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A sailboat is still one of the most nostalgic and romantic ways to experience the water. Bay Breeze Charters has a fleet of more than 20 yachts you can rent. Not a captain? You can hire one there too. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. 231.941.0535, bbyc.com.
This 114-foot-long, 1800s-replica schooner seems to have cruised straight out of a Great Lakes history book. The deck beneath your feet, the sails billowed above: unforgettable. Choose from three daily tours (noon, afternoon and the popular evening cruise), each two hours long. 231.941.2000, tallshipsailing.com.
Kayaking and Paddleboarding
Paddling the shoreline of Traverse Bay is a summer classic. But if you’re up for something new, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding: a hot sport that’s akin to surfing on still water. Whatever your paddling pleasure, The River at Clinch Park can connect you with rentals by the hour or day. 231.883.7890,therivertraversecity.com.
Charter Fishing on Grand Traverse Bay
For the outdoorsman, there are few thrills like chasing game fish on the Great Lakes. Traverse City offers options right at the docks, with the bonus that fishing amid the protection of Grand Traverse Bay offers more assurance of smooth waters. With nearly 300 square miles, a depth of 600 feet, and an abundance of lake trout, brown trout, steelhead, and salmon, the bay offers fisherman all the species of desire. Charter fishing need-to-know: All bait and tackle are usually provided; a typical half-day trip runs about four hours; and anyone over 17 who plans to fish will need a valid Michigan fishing license (day licenses run about $10). Three charters to try in TC: Big Kahuna (bigkahunacharter.com), Daydreamer (fishdaydreamer.com), and Reel Fun (reelfunfishingcharters.com).