Leelanau County is home to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, rolling hills draped with cherry orchards and vineyards, historic lakeside towns and sugar-sand beaches. Take a drive on M-22 and check out these can’t-miss spots.
Catch a Sunset at Peterson Park
Lake Michigan’s impressive expanse is laid out before you when you catch the evening color show from the bluff-top park north of Northport (10001 E. Peterson Park Rd.). Or opt for a more intimate feel by heading down the narrow steps to the rock hound’s paradise-of-a-beach. Here’s a list of more beautiful Leelanau Township Parks.
Beach Walk Forever
Roam the dreamy Lake Michigan shoreline of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; 35 miles of coast on the mainland and another 35 miles on two park-owned islands (North and South Manitou). Visit the Welcome Center in Empire to get your park pass (or buy one online), and then head out for a day of splendor. Here’s your guide to Sleeping Bear beaches. (Photo of Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive)
Relax at the Leland Village Green
In the center of this garden oasis in downtown Leland (206 N. Main St.) is the “Leelanau Preservers” tile wall. The tiles represent donations for land preservation made by families and individuals over the years to the Leelanau Conservancy. Each tile is handmade by artist Leif Sporck, who has a shop, Spørck Tileart, in Fishtown.
Sip Local Wine
Wine here is about a taste of the terroir—and at any of the 26 (and counting!) Leelanau County wineries, you’ll also be treated to some of America’s finest landscape views. Tasting rooms overlook gorgeous countryside and offer friendly service to tasters of all experience levels. Be sure to check out lpwines.com before your visit. (Photo of Blustone Vineyards, Lake Leelanau)
There’s no rushing a road trip on this scenic heritage route drive, which curves its way past orchards, Lake Michigan overlooks and towering dunes (plus wineries, art galleries and sunset beaches to explore!). Here are a few of our favorite spots along M-22.
Picnic at the Beach
Picnic provisions are within strolling distance of your picnic table at Suttons Bay’s Marina beach. Settle in by the playground or cross a tiny drawbridge to the quieter South Marina, where a natural area draws wild birds aplenty.
Explore Historic Fishtown
Stroll through the one-of-a-kind enclave of weathered, repurposed fishing shanties turned shops and galleries in Leland. Stop to pick up penny candy or savor gourmet whitefish alongside the falls gushing over the dam. Here’s a quick look at what you’ll see!
Click the cover to read MyNorth’s Leelanau Vacation Guide!
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Plan Your Leelanau County Vacation!
- Rent a Cottage or Book a Hotel Room
- Discover Northern Michigan Restaurants
- Explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
- Coastal Camping on Lake Michigan and Beyond
- Must-Read: The Fisherman Who Saved Fishtown
- Leland Blue, A Way of Life in Northern Michigan
- Meet the 26-Year-Olds Who Purchased Leland’s Falling Waters Lodge