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Old Mission Peninsula: 15+ Best Things to Do and See

Old Mission Lighthouse
Old Mission Lighthouse

by William Orr

Best Things to Do on Old Mission Peninsula

Are you ready for a journey through Old Mission Peninsula?

Old Mission Peninsula has everything you need for a perfect getaway all year long. In the summer, the Lake Michigan breezes are refreshing, and the fall colors in the vineyards are stunning against the backdrop of the bay.

Traverse City Michigan’s picturesque peninsula is a must-visit in northern Michigan, filled with orchards, hills, farm stands and amazing views of Grand Traverse Bay in three directions. Whether you’re taking wine tours, you’re an outdoor adventurer seeking a hiking trail, or history buff, this pretty destination has something for everyone.

Old Mission Peninsula is one of northern Michigan’s true gems.

Stretching just 18 miles into Grand Traverse Bay and dividing it into West Bay and East Bay, the historic headland in Grand Traverse County is perfect for day trips, summer getaways, and all those looking to avoid large crowds.

Read on for the 15 best things to do on Old Mission Peninsula and use this special Michigan Travel Guide to plan your road trip along on the prettiest, pure Michigan scenic drives in the state.

old mission peninsula in fall
Old Mission Peninsula in Fall

About Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City

Nestled just a few miles north of Traverse City, Old Mission Peninsula is a haven of natural beauty, rich history, and exquisite culinary experiences.

From renowned wineries and distilleries to iconic landmarks like the Old Mission Lighthouse and charming stores, Old Mission Peninsula is brimming with hidden gems waiting to be explored.

From picturesque beaches to charming art galleries and historical sites, there’s always something new to discover. Take a leisurely drive along the peninsula’s scenic roads, visit farmers markets for fresh local produce, and immerse yourself in the unique offerings of this remarkable region.

old mission lighthouse and park
Old Mission Lighthouse and Park

Old Mission Lighthouse and Park
20500 Center Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

Marvel at the iconic Old Mission Point Lighthouse, a historic gem that has guided ships since 1870. Explore the park’s picturesque trails, enjoy a picnic by the shoreline, and capture stunning views of the surrounding waters. Don’t forget to climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic vistas.

FUN FACT: The Old Mission Point Lighthouse and Park is located on the 45th Parallel, exactly between the North Pole and the Equator.

Hike Old Mission Point Park
20500 Center Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

Hikers and nature enthusiasts alike, head to Old Mission Point Park for your next adventure. This five-mile trail is perfect for a summer stroll in beautiful Northern Michigan, and a gem of the peninsula.

With easy terrain and free admission, the park is a must for those looking to traverse and sightsee Old Mission Peninsula. In fact, those interested in visiting the lighthouse are in luck, as it is situated only yards away from the northernmost trail.

The park is also home to several ski hills in the winter, making it an fun location for winter sports enthusiasts in the colder months of the year.

Before the leaves fall away, however, you are sure to witness beautiful trees and orchards along the trails and paths of Old Mission. It is a sight to see, and one you surely don’t want to miss.

old mission general store
Old Mission General Store

Old Mission General Store
18250 Mission Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

Travelers, history enthusiasts, and old knick-knack collectors will love this charming little site. Old Mission General Store is one of the oldest of its kind, dating back to the mid-19th century.

Visiting this location is a must for those looking for a glimpse of a simpler time; its white, wooden walls and cherry red windows call back to the olden days when life was quieter upon the shores of the peninsula.

If you’re looking for a souvenir, the General Store is perfect for you, with plenty of old antiques and treasures available for all under its rustic roof. If you’re looking instead for a nice treat, help yourself to some snacks and ice cream; there’s something for everybody at the Old Mission General Store, making it a must-see for all this summer.

Old Mission Lavender Store
7605 Peninsula Dr, Traverse City, MI 49686

Discover the soothing aroma of lavender at the Old Mission Lavender Store. Explore their beautiful gardens and shop for a wide range of lavender-infused products, including essential oils, soaps, and candles. Take home a piece of tranquility from this charming store.

Don’t forget to grab a couple of lavender sachets for your drawers: they last forever and your clothes will smell heavenly.

Pyatt Lake Bill Carls Nature Preserve
12309 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686

For an unforgettable outdoor adventure, visit Pyatt Lake Bill Carls Nature Preserve.

You’ll find almost 160 acres of pristine landscape at this nature preserve on Old Mission Peninsula. This unique area is home to 250 plants including trillium, orchids and more. You can walk tranquil paths surrounded by picturesque forests and serene natural beauty.

pouring a glass of wine at an old mission winery

Explore the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

The Old Mission Wine trail is made of 10 local wineries that produce some of the best Michigan wine, which you can taste for yourself when you stop at one of these delicious wineries. Don’t miss these favorite spots.

