July 19, 2021

Couples Getaway to Traverse City

What to do, where to stay and what to eat on a couples getaway to Traverse City, MI! Lots of hiking and beach ideas for the adventurer. 

Troy and I just took our first couple's only getaway to Traverse City, MI. It was our 12th wedding anniversary and after everything with the pandemic, a year and 3 months of homeschooling my kids, a flood in our home and then the death of our sweet dog Ava, we needed something happy in our lives. We had the BEST trip and if you have not been to Traverse City yet, I highly recommend it.

Where We Stayed in Traverse City

I love the Grand Beach Resort Hotel because it is right on the beach with the best sunrise and sunset views ever. Stunning! You can swim right at the beach and take a walk on the beautiful sandy beach- my idea of paradise. Breakfast is delivered to your room each morning which is not as nice as the buffet pre-pandemic but it is okay.

The rooms are clean and spacious. My favorite part of our room is the balcony where we ate all of our breakfasts, played cards, had a drink and watched the sun set and rise. Beautiful! There is a microwave, coffee maker and mini fridge in the room. The mini fridge is pretty large which was important for us because we brought a lot of our own food to bring on hikes.

Grand Beach has a large pool and large hot tub. After miles of hiking all around Traverse City, the hot tub felt amazing! It is extremely family friendly. 

Most people here had kids which of course, made us miss our kids. Kids played on the beach and in the water until after sunset. The perfect place for a couples only getaway or for a family vacation.

What to Do in the Traverse City Area

Troy and I are huge adventurers and LIVE for hiking, beach walks and anything active. This list of stuff we did will not be your typical list of a million restaurants and wine tastings. It is mostly super active things we did. There isn't a hike that I don't love!

-Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive- We love driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes and this scenic drive with many beautiful stops is a favorite and a must-do! We love the Cottonwood Trail which is a short 1 1/2 mile trail with gorgeous views.

-Dune Climb- We finished our first Dune Climb! It took 2 hours and was 3.8 miles. It is quite difficult and afterwards, I was wiped out! I had to cancel the rest of our hikes for the morning. Lots of giant sand hills to climb up and down. If you want an adventure and are quite fit, I would highly recommend this. We will visit with the kids but will just do a little bit of it. Definitely not the whole thing!

-Empire Beach- I kept reading that you must visit Empire Beach- so we did. It is a gorgeous beach with super clear water. For families, there are two playgrounds and on the other side of the beach is another warmer body of water that a lot of families were playing in. Parking is $1 an hour. My only complaint is that the water was freezing- like super freezing. There were not a lot of people in it.

-Empire Bluff Trail- A 1.5 mile round-trip trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes that came highly recommended. It was gorgeous and somehow, we made it into a 3 mile hike by accidentally keeping going so pay attention to that if you go.

-Shopping in Glen Arbor- We loved the vibe of Glen Arbor and like shopping at Momentum which is a super affordable gift shop. They have a new playground and a beach at the end of a street that is unadvertised with gorgeous rocks that Troy had fun looking at- he is a science teacher.

-Walking around Clinch Park- We liked walking around Traverse City which has beautiful marinas, beaches and is right by the downtown area with cute shops and restaurants.

-Pyramid Point Trail- Located at the tippy top of Michigan, this trail will always be remembered because my husband decided to ignore the warnings not to go down this insanely tall sand dune and went down. It was very hard to get back up but he is so happy that he did it and it makes for a great memory. For me, the view was absolutely breathtaking and I highly recommend this trail.


-Good Harbor Bay Beach- This beach was pretty but it was located pretty far from other things so I think I would just stick with other beaches.

-Beach walks- All over the area, you can take gorgeous beach walks which we did a lot of. I highly recommend walking on the beach at sunset (or sunrise!) for beautiful views.

-Hartwick Pines- about an hour from Traverse City, about 3 hours into the trip from Detroit, we stopped at Hartwick Pines for 1.25 mile walk through the pine trees. It was a great way to stretch our legs and  an easy paved trail.

-Grand Traverse Education Reserve- One of our favorite parts! Right near the mall, there is a great place to hike by the Boardman River. It is gorgeous and a great hike that literally takes you on a boardwalk through the woods during parts of it.

-Miller Creek Nature Reserve- Probably one of the coolest locations, right behind ALDI- we actually parked in the ALDI parking lot, is a great 1-2 mile hike. Simple but pretty through the woods.

What to Eat in the Traverse City Area

-Aerie Restaurant- For our anniversary dinner, we went to Aerie Restaurant. Oh my goodness, the food was so delicious. We started with the potato gnocchi- the gorgonzola cream, spinach and tomato bacon jam were incredible. The gulf shrimp cocktail was a favorite for Troy. I had to have the Aerie salad which was loaded with gorgonzola, dried cherries, pickled onions, candied nuts and a tart cherry vinaigrette. One of my all-time favorite dishes at a restaurant.

For our entrees, Troy had the salmon which he loved and I went with the filet. I am not the biggest steak person but it sounded really good and honestly, it was probably the best steak that I have had. It came with potatoes, broccolini, a green peppercorn bordelaise sauce and candied bacon. So, so delicious!

For dessert, we had the crème brulee which I would highly recommend. Thick, lightly sweet and oh so creamy. Aerie is located on the 16th floor of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and aside from the food, the best part about Aerie is the incredible view. You have an incredible view of Traverse City and the water. For a fancy celebratory meal, Aerie is a great restaurant to visit.

Cherry Public House- A super fun and delicious place to visit in Glen Arbor by Sleeping Bear Dunes is Cherry Public House. There are three buildings which are all part of Cherry Republic (also located in downtown Traverse City)- a wine tasting, a store with everything cherry you could imagine and Cherry Public House restaurant. The wine tasting is fun with 6 pours for $5. We loved the cider and all of the cherry wines. The store has lots of cherry samples such as dried cherries, cherry sour candy and cherry BBQ sauce. We picked up some gifts at the store for people back home.


Let me tell you about the restaurant Cherry Public House! I loved the sparkling cherry lemonade and Troy loved the cherry root beer. We had the beer cheese pretzel plate and it was perfect! The public house salad was my choice with dried cherries, pecans, onions and more. Troy had the cherry bacon marmalade burger and no joke, I looked away for one minute and it was gone. He is still raving about that burger.

They have tons of different cherry flavored pops which my kids would think is so fun. They also have lots of cherry ice creams. I recommend the cherry butter pecan one. The atmosphere of sitting outside at this restaurant is so adorable and they have the cutest signs everywhere with great sayings. I highly recommend this place and will be returning with the kids a few weeks.

-Culver's- On a super casual note, we visited Culver's and ate outside and we had seriously the best customer service ever. The service was crazy fast and the young boys working there were so polite. We got burgers, fries and frozen custard. Total treat meal that was fun!

Thank you to Grand Beach Resort, Aerie and Cherry Public House for hosting us!

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  1. We love that area of Michigan! Your post gives me some good ideas for the next time we head up there, hopefully without our kids. LOL!


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