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Michigan / Traverse City

7 Best Traverse City Hotels & Resorts On The Water

Updated February 25, 2024

If you want to experience Michigan’s “Lake Life” love affair, there is no better place to do it than in Traverse City. Whether this is your first or tenth visit, you’ll never tire of this city’s beauty and charm, but deciding where to stay can be challenging! 

Year-round, there is really no better place to stay than on the water — the vibrant blue water and cloudless skies are the ultimate alarm clock! No matter if your Traverse City visit is for the weekend or weeks, a stay at one of these gorgeous hotels perched on the water (or beach) is a must for an unforgettable getaway. 

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Must-Book Hotels on the Water or Beach in Traverse City

Short on Time?
Here are My Favorite Hotels on The Water in Traverse City!

Best hotel for a couple or friends: Delamar Hotel
Best hotel for a family: Cherry Inn and Suites

#1 Delamar Hotel

615 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686
For the perfect mix of city and sea, stay here! This upscale waterfront resort is the perfect blend of sophistication and modern amenities and features floor-to-ceiling windows (perfect for views of Grand Traverse Bay), electric vehicle charging stations, a yoga + fitness studio, indoor and outdoor pools, chic dining options, and more. 

The onsite Artisan Restaurant is one of the few waterfront restaurants in Traverse City and features a globally-inspired menu that celebrates local farms; it’s also vegan and gluten-free friendly. This is one of the best places to capture the sunset with a cocktail.

Although the hotel isn’t located right on the beach, it’s only a short walk to Sunset Park Beach and downtown Traverse City, putting it in the ideal location for relaxation and fun. In addition to that, during the warmer months, the hotel offers eBike, jet ski, and kayak rentals.   

Highlights of Staying at Delamar

  • Near the beach and downtown Traverse City (within walking distance to both)
  • Diverse onsite dining that offers a great spot to enjoy the sunset (one of the few waterfront dining options in Traverse City)
  • EV charging stations available 
  • Access to kayak, jet ski, and bike rentals during the summer and snowshoe rentals during the winter

Disadvantages of Staying at Delamar

  • It’s not on the beach.
  • Rooms are only equipped with a mini fridge and coffee maker (except the suites)
  • Pets aren’t allowed 
Book Your Stay

#2 The Baywatch Resort

1529 US-31, Traverse City, MI 49686
Let the days fade away while relaxing on this resort’s private sugar sand beach! The Baywatch Resort features ten modern room types to ensure it meets all its guests’ needs. Many rooms offer stunning views of East Grand Traverse Bay and private patios — the perfect place to enjoy your coffee and sunrise in the morning. Guests can enjoy the onsite fitness center, free parking, and EV charging stations.   

When hunger strikes, you’re in luck; the resort is only a short 10-minute drive to downtown Traverse City where you’ll find a diverse lineup of restaurants, cafes, and breweries. 

Highlights of Staying at The Baywatch Resort

  • Free continental breakfast 
  • EV charging stations available 
  • Private beach access with complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas 

Disadvantages of Staying at The Baywatch Resort

  • Rooms only have a mini fridge and coffee maker — no onsite restaurant. 
  • No indoor pool
  • There is a daily resort fee for WiFi, beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels.
  • Pets aren’t allowed 
  • You’re not within easy walking distance of downtown Traverse City — over 4 miles. 
Book Your Stay

#3 The Beach Haus Resort

1489 US-31, Traverse City, MI 49686
This family-owned resort was one of the first beachfront properties to open in Traverse City in 1968! It’s delighted generations of families over the years, and it just completed an extensive renovation to improve guest rooms and amenities. 

The boutique property is small, with only 31 rooms, making it a challenge to get a reservation in the summer! In addition to a private sandy beach, guests can enjoy games like volleyball and bocce ball and utilize the onsite grills. 

If you’re traveling with a group or family, you might want to check out their gorgeous 2700 sq. foot penthouse, which features three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and complimentary beach cabanas.

