When a peninsula faces due west, you have to know the sunsets are epic. Here are five of our favorite Leelanau places, from Northport to Empire, to take in the greatest show on Earth.

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EMPIRE BEACH VILLAGE PARK
10484 Niagara St., Empire
South Manitou rests on the horizon as the summer sun sets across a swath of sparkling Lake Michigan water. With South Bar Lake at your back, public bathrooms, a playground and a grill area, this park was made for a beach day capped with a solar-powered finale.

GLEN HAVEN
M-109 to Glen Haven Road, 2.3 miles west of Glen Arbor
Plop yourself on the beach in Glen Haven (a National Park Service-restored port village) in time to catch the sunset, or walk south to Sleeping Bear Point and climb to the top for a bird’s-eye view. Either way, the unobstructed panorama of Lake Michigan, the Manitou Islands and a setting sun is stellar. Find public bathrooms and plenty of parking in Glen Haven.

LAKE STREET BEACH
5716 S. Lake St., Glen Arbor
On summer evenings, crowds of sunset worshippers make the two-minute walk down S. Lake Street from Western Avenue (M-22) to the small public beach and boat ramp on Sleeping Bear Bay. From here, the Manitou Islands sit squarely on the horizon. Heads cock slightly to the left as that glorious orb dips into the water between Sleeping Bear Point and South Manitou.

LELAND HARBOR SUNSET DECK
107 N. Lake St., Leland
Sunsets over the Leland Harbor—where Fishtown bustles, boats bob in the foreground and the Manitou Islands float on the horizon—are so spectacular the townsfolk built a deck in their honor. Be there early to claim an Adirondack chair or a place at the railing. The deck is atop the public restrooms, to the right as you turn into the Leland Harbor parking lot.

PETERSON PARK
10001 E. Peterson Park Rd., Northport
A viewing platform on a bluff 400 feet above Lake Michigan completes this amphitheater for nature’s nightly show. Other amenities include a stairway down to a rocky beach, pavilion, playground, picnic and volleyball areas, and a paved parking lot.

Photo(s) by Taylor Brown