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Photo by Todd and Brad Reed Photography
Watching sailboats dance on the water moving quickly with the wind is scene repeated daily in Northern Michigan during the warm weather months. Sailing is a special pastime that often brings friends together in Northern Michigan. And no wonder. The sailing here is wonderful.
The Northern Michigan Sloop (or NM Sloop) is a sail-boat that first hit the waters of Little Traverse Bay in 1934. You may see it resting in the waters of Harbor Springs or you may have the opportunity to see it making through the waves of Little Traverse Bay. This racing sloop handles very well and is an easy boat to crew. This classic, open cockpit daily sailor still has a strong presence in Northern Michigan with NM racing taking placing throughout the summer months hosted by the Little Traverse Yacht Club (LTYC).
The Little Traverse Yacht Club is one of the nation’s older yacht clubs and began in 1895. LTYC is all about sailing and supports not only NM racing but several other fleets including J/70s and Alerions. Tuesday nights on Little Traverse Bay is race night and you’ll typically see two courses with boats trying to out sail each other. For more info, visit littletraverseyachtclub.theclubpot.com.
At the end of July is a rite of summer in the Northland: Little Traverse Yacht Club’s Ugotta Regatta. Celebrating 50+ years of sailboat racing, the Ugotta Regatta hosted by the Little Traverse Yacht Club (LTYC) takes place each year on the weekend following the 2nd Mackinac race. During Regatta weekend, spectators line the waterfront from Harbor Springs to Bay Harbor to watch the sailboats race across Little Traverse Bay.
Little Traverse Sailors (LTS) in Harbor Springs is located on the waterfront at the Little Traverse Yacht Club and the young sailors maneuvering sailboats in the harbor is a summer sight that never fails to mesmerize the watchers. The school has been teaching children to sail for nearly 60 years. The nine-week program begins each June and runs through August with morning and afternoon sessions. Young sailors partake in sailing weeks where they learn the skills necessary to enjoy the sport of sailing as well as racing. For more information, visit littletraversesailors.org.
On Crooked Lake, the Crooked Lake Sailors offers a five-week sailing program with one-week sailing sessions beginning in June. The also offer scholarships as well as adult classes. The school’s mission is to “develop resilient, independent, and capable sailors by providing a fun and safe learning environment with help and encouragement close at hand.” To learn more, visit crookedlakesailors.org.
Sail Charlevoix has been teaching kids how to sail for nearly 30 years. A 4-H program operated through the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Service, the Mariners teaches sailing throughout the summer. They offer classes in both Boyne City and Charlevoix and mix fun, sun, and sailing to teach children ages 8-19 how to rig a boat, knot tying, boat safety, basic racing, small boat handling, sail trim, docking and departing, and more. To find out more, visit sailcharlevoix.org.
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The North Country Trail is the longest trail in the U.S. and stretches from North Dakota to New York, passing through Northern Michigan.
The Headlands, just west of Mackinaw City, is one of six International Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. and one of nine in the world.
Fort Mackinac is open from May-October and includes buildings restored their original look after the fort’s occupation by the British
Little Traverse Conservancy protects land and scenic areas and provides opportunities for all of us to appreciate the environment.
Get off the ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace to Mackinac Island and the first thing you’ll see is the historic downtown area.
Shop Northern Michigan antiques shops, art galleries, and furniture stores for home furnishings that are unique and affordable.
Historic Mill Creek Discover Park has 625 acres along Lake Huron, 3.5 miles of hiking trails, a reconstructed saw mill, mill dam, and more.
Northern Michigan has many varied settings for kayaking- whether it by river, one of the inland lakes, or Lake Michigan,
Mackinaw City’s Heritage Village lets visitors explore life in the Straits of Mackinac as it was during the era of 1880-1917.
Wildlife sanctuary Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is located 3 1/2 miles north of Harbor Springs, between Lower Shore Drive and Lake Michigan.