Whether you’re visiting for the glacier-capped views or want to tick swimming in Lake Michigan off your bucket list, Traverse City is a traveler’s paradise. Offering nearly 250 miles of coastline around Lake Michigan, the city is essentially a beach town geared toward sea lovers.

Attracting swimmers, kayakers, boaters, and sailors alike, Traverse City is the perfect summer destination in Michigan for those looking to hit some waves. You won’t want to miss out on the idyllic splendor of this popular beach haven!

Traverse City is jam-packed with accommodation options, from extravagant beach resorts to budget-friendly B&Bs. To help you out, we’ve created this guide on where to stay in Traverse City to give you the best options available. We’ve included something for every taste, travel style, and budget, so you can find the best option to suit you.

Let’s jump right in!

Where to Stay in Traverse City

Traverse City lies on the bay off of northeast Lake Michigan and, correspondingly, many of its most-coveted hotels are situated on the coast. You can opt to stay at a beachfront resort to make the most of your beach holiday, or near the city center if you prefer culture to sandcastles.

Traverse City Michigan

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West Bay Beach – A Delamar Resort | Best Hotel in Traverse City

West Bay Beach A Delamar Resort, Traverse City 1

Bordering Sunset Beach and a couple of minutes’ walk from Clinch Beach, you’ll be in the center of the action at this resort. Situated between downtown Traverse City and the waterfront, the hotel is surrounded by natural beauty.

Grand Beach Resort Hotel | Best Beachfront Hotel in Traverse City

Grand Beach Resort Hotel, Traverse City 1

In need of a beach vacation? This beachfront hotel is the ideal pick, offering gorgeous views of the coast but as well as an indoor pool and on-site spa. At only a 10-minute drive from the city center, what’s not to like?

Cambria Hotel Traverse City | Best Airport Hotel in Traverse City

Cambria Hotel Traverse City, Traverse City 1

If you’d rather stay closer to the airport, Cambria Hotel is a great compromise. It’s centrally-located between the two halves of the city while just a few minute’s drive from the airport, so you have everything within easy reach. For those who need to travel fast, this is ideal.

There are so many amazing VRBOs in Traverse City to check out, too!

Traverse City Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Traverse City

FIRST TIME IN TRAVERSE CITY
Downtown Traverse City, Traverse City
FIRST TIME IN TRAVERSE CITY

Downtown Traverse City

If you want to start your first visit to Traverse City off right, it pays to stay in the city center as the area is adjacent to Boardman River, a curving stretch of water that divides the city in two.

FOR FAMILIES
West Munson Avenue, Traverse City
FOR FAMILIES

West Munson Avenue (North of the Airport)

Munson Avenue is a lengthy stretch of highway that works its way across the Greater Traverse City Bay Area, so its scenery and amenities change depending on where you fall on it.

FOR COUPLES
East Munson Venue, Traverse City
FOR COUPLES

East Munson Venue (East of the Airport)

If you’re seeking a bit of romance mixed with a sense of adventure, you can’t go wrong staying anywhere on East Munson Avenue. This section of the city offers some of the best waterfront properties in Traverse City without the commotion of staying in the city center.

ON A BUDGET
Acme, Traverse City
ON A BUDGET

Acme

Last up, but certainly not least, is the beach town of Acme, located on the east bank of the Grand East Arm just before Munson Avenue becomes Highway 31.

Traverse City’s Top 4 Areas to Stay in

Situated right off the northeast of Lake Michigan in an inlet known as the Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City is perfectly located along two massive bodies of water known as the West Arm and the East Arm. The most highly-coveted accommodations are right on the shore, cutting your commute from your suite to the sea to seconds.

Downtown is the best place to stay in Traverse City if you’re visiting for the first time. This central district is full of lively shops, restaurants, and bars, and is well-connected to the rest of the area. It’s a great starting point for any day out, including hiking to Traverse’s lighthouses or visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Coast.

If you’re traveling on a budget, check out Acme. Situated in the Greater Traverse Bay Area, its not-so-central location means it’s full of cheaper accommodation options. It’s a stunning beach town to boot, so you can get the best of the coast without having to splurge.

