I've collected my top 10 things to do in my favorite place in the world, Northern Michigan!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links. If you purchase a linked item, I will make a commission, at no extra charge to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Planning a trip "Up North?"
Looking for amazing things to do in Northern Michigan? I've been fortunate enough to be heading "up north" nearly every summer of my entire life, so I've rounded up my top Northern Michigan activities you don't want to miss! From classic Mackinac Island, over to scenic M-22 and the Leelanau Peninsula, I've rounded up the highlights of a quaint Northern Michigan summer getaway. And while you're here, don't forget to poke around the blog for my many other Michigan and Midwestern travel tips!
Take in the views at Suttons Bay Ciders
A recent addition to our Northern Michigan greatest hits list is a trip to Suttons Bay Ciders. The perfect addition to any M-22 tour, Suttons Bay Ciders is located a quick drive outside of, you guessed it, Suttons Bay. Expect stunning views, charming atmosphere, and delicious ciders! Though not a cider girl myself, the location alone is worth a lengthy visit.
Climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes
Voted the most beautiful place in the USA, The Sleeping Bear Dunes were the original attraction that drew people to the Leelanau Peninsula as early tourists. Run by the National Park Service, there are a number of different dunes to explore, depending on your location and desire for cardio! Some dunes have you starting at the water level and hiking up, others- for the more adventurous - start you at the top and you hike down to the water (meaning you have to hike back UP to your car!)
Explore Leland's Fish Town
Of course the enchanting town of Leland, Michigan is worth a visit. Boasting just 1000 residents and only one route in and out of town (the illustrious M-22), it's a quiet corner of a quiet peninsula. And in Leland, you'll find Fishtown, the collection of fishing huts that supported the early fishing industry here on Lake Michigan. Now they're mostly tourist shops, but you'll still see plenty of fishing boats heading out for a day's work (or hire by tourists).
Drive the length of M-22
If you're loving the M-22 towns we're discussing, consider making it a scenic road trip! M-22 is the state highway that hugs the coast all around the edge of the Leelanau Peninsula. Suttons Bay, Leland, and Glen Arbor are all accessible on M-22! I've rounded up 5 Quaint Towns on Michigan's M-22.
Indulge at The (original) Cherry Republic
Now we've reached the highlight of the list! No trip to Northern Michigan is complete without a visit to the ORIGINAL Cherry Republic - the capital of the republic- in Glen Arbor. The Cherry Republic has been around about as long as I have (let's not do the math) and I've been visiting this location since the early 90's. It's grown a lot and, if you're a Michigander you'll know, now has locations throughout the mitten. But Glen Arbor is the original - with all of the funky, folksy charm that makes the Cherry Republic so appealing. They have cherry everything - hot dogs, ice cream, even alcohol, in their little enclave just off the main drag in Glen Arbor.
Tour the Mushroom Houses
Stunning, lakeside Charlevoix is home to some excellent shopping and some extremely quirky architecture. Stop by the Earl Young Mushroom Houses to fit a bit of whimsy into your trip.
Stay at The Homestead
No stay in Northern Michigan would be complete without a stay at The Homestead Resort. I've been here more times than I can count, and it continues to be my happy place. With views for days, and a very laid-back atmosphere, The Homestead is a sprawling resort nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, with stunning views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou islands. Learn all about The Homestead in the full blog post!
Discover Northern Michigan's Wineries
Perhaps we don't think of Northern Michigan as a great wine destination, but that's a mistake! And it's not all cherry wine (though don't knock it 'til you try it)! Traverse City boasts the most bang for your buck, but Glen Arbor and Leland both have their own wineries that are worth visiting!
Take in a movie in Suttons Bay
Take in a movie at the most charming movie theatre around - one that actually fits in with the laid-back vacation vibe of Northern Michigan! Established in 1946, The Bay Theatre is nestled in the heart of Suttons Bay. You won't regret a visit!
Visit Manitou Islands
Those gorgeous islands you can see from The Homestead? North and South Manitou - can actually be visited for the nature-minded among us! Check out the National Park Service website for everything you need to know about visiting them!
Discover historic Mackinac Island
I've saved the most famous for last! The gem of not just Northern Michigan, but the Great Lakes region in general, Mackinac Island has been a tourist haven for over a century. Take the ferry and leave your car behind, as you enter a quaint corner of the world where the only transportation is bikes and horses. If you're feeling fancy, stay at the historic Grand Hotel, which evokes an age when tourism was for the entire summer (as it should be!) and a new wardrobe was required for all the hobnobbing!
Thanks for stopping by!
I normally end my posts by saying "I hope you have a great time in x location," but when I'm recommending trips to Northern Michigan, no hope is needed. I know you'll love it Up North as much as I do, and once you've visited, you'll be making the trek to the pinkie for years to come.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies