Visit Northwest Michigan
It's perhaps the most beautiful region of Michigan, where thousands from around the country come to vacation. Northwest Michigan, for our purposes, includes the counties of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Benzie.
Crystal Lake is the most prominent physical feature of the area which also has two rivers, the Platte River and the Betsie River, well-known for their fishing. Communities include Frankfort, Elberta, Beulah and Benzonia. Several festivals are held throughout the year. The area abounds in outdoor opportunities including hunting, golf, skiing and other forms of recreation. The old rail system has been transformed into the Betsie Valley Trail for hiking, skiing and biking. Be sure to visit both Port Betsie Lighthouse and Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse for great views of Lake Michigan and try your hand at fishing.
Grand Traverse County is comprised of Traverse City, the Old Mission Peninsula, and several smaller communities in the Grand Traverse Bay area. Not only will the scenery amaze you, but there is so much to see and do in this area of Northwest Michigan. Summertime activities include swimming, boating, golfing, or attending a local festival. Autumn is perfect for visiting a winery—with over 35 in close proximity, you can make a day of it! It's a winter wonderland in the Grand Traverse area, where you can snowshoe, ski, snowmobile, and ice skate.
Old Mission Peninsula
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Once viewers of Good Morning America designated Sleeping Bear Dunes the most beautiful place in the United States, this national park experienced a high influx of visitors. Begin at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire for maps and displays. Only the most ambitious and energetic can attempt to climb the dunes—others can simply choose a lookout point and enjoy breathtaking views. Located in the westerly section of the Grand Traverse area, you can take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which starts north of the Visitors Center and is off M 109. Along the seven-mile drive, you will be treated to some of the most beautiful sights one can imagine, including stunning views of Lake Michigan. This is a perfect place for experienced bikers to travel the paths, but it can be a climb at times!
Leland - "Fishtown"
Leland takes you back in history...especially when you arrive in Fishtown. Rustic shanties that are now home to various shops have stood the test of time and give you a feel on how life was 100 years ago in the commercial fishing business. Leland is where you can catch a ferry to the Manitou Islands. North Manitou Island is the larger of the two, lies 12 miles from Leland and does not allow motorized vehicles. You can enjoy wildlife and plants in their natural habitat while you sit in quiet solitude. South Manitou Island is 16 miles west of Leland and is a bit more active. Visit a shipwreck, lighthouse, and Coast Guard Station. The beaches and parks are both beautiful and numerous in Leland, and try to take in one of their big events, like the Wine & Food Festival, held annually the second Saturday in June.