Munson Avenue is a long swath of road that connects Downtown Traverse Bay to Acme. Staying anywhere near this highway is best for those who want a quick link between the city, the sea, and the airport.

East Munson Avenue is our top recommendation for couples. It’s got a stunning coastline ideal for sunset viewing, as well as many romantic hikes for adventurous couples. On the other side, West Munson Avenue is perfect for families visiting Traverse City. It’s full of family-friendly accommodation and activities, and makes another great base for days out.

Whatever you’re into, you’ll find it in Traverse City. Everything is conveniently located within a short driving distance, making top sights accessiblet no matter where you stay. So what are you waiting for? Let’s check out these top Traverse City destinations in more detail.

1. Downtown – Best Place to Stay in Traverse City for Your First Time

Downtown Traverse City
There’s so much going on in Downtown!

Traverse City center is adjacent to Boardman River, a curving stretch of water that divides the city in two. Staying here you’ll be in the heart of the action, with plenty of activities to keep you entertained all day long.

Just across the northern stretch of Boardman River, you can find copious beaches to pitch your sun umbrella. The southern area is full of restaurants to suit every palette. You’ll find endless boutiques lining the streets, and lots of opportunities to discover the city’s culture.

West Bay Beach – A Delamar Resort | Best Beach Resort in Downtown Traverse City

West Bay Beach A Delamar Resort, Traverse City 2

Perfectly situated between Clinch Beach Park and Sunset Beach Park, West Bay Beach is the ideal beach resort. Their large rooms are equipped with modern conveniences. There’s also an on-site restaurant serving gourmet cuisine.

The hotel offers free on-site parking, a 24-hour reception, and daily complimentary breakfast. After a long day on the go in the city, why not stop by their open-air pool? The perfect end to any day.

Hotel Indigo Traverse City | Best Hotel in Downtown Traverse City

Hotel Indigo

For couples deciding where to stay in downtown Traverse City, Hotel Indigo is about as romantic as it gets. Their terrace is the ideal spot to enjoy lunch with views of the bay, and there are many other restaurants within walking distance.

Rooms are modern and comfortable, and there’s a fitness centre on-site. Clinch Park Beach is right by the hotel, and there are popular cycling trails nearby.

Park Place Hotel & Conference Center | Best Hotel in Downtown Traverse City

Park Place Hotel and Conference Center, Downtown Traverse City

Located between the northern and southern curves of the Boardman River, this hotel is an ideal base for discovering Traverse City.

Top features include a free airport shuttle, on-site restaurant, and large suites. It’s also easy walking distance to the best local monuments.

Things to See and Do in Downtown Traverse City: 

Downtown Traverse City
Discover the cultural hub of the city
  1. Go for a stroll around the historic center
  2. Visit Old City Hall
  3. Mosey along the Boardman River
  4. Go for a dip at Clinch Park Beach
  5. Shop at Sara Hardy Farmers Market
  6. Have a picnic at Open Space Park
  7. Grab a drink at Rare Bird Brewpub
  8. Play a game of volleyball at Volleyball Beach
  9. Learn some local secrets and legends on the Haunted Traverse Ghost & Walking Tour
  10. Have lunch on the terrace at the Towne Plaza
  11. Walk around Union Street Dam Park
  12. Get some doughnuts at Peace Love Little Donuts of Traverse City
  13. Catch the sunset at Sunset Park Beach 
  14. Hike around Old Mission Peninsula to discover its wineries 
  15. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
  16. Shop until you drop at Cherry Republic
  17. Catch a concert at the Grand Traverse Civic Center
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2. Acme – Where to Stay in Traverse City on a Budget

Acme, Michigan

The beach town of Acme is located on the east bank of the Grand East Arm. Although it’s technically not in Traverse City, Acme still makes up part of the Greater Traverse City Bay Area. It’s still a worthy place to visit, featuring its own stretch of gorgeous coastline.

Lodging in Acme can be found for a fraction of the cost of accommodation elsewhere in the bay area. For those on a budget who yearn to kick back in a charming beach town, Acme is ideal. There are plenty of beachfront properties here, include boutique hotels and fairly-priced resorts.

