about The traverse city, michigan Region

Northern Lower Michigan has four beautiful seasons that attracts visitors from across the United States. The beautiful views, Great Lakes, and natural areas offer fun for all anytime of the year. The region has a significant amount of seasonal population, but also has a great number of permenant residents that love Michigan all year round!



The region is not precisely defined, with residents in the far southern part of the state tending to include areas just north of Flint and Grand Rapids, but more northern residents restricting it to the area north of Mount Pleasant: the "fingers" of the mitten-like shape of the state. People from Northern Michigan generally use the term "down state" to refer to people and places south of the region.

Across the Straits of Mackinac, to the north and west, lies the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Despite its geographic location as the most northerly part of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula is not usually included in the definition of Northern Michigan (although Northern Michigan University is located in the U.P. city of Marquette), and is instead regarded by Michigan residents as a distinct region of the state. The two regions are connected by the Mackinac Bridge.


Summer Destinations

Many city dwellers from "down state" and as far away as Chicago have summer vacation homes in Northern Michigan. The largest resort cities in Northern Michigan are in the west, on Lake Michigan. Popular tourist cities in Northern Michigan are Traverse City, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Bay Shore, Harbor Springs, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island, which lies between the mainland and the Upper Peninsula. Tourists are attracted by the recreational opportunities the lakes offer, the events held weekly, and the welcoming feel from the community.



Winter Destinations

Snowmobiles, sleds, skiis, and snowshoes get brought out once a year when the beautiful white snow falls. The lakes freeze and offer a different approach to fishing, and a number of ski resorts open their doors and welome skiiers, snowboarders, and more. A number of ski resorts (that also serve as summer golf resorts) include Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, and Nubs Nob.


History and Local Culture

Northern Michigan was inhabited by Native American tribes well before English settlers founded a fort on Mackinac Island. Later, industry depended on natural resources such as lumber and fur trading which contributed to the rise of Traverse City. When the railroads connected Northern Michigan to the large cities through Kalamazoo, some wealthy urbanites established summer home associations in Charlevoix and Bay Shore. As the railroads declined in the 1960's and 1970s with the advent of automobile travel, aggressive promotion of Northern Michigan by local chambers of commerce led to many of the festivals and attractions that bring visitors north even today.



A number of annual festivals occur in Northern Michigan including:

  • Venetian Festival (Charlevoix)
  • National Cherry Festival (Traverse City)
  • Bliss Fest
  • Alpine Festival (Gaylord)