Traverse City, MI: Urban Paddle Guide

Paddle in Michigan. Why wouldn't you?
Paddle in Michigan. Why wouldn’t you?

Traverse City, MI: Urban Paddle Guide

Traverse City, Michigan lies at the epicenter an unsalted paddle paradise. From hundreds of sandy bottomed, crystal clear inland lakes to the breathtaking shores of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this area rivals its tropical counterparts in brilliant blues and miles of pristine, sandy beaches.

Travel north on the legendary M-22 to the small beach town of Empire, where you can visit Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak for hook-ups on rentals and gear. Paddle out of Empire Beach on Lake Michigan, heading south for spectacular views of the dunes or north to check out the unspoiled beach at North Bar Lake. If conditions on the big lake aren’t ideal, simply walk across the parking lot to paddle the small warm waters of South Bar Lake, or head toward historic, artsy Glen Arbor and check out the azure, sandy waters of Little and Big Glen Lake.

To experience what surfing Lake Michigan is all about, or get in a good downwinder, head west to Frankfort. Days with a good south-southwest wind will yield some pumping conditions at Frankfort’s main beach minutes from downtown. A great north or south wind is best for downwinders, starting either at Frankfort or north 4.5 miles at surf and kite favorite, Point Betsie. For rentals, gear and info, visit the crew at Crystal Lake Adventure Sports in downtown Beulah, steps away from the beautiful lake that inspired their name.

In downtown Traverse City, Wet Mitten Surf Shop is your go-to place for everything SUP. Start at any in-town beach to explore expansive Grand Traverse Bay. Ask locals about paddling to Power Island or drive through picturesque vineyards up Old Mission Peninsula to paddle out of historic Bower’s Harbor.

Traverse City is a destination for foodies, wine lovers and beer drinkers, ranking tops in the nation for delectable dining, malty microbrews and superior vino. Cap off a day in this SUP paradise with a visit to a local restaurant, microbrewery or winery. You’ll never look at food, drink or paddling the same way again.

Shop: Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak, Crystal Lake Adventure Sports, Wet Mitten Surf Shop

Eat: The Little Fleet, Georgina’s, Traverse City Brew, The Filling Station, Jolly Pumpkin, Riverfront Pizza and Deli, Stormcloud Brewing Company

Contributed by Casey Welmers

Urban Paddle Guide Info

Welcome to the 2015 Urban Paddle Guide presented by SUP ATX! Our mission is simple: build the best online resource for padding in towns and cities across the United States. Every urban area has unique places to paddle and we want your help finding out where those are! Enter your town in the Urban Paddle Guide now by sending us a picture(s), a brief description (no more than 350 words), then telling us about shops, restaurants and other resources as part of the entry form.

We’re prepared to reward you mightily. By entering, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free trip to Southern California for the 2015 SUP Awards and the Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle, as well a brand new Lahui Kai board and paddle from SUP ATX.

Enter the Urban Paddle Guide presented by SUP ATX.