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I'm Terri and I love to travel with my kids. We have a goal of visiting all 50 states. Learn more...
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Michigan – Tall Ship Manitou

One of my priorities for our trip to Traverse City, Michigan, was to get out on the water. When I saw that the Traverse Tall Ship Company offered sightseeing cruises on a replica of an 1800’s cargo schooner, I got excited and asked Traverse City Tourism if they could arrange a cruise. I am very grateful to Traverse City Tourism and  the Tall Ship Manitou for offering me and my kids a complimentary cruise so that I could write this article.

Tall Ship Manitou

Sails are offered three times daily. We took the 2-hour Moomers Ice Cream Sail which is an afternoon cruise from 3 to 5 p.m. Moomers Homemade Ice Cream is a Traverse City company that was voted Best Scoop in America by Good Morning America. I love that this cruise also gave us the opportunity to sample a local treat. When we boarded the ship, all the sails were down. Bench seating was available all over the top deck.

Manitou at dock

Not long after we boarded, the crew got the passengers involved. They asked for volunteers to raise the sails. Kids and adults alike were able to participate.

Raising the sails on the Tall Ship Manitou

My kids jumped right in to help.

Passengers working to raise the sails - Tall Ship Manitou

There were lots of sails to raise, and everyone who wanted to help had the opportunity.

Sail raising on the Tall Ship Manitou

Some jobs are reserved for the crew. When there was a problem with one of the sails, one of the crew members had to climb one of the ladders. She went up very high. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a sailor. That looks scary to me.

Crew member climbing the ladder on the Tall Ship Manitou

Once the sails were up, we got to relax, enjoy the sail, and eat ice cream.

Aboard the Tall Ship Manitou

Having fun on the Tall Ship Manitou

We sailed right past our hotel, the Bayshore Resort.

Bayshore Resort as seen from the Tall Ship Manitou

While we were sailing, the crew gave passengers the opportunity to steer the ship for a while. I decided to give it a try.

Steering the Tall Ship Manitou

This was our captain, Brendan.

Captain Brendan - Tall Ship Manitou

Captain Brendan gave the instructions on how many spokes to turn the wheel and whether to turn it to the starboard or port side. Even little kids got to help steer.

Kids get to steer the Tall Ship Manitou

We also had the opportunity to go below deck and see the galley (kitchen), living area, and cabins. Here’s the galley.

Tall Ship Manitou Galley

The dining/living area was very cheerful with hanging flower baskets.

Living - dining area on Tall Ship Manitou

The ship also operates as a floating bed and breakfast. The minimum age for overnight guests is 6 years old. It would definitely be a unique experience, but be aware that the cabins and beds are tiny! All the beds are bunks.

Bunk beds on Tall Ship Manitou.

In the fall, overnight cruises are offered that range in length from three days to six days. I’m sure that would be a fascinating experience. I thought that our two-hour sail was the perfect length of time to get a feel for tall ship sailing.

Other specialty short sails are offered including wine and microbrew tasting sails and entertainment nights, but I think the Moomers Ice Cream Sail is ideal for families.

My kids thought it was fun to sail aboard an old-style ship. They enjoyed helping raise the sails, going below deck to see the living quarters, and, of course, the ice cream. We would definitely recommend it.

Ready to visit?

Tall Ship Manitou
13258 S. West-Bay Shore Dr.
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 941-2000

Memorial Day – Labor Day
Noon Sail: Adults $39, Children(12 & under) $19
3 pm Moomers Ice Cream Sail: Adults $42, Children $22
6:30 Evening Sail including picnic meal: Adults $47, Children $26

This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.

You might also enjoy:

Michigan – Bayshore Resort in Traverse City

Michigan – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Michigan – Old Mission Peninsula

Michigan – A Traverse City Sunset

6 comments to Michigan – Tall Ship Manitou

  • We’ve sailed the Manitou a couple of times over the years, although it’s been quite a while at this point. I’ve always wanted to do the overnight cruise, too. The berths look a lot like something we stayed in while sailing on a small boat for 6 days in Alaska…that room was so small that I slept with all of our luggage at the foot of my bunk (I was short enough to do so :lol:). We did the sunset tour on the Manitou (once by ourselves, and once as a group with Tim’s family celebrating an anniversary) , which involved a box lunch and beautiful views :)

    • Terri Weeks

      LOL about sleeping with the luggage at the foot of your bunk. I think a sunset cruise would be beautiful. Traverse City sure has some pretty sunsets (as you will see later this week!).

  • marla presby

    my husband and I are from Ohio..on a vacation through Michigan we took the 3 hour tour…..went home and came back a week later for the overnight 3 day tour….we now sign up for the next year’s overnight as soon as we get off..Sept is schooner month at our house…we are going on our 4th in Sept…5 days this time!!!!awesome!!!!!!

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