Fishtown in Leland, Michigan, is a historic enclave of 19th-century Lake Michigan shanties, turned into hip boutiques, eateries and other Northern Michigan attractions. Set in Leelanau County at the edge of the Leland Harbor and at the mouth of the Leland River, Fishtown offers endless activities to fill a Northern Michigan vacation.
Here’s a video sampler of what to do and see:
Food and Drink
Snag an unforgettable pretzel-bread sandwich at the Village Cheese Shop or suck down a Chubby Mary (with the addition of a smoked chub fish, this is Fishtown’s take on the traditional Bloody Mary) at the Cove restaurant with its watery views. The Cove also has a fine dining menu featuring Great Lakes fish. You can also stop by Carlson’s Fishery and snag some of the best smoked whitefish in the Great Lakes. Click for more restaurants nearby.
You can watch fish dart in the river as you buy a sundress or choose a fine print at the eclectic shops that make up Fishtown. Keep an eye out for the funky old-fashioned tug logo wear at Tug Stuff, ceramic art tiles at Sporck Tileart and photographs of the Leelanau Peninsula at Reflections Art Gallery.
Once a port for commercial fishermen who made their living out of the Lake Michigan waters, Leland is now a hub of charter fishing for Lake Michigan salmon, steelhead, lake trout and brown trout. Infinity Charters, Whitecap Charters and Reelin’ Leland Charters all run out of Fishtown. Click to check for other fishing charters.
Hop a Ferry to the Manitou Islands
From the docks of Fishtown, you can hop the ferries of the Manitou Transit and head to North and South Manitou Islands—two uninhabited islands that are a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You can make a trip over to South Manitou Island in a day or opt to bring a tent and sleeping bag (primitive camping only!) and spend the night. You’ll have to bring your sleeping bag to North Manitou Island as the ferry only comes once a day.
Stay the Weekend
Cornerstone article: Fishtown