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Sand dunes and Blue Angels in Traverse City, Michigan

Located at the 45th parallel, midway between the equator and the North Pole, Traverse City, Michigan, is a perfect vacation spot for summertime fun. Perched on the edge of Grand Traverse Bay, the city is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, both on water and land.

Michigan’s natural beauty is perhaps best showcased at the spectacular Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the west coast of Leelanau Peninsula. Adventurous types can scramble up the Dune Climb, and reap the rewards of great views of the dunes’ summit and Glen Lake.

North and South Manitou islands, part of the lakeshore, are can’t-miss spots as well. Visitors can hop a ferry to South Manitou Island and participate in a 90-minute walking tour, or listen to a park ranger presentation at the island’s lighthouse. Solitude-seekers should instead visit North Manitou Island, with 15,000 acres perfect for hiking and camping.

Back on the mainland, Traverse City offers 19 golf courses, plenty of shopping, and several wineries. If you visit in July, be sure to check out the annual National Cherry Festival, running over eight days from July 5 through 12. The highlight of this year’s festival is an air show by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels on July 5 and 6, though other days feature lively parades, concerts, and other entertainment.

The Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau provides trip-planning information on the area, plus special packages geared towards golfers, girlfriend getaways, and more.

Read more of the 50 Affordable Stateside Escapes.

Have a recommendation for the Traverse City region, or another great getaway within Michigan? Post your comment below!

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