Black Star Farms
360 McKinley Rd E, Traverse City, MI 49686

This enchanting winery, just off the scenic M-37, offers visitors beautiful vineyard views and exquisite wines. As an extension of the renowned Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay, this destination boasts a state-of-the-art wine making and distilling facility that truly captures the essence of northwest Michigan.

You’ll love the tasting room, where a round bar constructed from wine barrels sets the stage for an unforgettable experience. In the fall and winter, you can warm yourself by the cozy fireplace as you sip.

Chateau Grand Traverse
12239 Center Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

One of the first family wineries in Old Mission, Chateau Grand Traverse played a pivotal role in establishing Michigan as a premier winemaking region. Founded in 1974, Chateau Grand Traverse is home to world-class Rieslings and other varietals that you can sip while enjoying the idyllic vineyard setting.
You’ll also find a small inn adjacent to the property with exceptional vineyard views.

Chateau Chantal Winery
15900 Rue de Vin, Traverse City, MI 49686

You’ll love the elegance of Chateau Chantal, a winery and inn perched atop a hill with breathtaking views of East and West Grand Traverse Bay. Chateau Chantal is home to some of the prettiest views of the peninsula.

The best part is the inn where you can stay overnight after sampling their premium wines and taking in the serene beauty of the vineyards and the sparkling waters.
They also offer amazing Cellar Tours, a 30-minute tour where you can sip while you learn. Don’t miss the multi-course Wine Dinners!

ultimate guide to the best traverse city wineries

Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery
3309 Blue Water Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686

This sprawling winery is one of the largest contiguous winery estates in Michigan. The 44-acre vineyard produces a delightful range of small-batch, estate-bottled wines, from Pinot Gris to luscious Chardonnay and other.

Brys Estate is also home to The Secret Garden, a 12-acre agricultural oasis that will enchant your senses. Stroll through the gardens, bask in the charm of picnic areas, and immerse yourself in the fragrant beauty of over 6,000 lavender plants. Explore the fresh flower garden, delight in the sweetness of the strawberry patch, and discover the aromatic wonders of the herb garden.

Mari Vineyards
8175 Center Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

Mari Vineyards is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts. With its picturesque vineyards and a Mediterranean-inspired tasting room, this winery offers a unique wine tasting experience. Sample their exquisite red wines, including their signature Row 7 and Bel Tramonto blends.

Bowers Harbor Vineyards
2896 Bowers Harbor Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

Immerse yourself in the world of exceptional wines at Bowers Harbor Vineyards. This family-owned winery offers an impressive selection of award-winning wines, including their renowned Riesling and Pinot Noir. Take a leisurely stroll through the vineyards and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Bowers Harbor Vineyards Tasting Room
841 S Pioneer Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

Indulge in a wine-tasting experience at Bowers Harbor Vineyards’ charming tasting room. Sample their diverse range of wines, including their popular Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Savor each sip as you take in the warm and inviting atmosphere.

coastline of old mision peninsula

Two Lads Distillery
16985 Smokey Hollow Road, Traverse City, MI 49686

For a taste of artisanal spirits, head to Two Lads Distillery. This boutique distillery specializes in small-batch, handcrafted spirits using locally sourced ingredients. From their acclaimed vodka to their unique cherry-infused gin, every sip is a testament to their dedication to quality.

Grab a Bite Eat on Old Mission Peninsula

The Boathouse Restaurant
14039 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686

Experience waterfront dining at its finest at The Boathouse Restaurant. You’ll love the breathtaking views of West Grand Traverse Bay and if you plan it right, you’ll be able to watch an amaing sunset. From fresh seafood to perfectly cooked steaks, every dish is a work of art.

Mission Table
13512 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686

Nestled within the historic Bowers Harbor Inn, Mission Table offers an exquisite dining experience. Indulge in farm-to-table cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Savor their seasonal dishes while enjoying panoramic views of West Grand Traverse Bay.

Jolly Pumpkin
13512 Peninsula Drive, Traverse City, MI 49686

Satisfy your cravings for exceptional craft beer and gourmet cuisine at Jolly Pumpkin. Known for their artisanal brews and mouthwatering dishes, this brewpub offers a unique dining experience. Don’t miss their famous truffle fries and delectable wood-fired pizzas.

More Michigan Trip Ideas

About the Author-

William Orr has been a native Michigander all his life. He was born in Plymouth, Michigan in 2002 and now attends college at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studying English and Communications. William is currently a content writer for My Michigan Beach and in the future, he dreams of becoming a novelist. William’s interests include guitar, fitness, and writing.