Cabin-Style Suites with Massive Indoor Water Park
High above Fort Mackenzie, a four-story waterlogged treehouse that feels like it could be a part of The Swiss Family Robinson or Pirates of the Caribbean, a 1,000-gallon bucket slowly fills with water. Suddenly, the big bucket topples, drenching those gathered below in a torrent of water. Heated to a balmy 84 degrees, Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City’s indoor water park and its more than 10 splash-filled attractions draw visitors looking for an aquatic getaway no matter the season. In addition to braving Fort Mackenzie, you can careen down the four-story Alberta Falls tube slide and unwind on a raft in the Crooked Creek lazy river.
The 38,000-square-foot water park is merely one of the many activities at the hotel’s multi-entertainment campus. At the MagiQuest live-action adventure, kids wield magic wands and journey through a kingdom to meet mythical creatures, including a pixie and a dragon. You can use the included resort credit toward any activities, including games of mini golf at the Howl at the Moon indoor course, shortened lane bowling at Ten Paw Alley,and treatments at Scooops Kid Spa. More than 100 games such as skee-ball and virtual pinochle attract gamers to the Northern Lights Arcade, with prizes and games geared toward all ages.
All suites have semi-separate living areas with a couch and coffee table.
Traverse City, Michigan: The Charming Cherry Capital of the World
One of USA Today ’s 10 Great Places for Local Wines, Traverse City draws visitors year-round with its fine riesling wines made from grapes grown in the fertile Old Mission Peninsula. The proclaimed “Cherry Capital of the World,” Traverse City is tucked between the pinky and index finger on the hand-shaped state of Michigan, bordered by scenic Grand Traverse Bay to the north and the sprawling Traverse City State Forest Area to the east.
The town’s downtown and waterfront thrive with gourmet restaurants and local landmarks such as State Theatre, a recently restored art-house cinema built in 1949; families can drop by for the $0.25 Saturday-morning matinee. A drive north up the peninsula eventually ends at the whitewashed Old Mission Point Lighthouse, a local relic originally constructed in 1870.