Northern Michigan is an outdoor paradise! When visiting GOREC, take the opportunity to explore this paradise in the Traverse City region. 

Sleeping Bear

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a breathtaking symphony of water, sky, and towering sand dunes on the Lake Michigan shoreline. It was voted the most Beautiful Place in America by the viewers of Good Morning America in 2011. Part of the national park system since 1970, Sleeping Bear is one of America’s most profoundly beautiful landscapes: a 64-mile curve of sweeping vistas, miles of perfect freshwater beaches, forested wilderness islands, and miles of hiking trails. One of the most popular activities for kids at Sleeping Bear is the Dune Climb.

Tall shipsTall Ships

Discovery Pier is home to the largest tall ship fleet on the American side of the Great Lakes. You can arrange for your group to take a cruise on the Schooner Manitou. Depending on scheduling, you might be able to arrange for a deck tour or even a ride on the Schooner Madeline. The Inland Seas Education Association provides half-day programs steeped in Science Technology Engineering & Math from both the Discovery Pier and Suttons Bay. Contact any one of these organizations for more information about opportunities on tall ships,

Paddle Sports

If your group has its own canoes, kayaks, or SUPs, there are plenty of places to get out on the water, including right at GOREC. If you don’t, there are lots of liveries that will help you enjoy some of the best scenery that Northern Michigan has to offer. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Upper Boardman River. Ranch Rudolph is less than 10 minute from GOREC and rents both canoes and kayaks. In the heart of the summer you can even get up close and personal with the Boardman River during an inner tube float trip.
  • Lower Boardman River and Grand Traverse Bay. Paddle TC will rent you kayaks and set you up to paddle from Boardman Lake through downtown Traverse City. You finish in the open water of West Bay. SUPs are also available.
  • Crystal River. Crystal River Outfitters rents canoes and kayaks for your trip down the meandering Crystal. Shoot the tube at the midpoint for an extra thrill. Finish in the quaint village of Glen Arbor. In the Sleeping Bear region.
  • Platte River. Riverside Canoe Trips  lets you canoe, kayak, tube, or raft down the Platte River and end at a beautiful sugar sand beach on Lake Michigan. In the Sleeping Bear region.
Pyramid Point destination

Pyramid Point overlook (courtesy of NPS)


There are lots of great hikes right at GOREC. If you are looking for scenic vistas, Sleeping Bear has more than a dozen hiking trails, including the Empire Bluff Trail and Pyramid Point Trail. Both of them have remarkable views of Lake Michigan. There are many more hikes to choose from. Google maps lists them here.  GOREC staff and volunteers can help you choose the hike that best suits your group.

Winter Sports

Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing… Northwestern Michigan is home to some of the best trails and hills the Midwest has to offer and Google maps shows them here.


If your group is interested in a road trip, there is great cycling along the country roads of the Leelanau or Old Mission peninsulas. Mountain bikers will be glad to know that there are plenty of single tracks, including the nearby VASA trail. Google maps lists some here.  Again, GOREC staff and volunteers can help you choose the hike that best suits your group.

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