No. 1 | Elk Rapids Grace Memorial Harbor
129 Cedar St., Elk Rapids
There’s nothing quite like watching the sun drip color into the water where sailboats bob. Find that scene splashed across this harbor on summer evenings. Stroll the walkway or nab your place in the sand on one of the two public beaches tucked on each side of the marina.
No. 2 | Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse
2 Grant St., Charlevoix
Strolling the pier to watch the sun splash down into Lake Michigan is a Charlevoix tradition. Park at the public Lake Michigan beach parking lot.
No. 3 | Dockside Torch Lake
6340 Old Torch Lake Dr., Bellaire
Come by boat or car, but be there in time to order up a beverage and find your seat on the deck of this Torch Lake gathering place to watch the sun melt into the water like a bowl of spumoni.
Photo by Kelly Rewa
No. 4 | Charles A. Ransom Nature Preserve
Maple Grove Rd., Charlevoix
Catch the orb slipping into the horizon while you stand 320 feet above Lake Michigan on the trailhead of this preserve owned by the Little Traverse Conservancy.
No. 5 | Barnes Park
12298 Barnes Park Rd., Eastport
This has to be one of the most spectacular county-owned parks (and campgrounds) anywhere. Find a quarter-mile of pristine Lake Michigan beach—that faces due west. Sublime.