Heading "up North" to Glen Arbor, Michigan? Look no further than these top 10 things to do on your visit to Glen Arbor!
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Considering a trip to Glen Arbor?
I'm happy to say I've visited Glen Arbor at least 15 times. I think that's being conservative with the count. I've been a lot. Glen Arbor was our favorite family vacation spot when I was growing up, both in the prime visiting time, summer and even in winter, when skiing keeps things open, yet quaint.
Between boasting a high-end, multi-acre resort, The Homestead, with a variety of rental options, from homes to hotel-like rooms, to fun shopping and a laid-back atmosphere, Glen Arbor really has all the ingredients for a relaxing family vacation.
Let's talk through the 10+ things you must do on a visit to Glen Arbor, Michigan.
Check out my summer road trip essentials!
Glen Arbor, Michigan: Rent a boat on Big Glen
Glen Arbor is lucky enough to boast a few bodies of water, as the tiny town is home to both Big and Little Glen Lakes *and* it's right on Lake Michigan's Sleeping Bear Bay. There are also some creeks, etc., which we'll discuss later. Big Glen Lake is home to, hands down, the clearest water I've ever seen.
So rent a boat, explore Big Glen, and see the Sleeping Bear Dunes from a new angle!
Glen Arbor, Michigan: Dining Options in Glen Arbor
In the evening, Glen Arbor's tiny downtown takes on a party atmosphere, with parents and kids eating dinner (and ice cream) seemingly all over the place. Don't be fooled - especially in the height of summer, these restaurants fill up, so you'll want to get there early, or be prepared for a bit of a wait!
For a fun, family atmosphere, check out Boone Dock's, with outdoor (and indoor) dining, and lots of live music - it's where the party happens in Glen Arbor! Art's Tavern is good for surprisingly good, cozy comfort food. If you're looking for "fancier" food options, check out the nearby Western Ave Bar & Grill, which has plenty of outdoor seating as well.
Wondering what to wear in Northern Michigan? Check out my Up North Packing List!
Glen Arbor, Michigan: Canoes on the Crystal River
The pristine Crystal River flows in and around Glen Arbor, ultimately leading out into Lake Michigan's Sleeping Bear Bay. The Crystal River's water isn't deep, but it's a relaxing trip, taking you even farther away from the hustle and bustle (not that there is any in Glen Arbor).
Canoe and kayak rental spots abound - Crystal River Outfitters is building a bit of a recreation empire - check it out, adjacent to downtown Glen Arbor!
Glen Arbor, Michigan: Shop in Glen Arbor
Who doesn't love popping into a few tiny, independent stores. From clothes, to trinkets, and some of the most amazing bear-themed items I've ever spotted at The Ruth Conklin Gallery, there's more shopping in Glen Arbor than you might expect! And, of course, stop by The Totem Shop for the greatest selection of t-shirts, candy, and gizmos anywhere I've ever been. For Glen Arbor t-shirts, you can't beat Momentum Apparel.
All about my 8 best Midwest road trips you'll love!
Glen Arbor, Michigan: The Cherry Republic
Glen Arbor's now-famous Cherry Republic certainly deserves its own section. I can, at least, purport to have known the Cherry Republic "before they were famous," from my days in Glen Arbor as a kid, but these days you can find Cherry Republic products all over the place.
Visit the spot where in all began in downtown Glen Arbor - try Cherry salsa, chocolate-covered cherries, cherry ice cream, and yes, even Cherry wine. They've even got a full-fledged restaurant, with outdoor dining.
"Life, Liberty, Beaches, & Pie" - a pretty good slogan to live by - and emblazoned on the t-shirts that started it all!
Glen Arbor, Michigan: Wine tasting at M22!
Drink Michigan Wine is more than just a slogan - it's a must-do during your time Up North! M22 is a new addition to Glen Arbor, and with a perfect porch, cute merchandise and, obviously, some tasty local wines. What's not to love?
Glen Arbor, Michigan: The Homestead
"America's Freshwater Resort," The Homestead (not to be confused with the one in Virginia, which is also lovely), has been providing visitors with a "home away from home," Up North, since its humble beginnings as a boarding school in the early 1920s.
Since then, it's grown into a relatively spacious resort, while maintaining an extremely welcoming and cozy ambiance. With multiple dining options, a little grocery, its own golf course, and a spa, The Homestead really has everything you need "on property." Feel free to reach out about questions on the various rental options - I've stayed in/been into almost all of them. But beware - this place books up fast and rentals don't come cheap. But, of course, The Homestead is worth every penny.
Check out the full post on The Homestead, after our most recent stay!
Glen Arbor, Michigan:
In addition to all Glen Arbor has to offer, it's also a hop, skip, and a jump away from a few other quaint towns. Check out Leland - with more shopping, cute restaurants, and one of the more charming drives you'll find.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
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