Outdoor Tourism in Traverse City

of one

Outdoor Tourism in Traverse City

White Americans constitute the majority of outdoor trail participants in Traverse City compared to other races. However, for both park and trail activities, males had a higher participation rate compared to females.


  • Over 50% of Americans aged six years and older participated in outdoor activities over the past decade, and 63% in Michigan.
  • Children constitute 12.6% of outdoor trail participants, teens (15.3%), adults (59%), and seniors (13.3%).
  • For park activities, children constitute 45%, teens (25.1%), adults (28.2%), and seniors (1.6%).


  • The gender distribution of outdoor participants in trail activities is male (51%) and female (49%).
  • For park activities, males constitute 55% of participants versus females (45%).


  • White Americans were the predominant race (96.7%) versus other races (3.3%) in trail activities.
  • A national park survey revealed that 78% of park visitors are White Americans. However, for park activities in Michigan, White Americans comprised 56.2% versus other races (43.8%).

Income Level

  • The majority of tourists visiting Michigan and Traverse County, in essence, earn over $30,000 annually.
  • The difference between income levels above $30,000 was insignificant among tourists. However, fewer tourists had annual earnings lower than $30,000.


  • About 16% of outdoor activity participants in Michigan have a high school certificate. Similarly, 16% of them have some college diploma.

Additional Transverse City Insights

  • Tourism contributes $1.23 billion to Traverse City's economy, a 28% increase from 2006.
  • The rate of bicycling in Traverse City is significantly higher than the national average, with a 2013 spending of $1.8 million. As such, the bicycle retail segment in the city is growing at a healthy rate.
  • Of the international tourists visiting Michigan, 16% are from Germany, China (11%), the UK (10%), Japan (10%), and India (7%).
  • Only 10% of tourists were traveled to Michigan with a spouse/partner, indicating that most tourists visiting Michigan and Traverse City might be single.
  • About 80% of Michigan residents, including those in Traverse City, see outdoor activity participation as very or moderately important to their household.
  • The most active age category for outdoor activity participation includes people between 25-34 and 45-54 years. Both age categories showed a 90% participation rate in outdoor activities.
  • Since millennials typically constitute most of the tourist population visiting Traverse City and the businesses there, tourism activities often extend for longer periods now than in previous decades.

Research Strategy

As earlier stated, there is limited available data regarding tourism and outdoor activity in Traverse City. We provided demographic information and insights with the latest publicly provided data since no new studies have been conducted for the region. Due to limited data, we also expanded our search to include northern Michigan, where Traverse City is located, and Michigan as a whole. Considering that Traverse City is the go-to location for tourists visiting northern Michigan (due to its many outdoor locations), we used Michigan data as a proxy to represent the city. We utilized sources that are beyond Wonder's two-year standard timeframe for sources. However, the articles consulted presented the most recent, available outdoor data for the region. As such, we used our findings to estimate the current state of the outdoor market in Traverse City.

Did this report spark your curiosity?