Taking a trip "Up North" is a chance to go somewhere magical with sun, sand, snow, hills, dunes + great fresh water lakes. It's a chance to connect with nature, find yourself a little + create special memories with your family. I'm sharing 5 family friendly hikes in Traverse City + why the Toyota Highlander is an awesome family car.
5 Family Friendly Hikes in Traverse City, Michigan:
1: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes: The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the most popular single attraction in the Traverse City area. And, for good reason, it is beautiful + the end result of the hike brings a stunning view of Lake Michigan atop the dunes. The Dune Climb is totally worth it. A childhood memory of mine + my kids absolutely loved summiting the dunes + seeing the water on the other side, they thought it was the "coolest thing ever." There is a 27 mile long trail that runs along the dunes, so you can plan out multiple adventures here.
2. The TART Trail: The Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail can take you on an adventure east to west across the city. If you're up for it you can cruise down the entire 10.5 mile trail, or take it in stride as long as your family would like to go. Another bonus, is the trail is paved so the kids my like biking, or in-line skating along the trail. You can even stop for lunch or a snack at a restaurant along the trail.
3. Empire Bluff Trail: This 1.5 mi loop is definitely doable with kids. It has amazing views of Lake Michigan, an opportunity to hike through a peaceful Michigan forrest + views of open fields, too. The town of Empire is very quaint + a fun spot to stop.
4. Leelanau State Park Trail The Leelanau Peninsula is another breathtaking area. You take the M22 scenic drive to arrive to the park + that in itself is an adventure. You can take the well marked hiking trails to see the lighthouse or Fox Island. If you make it up to this hike, absolutely stop at Fishtown Leland to explore the historic fishtown.
5. Old Mission Point Park Trail: A trip to Northern Michigan isn't complete without a trip to a lighthouse. The drive to the lighthouse is beautiful along the peninsula + a stop at the Jolly Pumpkin on the way is another must. This 5 mile loop can help you feel like you a floating back in time with the lighthouse + help you to connect with nature in the trees.
There is so much adventure to be found in Northern Michigan, explore + go where your sails take you!
We traveled around the Traverse City area in a Toyota Highlander + my husband + I both agree it is an ultimate family car. The safety features are incredible from listing the street name + speed limit on the dash to the added steering control. My husband loves the excellent horse power. I loved the compartment to store tons of snacks between the two front seats. The bucket seats make it so easy for the kids to get in + out + the all wheel drive makes any hiking adventure much more fun.
I always try to take as much caution as I can on a road trip with my most precious cargo inside, but of course I can get a little off track at times. The Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist was the most helpful feature I've ever experiences on a car. If I got a little right or left of the lane, the car auto-corrected. It was amazing. The entire Toyota Safety Sense package was amazing, but that was my favorite part.
If you are planning a family vacation, I highly recommend a trip to Traverse City, Michigan. The water is blue, the air is fresh + the trees are calming. Have you been to Traverse City? Let me know in the comments.
Photography by: // © Lindsey Lee & Co.
This post was sponsored by Toyota + Traverse City Tourism. I only share things that I absolutely love + believe in + I hope this post was helpful for vacation planning + future car shopping. Cheers.