As spring rejuvenates Northern Michigan, it’s the perfect time to explore the beauty of this region through family photographs. I’m Josh Hartman, and I’ve spent a decade capturing families amidst the stunning landscapes of Traverse City and beyond. This spring, let’s embark on a photo adventure to the most picturesque backdrops, from the blooming vineyards of Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsula to the awe-inspiring vistas of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Let’s discover hidden beaches and the vibrant hues of spring together. Born and raised here, I have an intimate knowledge of these landscapes and am excited to share the best spots for your family’s spring photo session.

Here are five family-friendly trails within a half-hour drive from Traverse City, ideal for spring family photo adventures:

Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a stunning view of Lake Michigan from a bluff over 400 feet above the shoreline. The trail is less than two miles round trip and is easy, making it great for kids. It’s accessible year-round​​.


Family Cheers Empire Bluff Trail


Pyramid Point, also part of Sleeping Bear Dunes, features views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. This 1.5-mile hike takes you through meadows and forests to a scenic overlook. It’s family-friendly and provides a fun challenge with a rewarding view​​.



Whaleback Natural Area near Leland features a gradual ascent through hardwood forests to a viewing platform over Lake Michigan. The area is managed by the Leelanau Conservancy and is just south of Leland, offering a beautiful hike with scenic views​​.


Empire Bluff Scenic Family Photos


Boardman Lake Loop is a 4-mile trail around Boardman Lake, featuring paved paths, boardwalks, and a brief gravel section. It’s perfect for an evening bike ride, jog, or walk, offering picturesque views of the lake​​.



Leelanau Trail, part of the TART trails, is a 17-mile long flat trail from Traverse City to Suttons Bay. It’s ideal for walking, biking, rollerblading, and is stroller-friendly.

Each of these trails offers something unique, from scenic lake views and lush forests to easy, flat paths perfect for all ages. They’re wonderful spots for capturing the beauty of spring in Northern Michigan, both through photography and the creation of cherished family memories. Join me in celebrating the season of renewal with photographs that will be treasured for generations.

Contact me today to schedule your spring family adventure.

Josh Hartman – Traverse City Family Photographer


Frankfort Family Photographer