RV Rental Traverse City, MI

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Traverse City, Michigan RV Rentals

Traverse City, Michigan might not be at the top of your list of next possible vacation destinations, but it should be, especially if you’re planning an RV road trip. This quaint and somewhat remote northern Michigan town has much to offer in the way of interesting tourist attractions, friendly and welcoming people, and unspoiled natural vistas that are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Ideally situated on the northern shore of Lake Michigan, there are few places in the US that can compare to summer in Traverse City.

If you don’t have your own RV, not to worry. RV rentals are plentiful and affordable in the Traverse City area. You can choose from a wide selection of options ranging from a comfortable 5th wheel to a minimalistic teardrop tow-behind. And when it comes to places to park your RV, options abound, with some of the most pristine and beautiful campgrounds you’ll ever see. 

Check out some of the awesome and fun attractions and events that Traverse City has to offer and you’ll quickly see why we love this wonderful summertime playground.

Popular RV Destinations in Traverse City

Mission Point Lighthouse

Traverse City loves its lighthouses, and there are quite a few to visit. One of our favorites is the Mission Point Lighthouse. With this landmark, the journey is absolutely as important as the destination, with a stunning 19-mile drive up the Old Mission Peninsula that leads you through beautiful vineyards and cherry orchards. The lighthouse was constructed in 1870 and was in continual use until 1933 to warn mariners away from the dangerous shoals extending out into Grand Traverse Bay.

Today, the Mission Point Lighthouse is the focal point of a beautiful park with natural beaches, picnic spots, well-trodden hiking and cross-country skiing trails, historical exhibits, and an intimate gift shop which is open to the public between May and October. Touring inside the lighthouse, you can learn all about its proud history. Be sure to explore the Hessler Log Cabin, the home of Joseph and Mary Hessler, which was hand-hewn out of white pine and hemlock trees in 1854.

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons

A village unlike any other, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons has been innovatively and ingeniously renovated and repurposed to become a unique shopping and dining mecca that you must see. In its former life, the Village was once the Traverse City State Hospital and the Northern Michigan Asylum, but instead of demolishing the site, its beautiful Victorian buildings, historic arboretum, and beautiful natural landscape were refurbished to become one of Traverse City’s top destinations.

The Village is one of the largest historic renovation projects in the country, and you will be mesmerized by the exquisite architecture and the lushness of the surrounding grounds. Work up an appetite by hiking or biking alone some of the scenic trails that meander through the 480-acre preserve that the Village sits on. You can also take informative guided tours of the historic buildings. 

Explore a Shipwreck

The Caribbean Sea isn’t the only body of water that is full of hidden shipwrecks; the waters around Traverse City have a surprising number of well-preserved ships that have fought the rocks and shoals and lost over the years. Thanks to the clean and clear waters of northern Lake Michigan, they’re quite easy to find and explore. In fact, many can be found with just a snorkel, fins, a mask, and some diligent exploring.

For a more in-depth experience, you can hire a Scuba shop to professionally guide you into deeper wrecks that you won’t be able to find on your own. For a less physically taxing option, you can even explore a wreck from the beach at Sleeping Bear, where the beached remains of several shipwrecks can be found. South Manitou Island has four shipwrecks in close proximity, including Francisco Morazan, a steel freighter that ran aground in a blizzard in 1960.

The Dennos Museum Center

Traverse City boasts a distinctive Native American and Inuit culture and influence, which can be explored and experienced in the unique Dennos Museum, located on the beautiful campus of Northwestern Michigan College. Opened in 1991, the museum is a cultural mecca that features one of the largest and most dynamic arrays of programs, exhibitions, performances, and works of art all centered around the Baffin Island Inuit people.

The museum’s permanent collection showcases regional, national, and international art from the 19th to 21st centuries. It also has an impressive installment of distinctive outdoor sculptures by local and international artists. Make sure you don’t miss the equally interesting collection of Canadian Woodland Indian art, it’s definitely something you won’t see in many other art museums.

Traverse Tall Ship Company

Another fun experience that you won’t be able to find in many other places is a trip on a real-life replica of a 19th century cargo schooner, the tall ship Manitou. Traverse Tall Ship Company runs regular trips on this impressive 114-foot long working schooner that has a 59-person capacity. Large schooners just like this one played an important and colorful role in the history of the Great Lakes.

Enjoy a fun and relaxing sunset sail, an overnight bed & breakfast trip, or even a 4-6 day excursion along the smooth waters of Lake Michigan. The Manitou also offers fun themed nights, regular live entertainment, wine tasting cruises with catered food, and ice cream sailings for added enjoyment. Also consider a private two-hour, all day, or overnight charter on their classic sailing yacht Scout if you’re looking for a slightly more intimate experience.