Highlights of Staying at The Beach Haus Resort

  • Newly renovated, family-run property with individual rooms and a penthouse
  • Private beach access with complimentary lounge chairs, umbrellas, and beach games
  • Onsite grills available for guest use

Disadvantages of Staying at The Beach Haus Resort

  • It’s a small property, so getting a room during the summer can be challenging. 
  • There is no onsite restaurant. 
  • You’re not within easy walking distance of downtown Traverse City — over 4 miles. 
Book Your Stay

#4 Cherry Tree Inn and Suites

2345 N, US-31 N, Traverse City, MI 49686
The Cherry Tree Inn and Suites is another great option for those seeking a waterfront experience in Traverse City. Located on the East Bay, this hotel offers beautiful water views and easy access to the beach. 

The modern studios and suites are equipped with kitchenettes and many other creature comforts for the perfect stay, whether for the week or just the weekend! Many rooms also feature balconies or patios overlooking the bay — the ideal place to enjoy the sunset. The hotel also offers a complimentary breakfast, indoor and outdoor pools, and a hot tub. 

Plus, it’s just a short drive (only 12 minutes) from all the fun shops and restaurants in downtown Traverse City.

Highlights of Staying at Cherry Inn and Suites

  • Private beach access with onsite watercraft rental, fire pits, and lounge chairs
  • Modern and spacious rooms and suites equipped with kitchenettes
  • Indoor and outdoor pool  
  • Many seasonal activities like corn hole, movie nights, and bike rentals
  • Complimentary breakfast

Disadvantages of Staying at Cherry Inn and Suites

  • There is a daily resort fee 
  • Pets aren’t allowed 
  • You’re not within easy walking distance of downtown Traverse City — over 5 miles. 
Book Your Stay

#5 ParkShore Resort

1401 US-31, Traverse City, MI 49686
For the perfect family-friendly waterfront stay in Traverse City, look no further than ParkShore Resort. This resort offers stunning views of East Grand Traverse Bay and is just minutes from downtown Traverse City. 

There are a variety of spacious rooms that are perfect for a family or romantic getaway, with many featuring balconies or patios overlooking the water. The resort also offers a private beach, indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, and a fitness center. On the beach, the resort offers guests access to jet skiing, parasailing, boat rentals, and free activities like volleyball and fire pits. 

Highlights of Staying at the ParkShore Resort

  • Private beach access with complimentary lounge chairs (beach cabanas are available for a fee)
  • Recently renovated rooms 
  • Indoor pool 
  • Suites with kitchenettes 

Disadvantages of Staying at the ParkShore Resort

  • Onsite dining doesn’t offer vegan or gluten-free options
  • Pets aren’t allowed
  • You’re not within easy walking distance of downtown Traverse City — over 5 miles. 
Book Your Stay

#6 Bayshore Resort

833 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686
Bayshore Resort is a top choice for those seeking a relaxing place to stay on the water in Traverse City. The elegant Victorian-style hotel is located on the shores of West Grand Traverse Bay and offers stunning water views from every room. For a romantic getaway, check out their spa rooms or suites.  

Guests can enjoy a private beach, indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, and a fitness center. During the summer, the resort offers jet ski and boat rentals. The rooms are spacious, with many featuring balconies or patios overlooking the bay. Plus, the hotel is just a short walk or drive (it’s only a mile) to downtown Traverse City and many local restaurants and shops.

Highlights of Staying at the Bayshore Resort

  • Private beach access with complimentary beach chairs and towels
  • Access to jet-ski and boat rentals during the summer
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Indoor pool 

Disadvantages of Staying at the Bayshore Resort

  • Rooms aren’t updated 
  • Pets aren’t allowed
  • Most rooms do not have a mini fridge or coffee maker 
Book Your Stay

#7 Sugar Beach & Grand Beach Resort Hotel

1773 US-31 North, Traverse City, MI 49686
Technically, two Traverse City hotels are wrapped up on this gorgeous private beach — Sugar Beach Resort and Grand Beach Resort. No matter which side of the building you choose to stay in, both properties feature private balconies, beach access, a fitness center, an indoor pool, and much more. 