Sleep Inn & Suites Acme-Traverse City | Best Boutique Hotel in Acme

Sleep Inn and Suites Acme Traverse City

This trendy hotel is a classy boutique hotel located opposite Cuttysark Harbor in central Acme. Suites are tastefully decorated and there’s a sweeping terrace to enjoy the view from. The indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and daily complimentary breakfast are equally impressive.

The hotel is just minutes away from Downtown Traverse City by car and easily within reach of the city’s top attractions.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Acme-Traverse City | Best Budget Hotel in Acme

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Acme Traverse City

The Holiday Inn Express Hotel may be the best bargain find in the Greater Traverse City Bay Area. With sophisticated decor and large windows, the hotel is a steal for the price.

The hotel is a short drive away from Traverse’s City Center. Grab yourself a plate of their complimentary breakfast or go for a dip in their indoor pool to kickstart your day.

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa | Best Resort in Acme

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa,

If you’re craving a taste of the high life but don’t want to spend a fortune on an extravagant vacation, check out the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

The resort is as luxurious as any other high-class lodging in the area but without the hefty expense. In its massive complex, it houses three golf courses, a spa, tennis courts, and much more.

Things to See and Do in Acme:

Acme,
  1. Hire a boat from East Bay Harbor Marina
  2. Call on Lady Luck at the Turtle Creek Casino
  3. Venture to Chateau Chanal
  4. Hike to Old Mission Peninsula
  5. Go for a weekend glamping trip in Michigan.
  6. Drive over to the Dennos Museum Center 
  7. Play a round of golf at LochenHeath Golf Club
  8. Grab dinner at Osorio Tacos Y Salsa
  9. Order the hors d’oeuvres at McGee’s 72
  10. Go souvenir at Wilson Antiques East Bay
  11. Have lunch along the waterfront at Bayview Inn Bar & Grill
  12. Buy some plants at Wild Jupiter Nursery 
  13. Go bargain hunting at Zany Consignment Boutique East
  14. Visit the Music House Museum
  15. Discover the wineries around Old Mission Peninsula
  16. Plan a hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

3. East Munson Avenue – Best Area in Traverse City for Couples

East Munson Venue

If you’re seeking a bit of romance mixed with a sense of adventure, you can’t go wrong staying anywhere on East Munson Avenue. This section offers some of the best waterfront properties in Traverse City without the commotion of the city center. Go for romantic sunset walks along the beach or try a sunrise hike in the nearby Holiday Hills. 

There’s also a range of entertainment venues in the area, so you’re certain to have enough to keep you occupied around the clock. From mini-golf to ziplining, there’s something for every traveler.

Cherry Tree Inn & Suites | Best Resort in East Munson Avenue

Cherry Tree Inn and Suites, Traverse City

This waterfront hotel offers country-inspired suites. They’re fullyequipped with all the comforts of home, including movies, video games, and kitchenettes.

Specializing in year-round entertainment, Cherry Tree Inn also includes multiple game rooms, a spa, and swimming pools. It’s also a great place to stay with family thanks to the kid-friendly activities on offer.

Grand Beach Resort Hotel | Best Beachfront Hotel on East Munson Avenue

Grand Beach Resort Hotel

At Grand Beach Resort, you can’t get much closer to the sea without actually getting in it. Opt for a charming, oceanview suite and wake up to a view of the waves.

During your stay, why not also check out their on-site spa or indoor pool? Their daily complimentary breakfast doesn’t disappoint either.

Sugar Beach Resort Hotel | Best Budget Hotel in East Munson Venue

Sugar Beach Resort Hotel, Traverse City

Sugar Beach Resort Hotel is another beachfront property to the east of downtown Traverse City. For couples who’d rather save than splurge but don’t want to sacrifice on location, Sugar Beach is the perfect compromise.

Featuring a private beach, indoor pool, free on-site parking, and free breakfast, this hotel is a bargain hunter’s dream. 

