Our assembly for the Great Lakes of Michigan cycling tour is in Traverse City, labeled Cherry Capital of the World. We have time on the first day to test our bikes on some nearby paths and hold an orientation dinner. On Day 2 we begin riding to the “pinky of the mitten”, Leelanau Peninsula. This day’s ride passes through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the wild, challenging Pierce Stocking Scenic Road up, over and around the dunes. Tonight we stay in the charming town of Leland, nestled between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelenau.
We continue north to land’s end at the northern tip of the peninsula early morning of Day 3 and visit the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Leelanau State Park. Wrapping around the peninsula, we’ll ride along Grand Traverse Bay, through Northport and Suttons Bay, as we return to Traverse City. Don’t miss one of the world’s best bakeries in Northport – Barb’s Bakery for a famous cinnamon twist or a cherry stick. Whether you enjoy the hub-bub of Traverse City center, or a stroll along the city beach, our evening in town will be a delight.
We’ll enjoy quiet roads as we trace the eastern shore of Torch Lake on our way to Charlevoix on Day 4, an area known for the Petoskey stone – a fossilized coral. We spend this evening at the Weathervane Inn, with views of both Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix.
On Day 5 we’ll bike from Charlevoix to Petoskey and then trace the Lake Michigan coast through Harbor Springs to tiny Cross Village on what has been labeled as “Michigan’s most scenic road.” Along the way, plan on another of those delectable visits to a quaint bakery in Good Hart and lunch at Leggs in Cross Village. After gathering in Mackinaw City, we take a short ferry ride across the Straits of Mackinac to Mackinac Island. This unique island is part state park, and part commercial area, but motor vehicles are not allowed. Horse and buggy rule the town, and walkers and cyclists alike share the roads. Day 6 is a layover day on the island. There is a lovely paved road all the way around the island which is a perfect option for the day’s activity.
We’ll return to the mainland on Day 7 and ride through the heart of Boyne Country on bike paths and quiet roads. We’ll stay in Boyne City on the eastern tip of Lake Charlevoix for a final evening, and a last chance to enjoy a lake swim. Day 8 is a full day’s ride to return to Traverse City, although a van shuttle is an option if you wish to make it a shorter day.