putting those uncomfortable sofa beds in their suites when this works so much better for everyone.

Since the Cherry Tree is right on the water, it comes complete with a small groomed beach, noticeably missing those painful small rocks that line most of the other northern Lake Michigan beaches. And with the bath-water warm water only knee-high for some 500 feet off the shore, it’s shallow enough for younger kids to play safely.

We also spent two nights at the Great Wolf Lodge, a good choice for bad weather days. Our kids spent a little time at the huge indoor waterpark, but my Harry Potter fans were more taken with the MagiQuest game that let them use wands to make “magic” around the hotel corridors. My son was frustrated that we had to leave before he had collected enough runes to play the big game.

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