The resorts offer 99 modern and spacious rooms and two beachfront condos with various amenities perfect for any type of traveler or group. In addition to relaxing on the sandy beach, a stay here puts you in the perfect location to explore downtown Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail, and much more. The resort also offers multiple experience packages, which include luxury picnics, boat rentals, and local tours. 

Highlights of Staying at the Sugar Beach & Grand Beach Resort Hotel

  • Both properties offer access to a private beach with access to watersports rentals.
  • Indoor swimming pool
  • Updated and spacious rooms equipped with a mini fridge, microwave, and coffee maker

Disadvantages of Staying at the Sugar Beach & Grand Beach Resort Hotel

  • It is a smaller resort, so getting a room during the summer can be challenging.
  • Pets aren’t allowed
  • You’re not within easy walking distance of downtown Traverse City — over 5 miles. 
Book Your Sugar Beach Stay Book Your Grand Beach Resort Stay

Traverse City FAQs

Traverse City has always been a popular destination for travelers because of its drop-dead gorgeous natural beauty and access to Lake Michigan. The area is known for its picturesque landscapes, sandy beaches, and breathtaking sunsets, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and photographers. Many people are stunned to find out just how beautiful this area is!

In addition to its beauty, it’s also a wine region and a haven for cherry lovers. Traverse City is often called the Cherry Capital of the World due to its abundant cherry orchards and production of tart cherries. The National Cherry Festival held in July attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy cherry-themed events, parades, and fireworks.

On the wine side, the area is in the perfect location and has an ideal climate for grape cultivation, resulting in a thriving wine industry. You’ll find a vast variety of wineries with everything from sweet cherry to award-winning Italian wines. Year-round, visitors can take guided or independent wine tours — during the summer, it’s best to make reservations, especially on the weekend.

How Long Should You Stay in Traverse City? 

You should stay in Traverse City as long as possible (well if it’s summertime)! Honestly, Traverse City is a spectacular destination; you really can’t have too much time there, especially when the weather is warm. 

For planning purposes, if you’re visiting during the summertime, five days a week is a reasonable amount of time to plan to visit. This gives you ample time to enjoy various activities, from snoozing on the beach to hiking sand dunes and everything in between. If you only have time for a short getaway to Traverse City, I still think it’s worth it — you’ll just want to come back! 

When is the Best Time to Visit Traverse City?

Year-round, Traverse City is a beautiful place to visit, but the best time is from late spring through early fall. The warm weather is great for exploring trails, hitting the beaches, and eating outdoors, but crowds are larger, and accommodations are more expensive. 

If you’re on a budget, plan to visit in May, September, or October. May and September should have mild weather, October can be a gamble, but you shouldn’t have to deal with snow just yet!

Waterfront Hotel Wrap Up: More Traverse City & Northern Michigan Travel Help

Now that you know the best hotels on the water in Traverse City, you might want to know what else there is to do! Or maybe you’re heading to the Upper Peninsula; no matter your plans, I’ve got something to help plan your adventure!

Complete Traverse City Vegan Guide
How to Spend Two Days in Traverse City
The 10 Best Traverse City Hiking Trails to Explore
Where to Find Vegan Wine in Northern Michigan
Best Places to Enjoy the Falls Colors in Michigan
8 Can’t Miss Things to Do & See in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The Best Places to Stay in Pictured Rocks
9 Hiking Trails Not To Miss in Pictured Rocks

About Author

Rebecca is the founder of the vegan travel company Veggies Abroad. In 2021, she bid her 15-year career goodbye and ventured into the world of ethical business with the launch of a vegan travel blog (the one you’re reading!). As the blog flourished, Rebecca expanded her vision to encompass personalized travel planning services and launched Veggies Abroad's inaugural vegan tour to Thailand, marking the beginning of many more eco-conscious, plant-powered adventures to come. Follow her adventures on Instagram or Facebook @veggiesabroad