A family-friendly weekend getaway guide in Traverse City featuring the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. 

Empire Trail Northern Michigan

Earlier this fall my family of four hit the road to head to one of our favorite weekend getaway spots: the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Northern Michigan.

Grand Traverse Resort Guest Rooms Foliage

Located in Traverse City, a little over two hours north of Grand Rapids, the resort features nearly 600 guest rooms and condominiums.

Asher Laughing on Bed

Our agenda for the weekend away was to explore the local region, get outdoors, eat great food and enjoy quality family time.

Northern Michigan Fall Travel Guide

To kick off our weekend, we decided to hit up a few local wineries. You may be surprised to learn that most wineries in Northern Michigan are extremely family friendly.

Winery Vineyard Northern Michigan
Mari Vineyards Northern Michigan Winery Kid Friendly

Our first stop was Mari Vineyards which offers beautiful views of the bay.

Mari Vineyards Northern Michigan Kids Juice Friendly

Another perk? They give out free juice boxes to little ones so the adults can enjoy their vino. How perfect is that?

Pouring Wine at Winery

Our next stop was Black Star Farms, one of the more popular wineries in the area. Want to learn more? Here’s a great guide to Michigan’s Wine, Beer and Spirit Trails.

PlayGrounds Traverse City Jacob Swing
PlayGrounds Traverse City

On our way back to the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, we decided to let the boys run around and burn off energy at one of the many waterfront playgrounds in the area. Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a playground during your travels, simply search “playground” in Google Maps to see your options (complete with photos as well!)

Pool with Kids at Grand Traverse Resort

That afternoon we took advantage of the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s health club which features two pools, an indoor water playground, an indoor kids hot tub (kept at a lower temperature that is safer for children), and two outdoor adults only hot tubs.

Spa at Grand Traverse Resort

While we were there, we booked my husband a massage for later in the weekend and I signed up for a fitness class in the morning.

Trattoria Stella Traverse City
Trattoria Stella Traverse City Menu

For dinner the first night we headed out to one of our favorite spots in Traverse City, Trattoria Stella. Offering farm to table contemporary Italian cuisine, everything is scratch made and prepared in house.

Trattoria Stella Traverse City Italian Restuarant
Trattoria Stella Pizza

My boys love their homemade pizzas and I always go with one of the chef’s specials. If you love wine you will be in good hands as they have three sommeliers in house.

Dylans Candy Shop Grand Traverse Resort

To finish off our first day we decided to let the boys pick out a treat at Dylan’s Candy Bar located right inside the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

Grand Traverse Resort Dylans Candy Bar

Pretty sure we earned some major parent points that night!

Grand Traverse Resort Breakfast
Grand Traverse Resort Breakfast Buffet

The next morning we started off our day with a hearty and healthy breakfast buffet at Sweetwater American Bistro located inside the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. Featuring eggs, pancakes, cereals, pastries and an omelet station, it was just what we needed to fuel our hiking adventure to come!

Hiking Empire Bluff Trail Northern Michigan

We decided to head west to Empire Bluff Trail located at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Northern Michigan Family Fall Getaway Guide

The fall colors were exploding during our visit so I couldn’t help but get a little camera happy.

Empire Bluff Trail Boys Walking

Perhaps the best part of this trail is that it leads to a breathtaking overlook of Lake Michigan.

Empire Bluff Overlook of Lake Michigan and Sand

It doesn’t get more beautiful than this, does it? Be sure to check out Empire Bluff Trail during your next visit to Northern Michigan!

Joes Friendly Tavern Northern Michigan

If you’re looking for a tasty, casual lunch afterwards head to Joe’s Friendly Tavern in Empire. The cold beer, juicy burgers and incredible chili hit the spot after our hike.

Apple Orchards

On your drive back to the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, I highly recommend a pit stop at Gallagher’s Farm Market and Bakery.

Gallaghers Farm Market Traverse City
Gallaghers Farm Market Pumpkin Donut Traverse City

The pumpkin donuts are not to be missed but they also have freshly baked breads, pies and more. I also stocked up on veggies to take home!

North Ware House Market Traverse City

Once we returned to the hotel, I let the boys relax in the room while I headed out to grab a cup of coffee and do a little retail therapy in downtown Traverse City.

North Ware House Market Traverse City Flower Shops

My favorite spot to go is Ware House MRKT, a newly renovated warehouse full of locally owned shops and boutiques. I always find great dresses, delicious coffee and other fun goodies to take home when I visit.

Aerie e1543007744791

For our final dinner of the weekend, we got dressed up and headed to Aerie Restaurant & Lounge located on the 16th floor of the Tower insideAerie Restaurant & Lounge Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.

dining room Aerie e1543007805123

Featuring panoramic views of the Grand Traverse Bay, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the staff was extremely accommodating to our little guys and the entire experience was very kid-friendly. In fact, they even have an upscale menu designed for younger diners.

Grand Traverse Resort Spa Room Service

The next morning, our boys splurged on a hearty stack of pancakes thanks to room service while I got ready to head back to the health club to squeeze in a workout.

Grand Traverse Resort Fitness Classes

I’m a group fitness fanatic so I decided to sign up for a fun cardio/strength training circuit class but the health club has a variety of options ranging from tennis to swimming to treadmills and more. Either way, it felt so good to get in a sweat after all the delicious food we had been enjoying all weekend!

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa Room Views

One thing is for sure: we can’t wait for our next family getaway at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa! Have you ever been to Traverse City? I’d love to hear from you.

Empire Bluff Trail Traverse City Hike

Your family is waiting.

Disclosure: Grand Traverse Resort & Spa hosted us during our visit. All thoughts are my own. 

Want more family friendly travel guides? Check out my Pinterest board!

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