Vacations in the Eastern U.S.A.
The northwestern coast of Michigan's Lower Peninsula is the setting for a beautiful six day
cycling vacation in August. Brilliant
aquamarine waters of Lake Michigan dramatically frame miles of back roads in the “land of many little bays.”
This tour begins and ends in the self-proclaimed “Cherry Capital
of the World,” vibrant Traverse City, MI.
Tour highlights include 2 nights of in-town lakefront lodging in
Traverse City, biking along the miles of paved path in the one-of-a-kind
national park, Sleeping Bear Dunes, visits to the bustling and charming
summer resort towns of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix and Boyne
City, as well as an optional
visit to Michigan’s crown jewel: bike and horse carriage friendly
is together as a group tonight within walking distance of our hotel.
to 43 miles, with options to shuttle ahead.
is a special day filled with mammoth lakeshore sand dunes and stunning
Lake Michigan views! Sleeping
Bear Dunes National Park won the title of "Good Morning
America's" Most Beautiful Place in America and is one of the nation's
best-kept secrets. We start
our day with an early morning shuttle to maximize our time in this
treasure of a National Park. Clamber
up the 300 foot “Dunes Climb” in your bare feet.
Back on the
bike, take on the challenging but rewarding Pierce Stocking Scenic
Drive. (shuttle option available.) This route winds through
a wooded area of the giant sand dunes and accesses the park's most
spectacular overlook, where you will revel
in views of the aquamarine waters of Lake Michigan.
Cycle miles of paved off road bike paths that wind through the
National Park grounds. Explore
historic buildings describing 20th century life in the early
lakeshore settlements. We’ll
stop for lunch in charming Glen Arbor and have a chance to revel in all
things cherry at Cherry Republic, “the largest exclusive retailer of
cherry products in the United States.”
The afternoon offers the option of another short shuttle before
completing our late afternoon journey back to Traverse City on the
Leelanau Trail. Running
through the last of Leelanau County's former railroad corridors, the
Leelanau Trail features picturesque forests, farms, vineyards, lakes and
ponds and is an amazing cycling resource in the area.
evening is yours to explore the many options awaiting you in Traverse
Terrain: Flat in spots with rolling hills. Total elevation ranges from 365 to 1200+ feet of climbing, distance dependent.
bid goodbye this morning to fun Traverse City and begin with a short
shuttle to bypass some early morning commuter traffic. Our starting point
is on the ridge top back roads stretching along the east side of Little
Traverse Bay. Miles of quiet
tree-lined roads lead us to Charlevoix, one of the hidden gems of
northwest Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Situated on a spit of land between Lake Michigan and Round Lake,
the downtown is known as “Charlevoix the Beautiful.”
With abundant flowers lining the main street and boarding the park
overlooking the marina where yachters dock for day trips, Charlevoix
really is a beautiful sight
worth savoring. Grab a picnic
lunch to refuel in the expansive grassy park overlooking the water before
tackling the afternoon’s optional miles.
Little Traverse Wheelway is a 24 mile paved bike trail connecting
Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs and offering picture postcard
views of Lake Michigan. We
take advantage of this amazing shoreline resource to roll to our home base
for the next 3 nights, Petoskey. Be
sure to stop along the way for the many photo ops available!
afternoon is yours to spend as you choose.
Continue on your bike to explore Harbor Springs, pedal along the
paved paths to the interesting historic Oden Fish Hatchery Visitor’s
Center, or take time off the bike for strolling the streets of Petoskey
thick with boutique stores, pubs and restaurants.
Our hotel, the Staffords Perry, is only steps away from the heart
of the historic shopping district.
will be as a group this evening at one of Petoskey’s many excellent
– 65+ miles, depending on the options selected.
Our big day and a day full of choices! After breakfast, we depart for a shuttle to Mackinac City, the jumping off point for an optional, included excursion to Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is a step back in time to a car free era with only bikes and horse drawn carriages for transportation. The eight mile perimeter road offers spectacular views, and the town is full of restaurants, museums and sites, so the island will give you plenty to do all day. A late afternoon return shuttle will get you back to Petoskey.
Mackinac Island is
on the bucket list of many visitors to this region, we know several of you
have already “been there, done that.”
For those folks, we have the alternate itinerary of a supported
bike ride along the shores of Lake Michigan and through the fabled
“Tunnel of Trees” northwest of the summer resort town of Harbor
Springs. This paved, low
traffic road winds its way along the bluffs high above Lake Michigan
before connecting back to the paved dedicated Little Traverse Wheelway
leading you to Petoskey.
tonight is “on your own” to explore the many options available in
bustling Petoskey and make the most of the flexibility offered to you
– 16+ mile options available on Mackinac Island.
Island terrain is flat along the perimeter with some short steep
climbs to the ridge top vantage points.
Up to 65+ miles are available on our alternate itinerary, with
options to strategically "leap frog" ahead if desired.
offers one of our favorite rides in the area!
We revisit the Little Traverse Wheelway and the spectacular morning
light along the shores of Lake Michigan.
The scenic views from the Charlevoix Yacht Club provide additional
postcard worthy photo ops. We
continue to the shores of the wishbone shaped Lake Charlevoix and the
historic Ironton Ferry. The
tiny vessel named the Charlevoix holds
4 cars (in addition to cyclists!) and made the “Ripley’s Believe It Or
Not” newspaper feature noting that its captain traveled more than 15,000
miles without being more than 1,000 feet from home.
The south shores of Lake Charlevoix sparkle in the sunlight and
provide an amazing backdrop to today’s low traffic journey.
The route is mainly flat leading to the relaxing Boyne City hub at
the eastern edge of the lake. Boyne
City thrived as a regional logging center in the 19th century
and still has preserved some its “Wild West” charisma.
In the early part of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway
summered here in his family’s home on nearby Walloon Lake.
Stop in the preserved Boyne City General Store to peruse a wall
full of memorabilia dedicated to the celebrated writer.
to 16 - 60 miles, with options to extend.
final day will include a short van shuttle back toward the shores of
Little Traverse Bay. We bike
another local favorite route down the scenic east shore of Torch Lake
before rejoining the ridge top roads leading back into Traverse City. Showers and lunch will be provided before heading out.
The terrain is flat in spots, but does have some elevation gain each day. The terrain is a mix of gently rolling hills, with some short hilly sections, and flat terrain, making it accessible to all ability levels. Road bikes and hybrid style bikes are both appropriate.
6 day tour offers routes of 25 - 60+ miles each day (at your
option). Mileage each
day will range from 35 - 65 miles. As with all Carolina
Tailwinds tours, you can take advantage of the support van to
"leap frog" ahead on the route and tailor the route and
route distance to your needs.
There is much to see and do in Traverse City and beyond.
City: Add a night or 2 to your stay in the area to explore this
town with style and substance. While there is no doubt that tourism drives
the local economy, Traverse City remains a real community with hardware
stores and office shops next to gift shops and galleries. Sip your way
through the Traverse City Ale Trail, add an excursion for wine-tasting
along the bay, or rent a kayak for a summer paddle on the scenic bay which
remains the top draw of Traverse City in the summer.
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