A first-thing-in-the-morning hike is all the excuse you need for a hearty breakfast. Choose from these great pairings:

Whaleback and The Early Bird


A woodland climb opens to a divine Lake Michigan vista. The trailhead is on the west side of M-22, two miles south of Leland. 231-256-9665; theconcervancy.com.

The Breakfast: THE EARLY BIRD

Order it up any way you like it at Leland’s only full-service breakfast spot. Corner of Main and River streets. 231-256-9656.

Alligator Hill and Art’s Tavern


This snout-to-tail shaped ridge wedged between Glen Arbor and Glen Lake has a maze of looped trails. For a hike you can’t get lost on, park on the Forest Haven Road trailhead (off M-22 just south of town). Head straight up the hill, veering right at the first Y. Check out the view of Sleeping Bear Bay at the top. Backtrack your way down. 231-326-5134, nps.gov/slbe.

The Breakfast: ART’S TAVERN

After the climb, you deserve a cheddar, onion and apple omelet served up at the little red-brick restaurant and bar in the middle of Glen Arbor. 231-334-3754, artsglenarbor.com.

Empire Bluffs and Joe’s Friendly Tavern


A 3/4-mile trail takes you to heavenly heights above Lake Michigan. The trailhead is on Wilco Road at the south end of Empire. 231-326-5134,nps.gov/slbe.


Once down, you’re within sniffing distance of the Lake Michigan breakfast (two eggs with two buttermilk pancakes) at this Empire institution. 231-326-5506.

Leelanau Trail


Skip down the Leelanau Trail past farms and fields and turn around when hunger calls. Find the trailhead on Fourth Street in Suttons Bay. traversetrails.org.

The Breakfast: 45TH PARALLEL

Back in Suttons Bay, make your way to this delightful cafe and candy shop for a blueberry- and walnut-topped waffle. 231-271-2233.

Download "10 Places Not To Miss at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore" free from Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine editors.

Quick Links to More Fun in Leelanau County!

  • The Leelanau Vacation Directory: Listings to lodging, galleries, restaurants and more along with an interactive map.
  • Leelanau Digital Vacation Guide: Browse beautiful pages connecting you to wine tours, great drives, historic Glen Haven, lighthouse tours, canoeing and click to hundreds of websites.
  • The Complete Restaurant Guide for Leelanau County: Just type in any Leelanau County town and browse the wonderful array of restaurant options.
  • Video: Sleeping Bear Dunes
  • Check out all the music, festivals, arts and events of all kinds happening in Leelanau County: Just pop in the name of the Leelanau County town you’d like to play in and choose amongst hundreds of things to do!
  • Plot your day in Leelanau County using this Interactive Map: Choose an activity in "I’d like to find" and choose a Leelanau town for "in a town near." Then click away!
  • Rent a cottage in Leelanau County: There are hundreds of cottages to rent in Northern Michigan. Type the town you’re interested in into the Search box and plan your getaway Up North!