Things to See and Do near East Munson Avenue:

East Munson Avenue
East Munson is the best area to stay in Traverse City for couples
  1. Book a tour of Old Town
  2. Plan a beach day at M.C. Beach
  3. Take a drive down Munson Avenue
  4. Catch the sunset at Gens Park
  5. Take a dip at East Bay Park 
  6. Go for a dip at Traverse City State Park Beach
  7. Reserve a tour with Traverse City Wine & Beer Tours
  8. Drive over to the Dennos Museum Center 
  9. Grab a drink at Grand Traverse City Distillery 
  10. Have lunch on the terrace at the Third Coast Bakery
  11. Plan a picnic at Indian Woods Park
  12. Try a round of golf at Elmbrook Golf Course
  13. Trek around Old Mission Peninsula to discover its wineries 
  14. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
  15. Get some grub at Hopscotch Brick Oven and Taproom
  16. Catch a show at the Grand Traverse Civic Center
  17. Rent a bike to hit the trails at Traverse City State Park
  18. Go mini-golfing at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Park
  19. Explore the TART Trail
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4. West Munson Avenue – Best Area in Traverse City for Families

West Munson Avenue, Traverse City

West Munson Avenue is the section just east of Traverse City’s Civic Center, and it’s the perfect place for families. Most hotels are child-friendly and offer suites big enough for the entire gang. Plus, at equidistance between Downtown and the sea, it’s the ideal base for exploring the area.

There are endless parks and trails to explore here, as well as plenty of eateries. West Munson Avenue gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to stay close to the action while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the more densely populated areas.

Cambria Hotel Traverse City | Best Hotel in West Munson Avenue

Cambria Hotel Traverse City, Traverse City 2

This hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the Grand Traverse County Civic Center. Here, you’ll find luxury accommodation at reasonable prices.

The hotel features an elegant lobby and bistro-inspired restaurant, as well as an indoor pool. Suites are very spacious and comfortable, with enough space to fit the whole family.

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Traverse City | Best Budget Hotel in West Munson Avenue

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Traverse City, Traverse City

Located a few minutes’ walk from the nearest beach, Howard Johnson by Wyndham is the perfect budget-friendly option. It’s ideally situated close to the city center and the airport.

There’s free onsite parking, as well as a daily continental breakfast. The outdoor pool is a great place to relax or splash around after a day of exploring.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Traverse City | Best Luxury Hotel on West Munson Avenue

Country Inn and Suites by Radisson Traverse City, Traverse City

For travelers who don’t mind splurging a little, the opulent Country Inn & Suites can’t be overlooked. Offering elegantly decorated suites that come fully equipped with all the mod cons, you’ll want for nothing when you stay at his boutique hotel.

Test out their indoor pool or hot tub, or sample their delicious complimentary breakfast. Free on-site parking is also provided, so you can enjoy the flexibility of bringing your own vehicle.

Things to See and Do near West Munson Avenue:

West Munson Avenue, Traverse City
  1. Walk around Old Town
  2. Visit Old City Hall
  3. Stroll down Munson Avenue
  4. Go swimming at East Bay Park 
  5. Organize a beach day at Traverse City State Park Beach
  6. Book a hang-gliding tour at Traverse City Hang-Gliders
  7. Visit Dennos Museum Center 
  8. Have breakfast at The Omelette Shoppe
  9. Grab a bite at The Cottage Restaurant
  10. Have lunch on the terrace at the Third Coast Bakery
  11. Plan a picnic at Indian Woods Park
  12. Watch the sunset at Sunset Park Beach 
  13. Hike around Old Mission Peninsula to discover its wineries 
  14. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
  15. Order dinner at Reflect Bistro
  16. Watch a show at the Grand Traverse Civic Center
  17. Go biking at Traverse City State Park
  18. Go mini-golfing at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Park
  19. Hike the TART Trail
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FAQs About Finding a Place to Stay in Traverse City.

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Traverse City and where to stay.

What To Pack For Traverse City

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

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Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Traverse City

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Traverse City

With so much to explore, Traverse City is a worthy contender if you’re looking for a quaint beach destination in the USA.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is also nearby, a national park rich with hiking trails and gorgeous views of the greater bay area. The park spans nearly 100 kilometers of beaches, islands, inlets, and rolling hills of sand, which are bound to be more eye-popping than the last.

 If you’re still unsure where to stay, you can’t go wrong with Downtown. It’s the bustling heart of Traverse City and is ideally situated close to the parks and coastline! West Bay Beach – A Delamar Resort is one of the best hotels in the area, with comfortable furnishings and an epic location.

Looking for more info on travelling to Traverse City and USA?

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