Traverse City is a charming town in northern Michigan that used to be one of the country’s best kept secrets. Not any more.
Traverse City was just been named to National Geographic’s list of the Top 10 Summer Trips for 2012 — along with much better known destinations such as Baltimore; St. Petersburg, Russia; Pawley’s Island, South Carolina; the Spencer Glacier in Alaska; Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park, and California’s Channel Islands.
“The region’s 180 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline basically trace the upper left edge of Michigan’s ‘mitten,’ ” reads the article on National Geographic’s website. “Add another 149 inland lakes that are 10 acres or larger and you get a rambling Cape Cod-on-freshwater summer playground: quaint port villages, sandy beaches, historic lighthouses, rolling orchards, family-friendly festivals (including the National Cherry Festival, July 7-14), and summer-only Traverse City Beach Bums pro baseball games (team members bunk with local families).
It’s a long, 8-hour drive around the south end of Lake Michigan and up the lake’s eastern shoreline. Or you can make the trip part of the adventure and book passage on one of the ferries that runs between Wisconsin and Michigan, the SS Badger or the Lakeshore Express.