Events and Entertainment in Traverse City

Blossom Day

Since May is Michigan wine month, and the Traverse City region is exceedingly proud of their world-class local wineries, it only makes sense that there would be a huge festival showcasing the Wineries of the Old Mission Peninsula and surrounding region in May. With 2.6 million cherry trees in blossom, it is hands down one of the most fragrant, delicious, and visually stunning festivals of its kind in the entire country. Enjoy a day taking in the storybook scenery and exploring the wineries’ diverse offerings.

You will have the opportunity to try some of the best wines in the region thoughtfully paired with delectable spring-inspired foods from the region’s top chefs. With ten renowned wineries participating in this all-day event, you’re sure to find some new wines to fall in love with. You can even chat with wine makers, be the first to sample brand new releases, barrels, or tank tastings, and keep your commemorative wine glass as a souvenir.

National Cherry Festival

Traverse City is well-known for its record-setting annual harvests of wild tart cherries, and it has one of the city’s biggest festivals of the year the week of July 4th to celebrate. There’s tons to see and do during this multi-day event, which attracts half a million tourists and participants each year. The event kicks off with a fun and energetic parade that honors all things cherries.

You can enjoy nightly concerts from a diverse group of national and local artists, tons of local vendors offering homemade cherry preserves and baked goods, and plenty of other food, beverage, and craft options. There’s also an exciting air show put on by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird team, and numerous races, including the Traverse Half Marathon, in which all participants get, what else, but a cup of fresh cherries at the end. Be sure you don’t miss the highly popular and slightly strange cherry pit spitting contest, in which festival goers try to beat the shocking 95-feet, 6.5-inch world record.

Traverse City Film Festival

Founded in 2005 by famed and controversial documentary film director Michael Moore, the Traverse City Film Festival delivers dozens of great and diverse selections of “Just Great Movies.” The festival hosts and honors the achievements of some famous actors and actresses, debuts brand new movies, and presents classic movies free of charge. You can also participate in free panel discussions with actors, writers, directors, and other members of the film industry each day of the festival.

This comprehensive festival screens more than 100 movies throughout 10 different venues in and around Traverse City. It also showcases local artists and musicians who volunteer their time and talents to further enhance the festival’s reach. Of course the festival is rounded out with a proper focus on food, with plenty of offerings from talented local chefs and restaurants to keep your belly happy during the week.

Traverse City Beer Week

Autumn in Traverse City is a vibrant and gorgeous time of year to visit, with the cooler days, gorgeous foliage, and the Traverse City Beer Week, you’re sure to have a memorable visit. Each fall, beer lovers and connoisseurs flock to taste the numerous and eclectic beers offered by the state’s many breweries. The event kicks off with a 5K fun run in which participants dress up in funny themed costumes with fake beards and sample brews along the course.

Then you can enjoy tastings of unique brews that will surprise even the most refined palates. All week, local area restaurants and breweries will be hosting special events, specials on beer and food, live music, and plenty of fun. Be sure to remember to vote for your favorite beers.

FAQs:

Q: What are RV rentals?

RV rentals work much like any other vehicle rentals. You pay a daily or weekly rate. You can expect these rates to fluctuate based on the time of year and the geographic location that you're renting. Naturally, rates tend to increase during peak season. You can get an RV for a certain period and enjoy all its benefits while traveling without the hassles and large cost of owning your RV. It’s also a great way to try out some different RV models if you’re considering purchasing your own.

Q: How much are RV rentals?

RV rentals in Traverse City can range between $75 and $150 per night for most small to moderately sized trailers and campervans. Larger RVs and travel trailers can cost from $100 to $250 per night, depending on the season and the RV’s year, make, and model. Some companies offer a discount if you rent for longer than a week.

Q: Do I need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Traverse City?

While most states require you to be at least 25 years old to rent an RV, the legal age to rent one in Michigan is 18. This may not be the policy of your RV rental agency, however. Most companies require you to be at least 25 to rent.

Q: Do I need insurance when I rent an RV?

Yes, you'll need insurance to rent an RV in Traverse City. It's meant to cover the vehicle in case of an accident and is mandatory in most states. Most rental companies will have RV-specific insurance that you can purchase.

Q: Do I need to return my rental RV with a full tank?

This policy varies among rental agencies, but most RV rental facilities in Traverse City will expect you to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. At the very least, the fuel should be at the same level as when you picked up the vehicle. 

Q: Are RVs pet-friendly in Traverse City?

Many RV and camper rentals in Traverse City are pet-friendly, and there are even vehicles specially designed for accommodating animals. Still, it’s important to double-check the policy with your chosen rental agency before renting a particular vehicle.