If you’re looking for a fun day trip destination in Lower Michigan, Old Mission Peninsula is an excellent choice. There are plenty of things to do whether you’re looking for a scenic drive or places where you can get out and putter around. Old Mission Peninsula has what you’re looking for. There aren’t a lot of activities that would hold the attention of children but it’s a perfect locale for adults!
Check out this video of our experience.
The peninsula is located just north of Traverse City. It’s extremely scenic as it’s only 3 miles wide and the water of Grand Traverse Bay can be seen from almost anywhere you go. It’s also only 18 miles long so you’ll probably want to drive down and back a few times to make sure you don’t miss any of the attractions.
Here are 4 Couples Day Trip Ideas on Old Mission Peninsula:
1 – Farms and Farm Stands
As you drive along M-37, you’ll see farm stand after farm stand, selling everything from fresh produce to handmade goods. When we were on our trip, we were intrigued by the display at the Harbor View Nursery and Lavender farm so we decided to stop and see what they had to offer.
They grow cherries, grapes, and raspberries but the lavender plants are what caught our eye. We visited the farm after they had already harvested their lavender but it was still a fun stop. The farmer encourages visitors to wander and to take in the sights. This was free of charge! We enjoyed going into the lavender field to see the plants up close. We also were able to tour the barns where there were swatches of lavender hanging up to dry.
They also offer 30 minute guided tours of their farm, which would be a fun option if you wanted to learn even more. The guided tours are by appointment and cost $10 per adult.
A trip to the lavender farm isn’t complete without going through their shop. They produce over 50 all-natural products made right there from their own lavender. I was excited to snag some lavender – rosemary body butter for myself. It smelled amazing!
I love using soaps and lotions with real essential oils rather than synthetic scents. Lavender is so good for us! It has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is also an astringent, which causes our skin to tighten, and analgesic, which means it relieves pain. And it’s always nice to know that the items you’re putting on your skin are actually good for you!
Dennis and I also tried some of their Lavender Honey Ice Cream and it was divine. Possibly my favorite ice cream ever… and I love ice cream so that’s saying a lot. I highly recommend giving it a try!
2 – Mission Point Lighthouse
At the northernmost tip of the peninsula, on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, sits the Mission Point Lighthouse. Built in 1870, this lighthouse and the grounds around it are a quaint place to visit. Normally, the lighthouse itself is open to tour from May-October & weekends in November. However, with all of the social distancing demands of 2020, it is currently closed to visitors.
The grounds are open, however, and that includes being able to peek inside the Hessler Log Cabin as well as having access to several miles of hiking trails.
During our visit, we noticed there were lots of people up close to the lighthouse but the trails were only lightly populated. There are quite a few different parking spots from which you can stop to enjoy the trails. The ones we chose were near the lighthouse on the north side of the peninsula and they were a short walk from our car to a spectacular view of Grand Traverse Bay.
It’s a state park so there is a fee for entering the grounds of the Mission Point Lighthouse; but, if you are a Michigan resident and you have a Recreation Pass on your license plate, then you can enter without any additional charge. When the lighthouse tours are back up and running, there is a separate fee for that as well.
3 – Wine Trail
Old Mission Peninsula is in the heart of Michigan’s Wine Country. It features the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail which contains 10 wineries including Mari Vineyards, which is owned by Marty Lagina, one of the stars of the hit TV show The Curse of Oak Island. Dennis and I love that show so it was especially fun to drive up the long driveway to that winery!
These wineries feature wine tastings, appetizers, and special events. If you’re traveling as a couple, there’s no need to make reservations. Simply walk in and enjoy what they have to offer. If you’re traveling with a larger group, however, you should call ahead to make reservations.
Whether or not you are a wine connoisseur, it’s worth your time to drive back into the parking lots of the various vineyards. The wineries are often located on high spots and the views of the grapevines and the surrounding bay are stunning. One view that we especially loved was at the Chateau Grand Traverse Winery. Wow!!!
4 – The View
Our absolute favorite thing about Old Mission Peninsula is the view. Because of the rolling hills, there is a beautiful vista from almost everywhere. Some visitors get out along the way and experience everything this area has to offer. Others simply drive up and down the roads to take in the view.
No matter how you decide to take in the area, Old Mission Peninsula is a beautiful area to experience. If you find yourself anywhere near the Traverse City area, we highly recommend adding this peninsula to your itinerary!