Matt and Keegan Myers over at M22 know how to explore the Northern Michigan outdoors. Take it from a couple of our favorite adventurers: these experiences found along Michigan’s most iconic highway are absolute musts.

– Experiencing M22 (the Highway, the Lifestyle) – 

Sunset at Pyramid Point: Sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands greet you at the end of this 1.2-mile round-trip hike (a longer loop of 2.7 miles is also an option). The trail, part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, includes a few steep sections leading to the bluff vista. At the top, spread a blanket on the dunes, sit back and soak up the changing colors in the sky. Access Pyramid Point Trail at Basch Road.

Day trip to South Manitou: Known as the “family-friendly island” of the Manitous, South Manitou lies 17 miles (about a 1.5-hour ferry ride) from the ferry’s port at Leland, but is only 7 miles from the mainland at Sleeping Bear Point. $40/adult; $20/ kids (12 and under) for a round trip. Bring your kayak for $35. Hike part of the island, lounge on the beach, snorkel the Francisco Morazan shipwreck. Pack all your food and supplies; there are no stores or restaurants on the island.

Paddle Crystal River: The Sleeping Bear Lakeshore river is shallow, with gentle currents. Launch your 2- to 3-hour-long trip from Glen Arbor, where you can rent a kayak or canoe at Crystal River Outfitters (from $26). Afterward, enjoy wine tasting at M22 Glen Arbor, followed by dinner at nearby Art’s Tavern (bring cash or check; this Glen Arbor tradition doesn’t take credit cards). 

Beach day at Frankfort / Surf Lake Michigan: Miles of sandy beaches in Frankfort and nearby Elberta make for the ultimate summer afternoon. On warm days, with winds out of the south, join the local surfer crowd and catch a swell. The public beach in Frankfort is steps from downtown businesses and eateries. Dine at Fusion and cap the day with a walk on the Frankfort Pier.

Mountain bike Arcadia Trails: Winding paths, super-fun switchbacks are found on the Dry Hills Trail, an 11-mile singletrack loop catering to the intermediate mountain biker. Find shorter trails (3.8 and 3.5 miles) here, too. Arcadia Trails, located in Benzie County, is part of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s largest nature preserve. Re-fuel with a pint at Stormcloud in Frankfort.

Bonfire at Good Harbor Beach: Located along a stretch of Lake Michigan’s Good Harbor Bay between Glen Arbor and Leland, this sandy beach offers clear views out to the islands. Just a few seconds walk south is a stream running from the woods into Lake Michigan. To bring: firewood, blanket, camera, s’more makings. Sit back, watch the stars, bask in the glow of the fire (and the sunset sky).

Hike from the Dune Climb to Glen Haven Beach: Intermediate hikers will like the challenge and beauty of this walk up and over the Dune Climb to Lake Michigan—and on to Glen Haven Beach. Bring water and wear sunscreen for this adventure. Expect to walk about 5 miles each way. Head to Glen Arbor, about two miles east, for lunch at Boone Dock’s.

Photo(s) by Beth Price