With rolling hills, beautiful forest trails, and breathtaking views of the bay, Old Mission Peninsula is one of my favorite places to photograph in Northern Michigan.  Old Mission Peninsula is best known for its cherry orchards and vineyards. Over the years, I’ve captured a lot of adventures at my favorite spots on the peninsula including the trails of Old Mission Point Park, Pyatt Lake Forest, and the views along M37. For this blog post, I’d like to help plan your adventure by sharing some of the most photogenic spots with captures of families and couples exploring these scenic locations along Old Mission Peninsula.

Old Mission Point Park Beach Old Mission Peninsula Engagement Photographer

Mission Point Lighthouse

If you’ve explored Old Mission Peninsula, I’m sure you’ve enjoyed the beautiful 20 mile drive to the lighthouse. Mission Point Lighthouse is at the end of a long finger that splits Grand Traverse Bay in half. Old Mission Point Park is connected to miles of forested trails that open up to a private view of the lake. Stay awhile to watch the sunset. There’s even a swing set on the beach that your kids will love.

Mission Point Lighthouse Family SessionOld Mission Point ParkMission Point Park Lighthouse

Views along M37

In the spring and fall, Old Mission Peninsula is my favorite location to photograph around Traverse City. The lakeview and rolling hills remind me of driving through the vineyards of Northern California. Starting in early May, you can see from M37 all the cherry orchards in bloom. Drive safe and be sure to stop at “What a View,” a very popular pull-off along M37. Drive to the pull off along the side of the road near Chateau Grand Traverse Winery at sunrise or sunset. You won’t be disappointed.

M37 Old Mission Peninsula

For the Love of Wine (and Beer)!

Chateau Chantal is by far my favorite place to grab a glass of wine. This place has expansive views and ample outdoor seating. I also enjoy hiking through the vineyard. 2 Lads Winery is another super hip winery on a hill with a gorgeous view. If you’re more of a beer drinker, Jolly Pumpkin has great food, brews, and a cozy atmosphere as well. Jolly Pumpkin is also not too far from a public dock called Bowers Harbor Boat Launch.

Wineries on Old Mission PeninsulaChateau Chantal Old Mission PeninsulaChateau Chantal View Old Mission PeninsulaBowers Harbor Boat LaunchDock on Old Mission Peninsula


Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve

My favorite family friendly hikes, a little half mile forested loop trail known as Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve. Listen for woodpeckers and other birds in this peaceful hike that is never too busy. It’s also dog friendly! Be sure to bring good hiking shoes if its rainy because it can get a little wet in some areas.

Engagement Photos at Pyatt Lake Nature PreservePyatt Lake Preserve Old Mission Peninsula Pyatt Lake Michigan Hike

Off the Beaten Path

If you’re looking to escape the crowds, there are scenic country roads, endless nature walks and plenty of vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula. Be sure to check out Walt and Susan’s Old Barn Antiques, an eclectic antique store. Also, Old Mission Flowers opens in May and is a great spot where you can pick your own bouquet. Picking supplies are available. Be sure to show your appreciation by leaving a nice tip. 🙂

Engagement Session Old Mission Point ParkPyatt Lake Nature Preserve Old Mission PeninsulaSpringtime May Blooms Old Mission Peninsula Spring Flowers Old Mission Peninsula

Cherry Orchards in Early May

I love Old Mission Peninsula in the spring when the cherry orchards are in bloom. They are only in bloom for a short period in early May, but when it happens it’s a photographer’s paradise. Plan an early morning adventure to avoid the crowds during this busy season. Another popular time to explore is early October when the fall color along M37 is at peak.

Springtime Cherry Blossoms Old Mission PeninsulaSpringtime Old Mission PeninsulaFall Color M37 Old Mission Peninsula


Planning a Trip?

I’d love to capture your adventure on Old Mission! Contact me today.

~Josh Hartman – Old Mission Peninsula Photographer