One of the most beautiful scenic highways in the country cuts right through the middle of the Cherry Republic. M-22 comprises 116 miles of pure driving or biking wonder. Starting north of Manistee, it hugs the Lake Michigan shoreline through Benzie County and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, making its way around the north tip of Leelanau County and eventually winding down on the eastern edge of Traverse City. Voted the Best Scenic Fall Drive by USA Today, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite stops along the Leelanau stretch.
Glen Arbor Wineries
Andrew Moore, Director of Marketing
Michigan’s tiniest wine trail is also one of its best! The Winery at Cherry Republic, Glen Arbor Wines, and the M-22 Winery make up the Glen Arbor Wine Trail. My wife, Emily, and I love that we can walk from place to place for tasting, listen to live music, and then end up at the beach with a bottle of our favorite wine for a perfect fall evening.
Good Harbor Bay
Brett Sanders, Graphic Designer
During the fall color season, the afternoon sun lights up the colorful forests of Good Harbor Bay. Hiking the dunescape just east of Pyramid Point offers an expansive view — and on just the right day, a last chance to swim.
Todd Gyulveszi, Charlevoix Asst. Manager
My wife and I love to arrive in Leland early and comb Van’s Beach for the coveted Leland Blue slag, as well as Petoskey, Charlevoix, and other beach stones. Next we head to Fishtown to pick up a sandwich at the Village Cheese Shanty and visit the shops. The Dam Candy store is great for kids of all ages and we never leave town without some fish sausage from Carlson’s.
Whaleback Natural Area
Mary Winowiecki, Writer/Editor
A hike along the top of Whaleback is magical anytime, but fall offers the stunning contrast of crimson and amber foliage against Lake Michigan’s deep blue. The trail itself is only a mile long, so it’s a favorite spot for a quick lunchtime hike for my husband and me to take in views of Pyramid Point, the North and South Manitous, and even peeks of the Leland harbor.
Grand Traverse Lighthouse
Nestled within the Leelanau State Park, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse marks the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula making it the perfect spot to get out and explore. I love wandering around this beautiful, historic lighthouse and eventually making my way to the lakeshore to search for some Petoskey stones. And of course, no trip is complete to Northport without stopping at Knot Just A Bar in Omena for a refreshing drink on the patio that sits on Grand Traverse Bay.