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Watersports to Try This Summer in Traverse City, Michigan

July 19, 2021 8:22 am

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No Traverse City vacation is complete without spending time on the water. Due to its location on Grand Traverse Bay, near freshwater lakes, streams, and rivers, Traverse City has an abundance of watersport options. Whether you want to kayak out on Lake Michigan, jet ski on the bay, or take a boat tour with your friends, there’s a water activity for everyone.


Grand Traverse Bay and its neighboring waters are some of the nation’s best open water kayaking destinations. Kayak rental shops can be found all over Traverse City and nearby coastal towns. Novice kayakers can travel up the east shore of the Leelanau Peninsula or around the narrow Old Mission Peninsula. Experienced kayakers can travel to the Manitou Islands eight miles offshore in Lake Michigan, and explore the isolated coves, lighthouses, and more. 

Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Northern Michigan is an unsalted paddle paradise. SUP’ing is a simple, but fun way to explore the waters around Traverse City. The shallow waters of Grand Traverse Bay are the perfect place to paddleboard with your kids. You can also head west to the picture-perfect sandy shores of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and enjoy the sunset over Lake Michigan. If the waves on the Grand Traverse Bay and Michigan get a little choppy, you can try nearby South Bar Lake, Little and Big Glen Lake, or Boardman River. 

Surfing, Windsurfing, and Kitesurfing

Yes, you can surf on Lake Michigan! Since the wave periods are short, surfing on the Great Lakes is different from surfing on the ocean, but it can be just as fun. Late summer, fall, and winter are some of the best times to surf on the lake since the winds blow harder and the waves are larger. 

Jet Skiing

Nothing beats the thrill of speeding through the water on a jet ski. The unsalted waters of Northern Michigan are the perfect place for a jet-skiing adventure, whether it’s on the Bay or outside of Traverse City on Lake Michigan.


Whether you’re cruising, or just out for a weekend excursion, Traverse City’s offers crystal clear blue waters and picturesque views for your boating excursions. Head up north through Grand Traverse into Lake Michigan or head west to the historic town of Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. 

Enjoy the Best of Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan at Delamar Traverse City

Nauti Cat Cruises at Bay in Traverse CityAs the newest addition to the Delamar family, Delamar Traverse City is a full-service upscale resort with exquisite views of Grand Traverse Bay. The hotel boasts a waterfront restaurant, as well as several private charters, sunset cruises, kid-friendly tours, and lake activity rentals located right here on property. Here is a list of a few of our partners you so you can reserve your favorite activity, or you can inquire at the Concierge.