Leelanau County

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Welcome to Leelanau County

A stunning coastline county with many tranquil villages
Leelanau County’s name comes from a Native American word meaning “delight of life,” and this picturesque slice of coastline includes stunning waterfront access throughout. Leelanau County includes Glen Arbor, Empire, Leland, Suttons Bay, and Northport, plus the North and South Manitou Islands. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, located on the west side of the county, was voted "The Most Beautiful Place in America" by Good Morning America in 2011. The area also has a large population of Native Americans and has strong ties to Native American culture and history. 
The county, which was originally settled in the second half of the 19th century, is home to around 22,000 residents and has the second-highest proportion of water area of any county in the U.S. If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all and connect with the great outdoors, this is certainly the place, as the beaches stretch out onto the horizon as far as the eye can see. The busy streets of the big city can slowly become a distant memory while the cool Lake Michigan breeze fills the air. While the county is a great place to escape the business of urbanized areas, there are plenty of places to grab a delicious meal. And, for wine-lovers, the county boasts the Leelanau Wine Trail, which is made up of dozens of wineries. 

What to Love

  • The area’s deep connection with nature 
  • A variety of lakeside activities to regularly enjoy
  • Dozens of wineries to sample

Local Lifestyle 

The people here are as serene as the crystal-blue waters that flow along the shores. If you ever happen to come across a neighbor from your secluded castle, your day certainly wouldn’t go without a friendly face. Yet, these fine folks also know how to have a bit of fun. 
One way to enjoy the area is to spend a few nights out camping with the whole gang in the peaceful Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In Leland, visit Fishtown, a historically preserved collection of fishing shanties dotting the inlet. In Northport, it’s worth visiting the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse for a sweeping view of Lake Michigan. 

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

In Glen Arbor, there are several great eating options for you to pick from. There’s the Cherry Public House and Art’s Tavern, where a glass of wine and a pizza go hand in hand. Blu offers an always-fantastic fine dining experience. 
In Empire, there’s Joe's Friendly Tavern, where you can grab a pint , and the Shipwreck Cafe, where you can enjoy their perfectly crafted sandwiches, pizzas, and homemade pretzels. 
In Northport, grab a beer and some classic American fare at Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern
In Leland, the Village Cheese Shanty has dozens of local and international cheeses for you to sample. You can grab fresh catches nearby at Carlson’s Fishery

Things to Do

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you’re in for a treat. Leelanau County has a seemingly endless number of places to enjoy the coast or an afternoon of fishing with a buddy. There are many beaches, and campgrounds found all throughout the region. The Manitou Islands are the perfect spots to plan an excursion for days full of hiking or diving. 

Visit the Eyaawing Museum & Cultural Center to learn more about Native American populations in the area.

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