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Move to Traverse City, Michigan (And Bring Your Job With You)

Ease of travel, networking opportunities and unlimited outdoor activities make this northern Michigan town the perfect destination.

By Heather Cherry on September 27, 2022

remote work
Courtesy of Traverse Connect

Moving from Los Angeles, Sarah Diaz and Kyle Pennell chose Traverse City, Michigan, for various reasons. One of the biggest was the quality of life it afforded their expanding family.

“When living in California, we made big investments and decisions for our family. We created a short list of where we’d consider living,” says Kyle Pennell, founder and owner at Pen and Pad Co. “We were reintroduced to Traverse City and developed a new appreciation of the city.”

From a cutting-edge tech incubator to Shark Tank-style tech pitch gatherings to gig-fiber internet, an abundance of co-working spaces and a lot more space to create your own home studio or office, Traverse City is a fantastic place to work remotely — and grow your career.

“I grew up in Michigan and didn’t realize all Traverse City offered until we started researching,” says Sarah Diaz, senior product marketing manager with Amazon. “It’s not the same city I once knew. Looking at Traverse City, we loved that there’s so much nature and you can get outdoors easily. Having an outdoor lifestyle is important to us. Another reason we moved to Traverse city is the quality of the schools.”

Surfing in Traverse City, MI
Sam & Laura Brown
Surfing on Lake Michigan

Unlimited Activities

When you’re off the clock, you’ll reap all the benefits of living in a vacation destination. With public access to fresh water, wide-open spaces and winter sports facilities right on your doorstep, activities in all four seasons suit your lifestyle and recreation needs.

Lake Michigan’s bright blue waters have instant mind-clearing powers, and Traverse City is just 30 minutes from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, one of the most beautiful natural sites in the country.

“The lakes are the biggest resource for us. We live on Lake Michigan, so we can go paddle boarding on a break during the workday,” says Keenan May, Head of Product at R-Zero, a company that provides disinfectant solutions using RV light. “The watershed brings out so many opportunities to get out and exercise or explore — the things available here are quite appealing. Coming from San Francisco and surfing in the ocean to coming here and playing in the fresh sandy bottoms is comparable. We love it.”

The steady flow of fresh ingredients (and travelers) fuels a vibrant dining scene in Traverse City. Cafes and restaurants crowd downtown, and diverse food options are plentiful.

Ease of Travel

Traveling from Traverse City for work and play has never been easier, thanks to the growing number of direct flights from the award-winning Cherry Capital Airport, which now offers 17 nonstop flights to cities across the U.S. on carriers that include American, Delta, United, and Allegiant. Destinations include international hubs like Chicago, Atlanta and Boston, as well as Minneapolis−Saint Paul, Denver, St. Petersburg-Clearwater and Orlando.

“The local community continues to use the Cherry Capital Airport as their primary airport,” says Kevin Klein, CEO of Cherry Capital Airport. “When you’re thinking about a place you can live and enjoy a lifestyle outdoors — enjoying some of your famous pastimes like golfing, going to the beach, visiting wineries and foodie towns — we have all that here. You can live, but you can also work. But work needs connectivity, whether for leisure or business, and our airport empowers connection.”

“One of my biggest concerns is travel,” says Diaz. “If I’m working remotely, and my company is on the coast, how do I get out easily? The Traverse City airport is the most special thing. For us, flying out of Traverse City has been seamless — it is truly a blessing. The airport is nice and easy to get in and out of.”

Fresh Coast Quarterly Club
Fresh Coast Quarterly meeting

Ample Co-working and Networking Opportunities

Sometimes the home office just won’t cut it and you need a quiet place to conduct meetings. Traverse City has many co-working spaces, including 20Fathoms, which offers flexible co-working spaces and private offices as well as a variety of programs geared toward the technology sector; SPACE, which offers monthly memberships and limited conference room access; and Commonplace, which offers a variety of access options, including perks like local booze. Cut & Run is expected to open later in 2022.

When you want to connect with others working remotely or locally, The Fresh Coast Quarterly gatherings offer newcomers, locals and remote workers opportunities to mingle and connect. There is also the Traverse City Telecommuting Meetup — a social outlet for remote workers to have an after-work happy hour, the Women in Tech meetup group, or 20Fathoms’ regularly scheduled Beer30 meetups.

“It is encouraging to see a lot of the growth in supporting entrepreneurs — Traverse City is a good hub for these types of people and jobs,” May says. “More established folks reach out and help support that community. That is what we need if we want to continue building some type of hub, creating good ideas and jobs.”

This article was sponsored by Traverse Connect.

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