Add these Northern Michigan scenic spots in Benzie and Manistee counties to your vacation bucket list.

Platte Bay
Cattails cluster along the Platte River’s shores, alive with butterflies and dragonflies, then give way to sugary sands and photogenic waters at the mouth of Platte Bay. From Frankfort, take M-22 north 12 miles to Lake Michigan Road, and turn left to the end, to reach this birders’ favorite.

Arcadia Overlook
The boardwalk offers ever-changing perspectives as you climb the 210 steps to the top of the Arcadia overlook. The newly built top deck offers a great place to toast—’er shoot—the view from one of Lake Michigan’s highest points, which looks down upon one of its deepest. Located two miles north of Arcadia on M-22.

Elberta Bluffs
You may capture some hang gliders in your photo at this favorite take-off point for soaring in the wind. Wildflowers and dune grass dot the sandy bluffs that tower 400 feet above Lake Michigan. From Elberta village, take Furnace St. to Bye St., turn left to reach the bluff.

Manistee Lighthouse Pier
Perhaps the most symbolic icon of the Victorian Port City, the North Pierhead Lighthouse is also a photographer favorite. Take a stroll along the catwalk, added in 1927, to the 39-foot-tall light built of cast iron. From Highway 31 in Manistee, take Memorial Drive west toward Lake Michigan and watch signs for 5th Avenue Beach.

Mouth of Pere Marquette River
The Pere Marquette River meanders over some 180 scenic miles and then spills into the Pere Marquette Lake. Capture gorgeous shots of the river mouth from the eastern bank, where Buttersville Park offers high bluff views of the Ludington North Breakwater lighthouse. Find it on S. Lakeshore Drive, just past Historic White Pine Village.

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Photo(s) by Taylor Brown