For the third year, MONEY, a publication by Time Inc., has named which places, both in the U.S. and internationally, deliver the most bang for your buck. “MONEY’s winners aren’t necessarily the cheapest, nor are they always the most luxe; they’re where quality, cost, and value come together to provide a terrific travel experience.”

This year, Glen Arbor, Michigan made the list! Blu and Cherry Republic are both mentioned as must-stops (rightfully so!). Read the article by Megan Leonhardt and Kerri Anne Renzulli.

– Our 10 Favorite Things to do in Glen Arbor –

Glen Arbor is tucked between Leland and Empire off the iconic Michigan highway, M22. It’s known for being at the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but venture away from the lakeshore and you’ll find a charming downtown filled with boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and welcoming inns. Here are just a few fun things to do in Glen Arbor.

Wake up at Leelanau Coffee

Leelanau Coffee has more than 100 coffees for purchase with delicious flavors like Chocolate Cherry Festival, Snicker Cookie, and Pumpkin Pie. The fun display allows you to smell the individual coffees and the staff can brew you up a sample!

Ride the Heritage Trail to the beach at Glen Haven

Hop on the trail downtown and bike to Glen Haven—a little over 1 mile. The beach is gorgeous and you have the option to stay on the trail and head to the Dune Climb. Note that some areas of the trail in downtown Glen Arbor are shared roadway. Use this interactive map. Bike rentals available at The Cyclery.

Glen Arbor Artisans

Browse local art galleries

Plan on spending several hours at these galleries—there’s so much to see! Park downtown and walk to Glen Arbor Artisans, Synchronicity Gallery, Lake Street Studios (home to Forest Gallery and Center Gallery), Glen Lake Artists Gallery located right off Lake Street Studios, and Ruth Conklin Gallery. Take an art class at Glen Arbor Arts Center!

Plan your Leelanau Art Tour!

Find your new favorite book at Cottage Book Store

This Cottage Book Store is inside a beautiful log cabin that was built in the early 1920s byD.D. Day’s nephew, Larry Day. Be prepared to spend some time in this cozy shop.

Eat Tater Tots (and other stuff!) at Arts Tavern

Arts opens early (7 a.m.) and stays open until you feel like leaving. You’ll definitely want to order a burger and tater tots. Bring cash, this retro hangout doesn’t accept credit cards. (Love tots? Check out this Lick the Plate podcast featuring owner Tim Barr.)

Kayak the Crystal River

This clear, calm river is perfect for beginners, but still fun for those with more experience because of the beautiful surroundings and wildlife. Crystal River Outfitters offers kayak rentals—ask them about shooting the tube!

Play Bocce at Glen Arbor Wines

Order a glass of wine or do a tasting, then play bocce, corn hole, and badminton, or just sit by the fire pits. Glen Arbor Wines also has snacks and refreshments for kids. Whoever says wine tasting is stuffy or pretentious, hasn’t been here.

Cool down at the Pine Cone

Vernors is on tap! If you don’t love Vernors floats (crazy), they’ve also got soft serve, Ashby’s hand dipped ice cream, shakes, and a classic food menu—hot dogs, mini pizzas, nachos.

Listen to music on Boone’s Deck

Boone Docks is a great spot for families with something on the menu for everyone. Go for live music each weekend Memorial Day–Father’s Day, and 7 days a week from Father’s Day on!

Have a cherry pit spitting contest at Cherry Republic

Grab a bag of cherries and head over to Cherry Republic’s Olympic-sized pit spitting arena (the only one in the world). We suggest a few practice rounds to perfect your technique.

Check out MyNorth’s free Leelanau Vacation Guide for more travel ideas! 

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Photo(s) by Taylor Brown