A Day in Leland Michigan

Anyone who’s visited the Michigan Little finger knows that good ole Fishtown is a destination spot on the peninsula.With shops catering to local artists, wineries, restaurants, beaches and more, there are plenty of options for having a great day in Leland, Michigan.

Wake Up, Go on a Hike

There are plenty of great hiking options around the Leelanau Peninsula. Take a look at all your options on the Leelanau Conservancy’s natural areas page. Here are some great options within a short drive of Leland.

Whaleback Trail

Viewing Whaleback from Lake Michigan, it’s no surprise how it got its name. This moraine offers great views of the Manitou Islands from several lookout points. There are also unique plants and animals that can be seen along the trails including baneberry, squirrel corn, timbleberries, monarch butterflies and nesting bald eagles.

Clay Cliffs

If you’re looking for a more secluded hike, travel just north of Leland to the Clay Cliffs trail. This recently opened Clay Cliff Bluffs are just a couple of miles north of Leland and have great hiking trails. If you’re in for a quick hike, just going to the lookout spot offers some great views of North and South Manitou Island. On a clear day, you can also spot South Manitou Island. Don’t try hiking down to the lake as the Clay Cliffs are fragile and quite uncomfortable to walk on. View more information on the Clay Cliffs trail here.

Shop Around Fishtown

One of the oldest fishing communities on Lake Michigan, Fishtown has a lot of character and enough options for everyone.

  • Carlsons is the living identity of Fishtown. In a community where commercial fishing has identified the city of Leland, Carlsons is a fifth generation fishery with deep roots to the Leland community. You simply can’t find any better smoked fish in Michigan than at Carlsons.
  • Next door to Carlsons is the Village Cheese Shanty. A great spot to get all your local wines and cheeses. If you need a lunch for the beach or for venturing off to the Manitou Islands, call ahead and they will pack you a delicious sack lunch ahead of time.
  • Dam Candy Shop – As you would expect, a great place for

Browse Art Galleries

Leland is an underrated hub for finding phenomenal art from local artists. A few locations worth looking into include.

Lelanau Community Cultural Center – The old art building is a local treasure for residents of Leland. They feature different events throughout the year that may coincide with your visit. Check them out!

Dine in Leland

Leland is home to some great places to eat. Here are some great dinner options to look into after a fun day of activities around Leland.

Bluebird – A staple of Leland, the Bluebird has served Leland for many years. Next door is the Early Bird, the best breakfast spot in town.

The Cove – A great indoor/outdoor spot by the river. Also located steps away from Fishtown.

Riverside Inn – Great waterfront views with excellent food. A great place to sit outside and enjoy the weather while having an excellent meal. A great location to stay if they have any rooms available.

Other Great Ideas

Do a day trip to South Manitou Island. Catch the ferry through the Manitou Island Transit and go to the island for the day. Either hike around the island and see all of its natural and historical features or just spend a day relaxing on the beach. Camping is also an option on South Manitou with campgrounds. For more serious campers, you can also go to North Manitou to do overnight camping. All trips should be booked ahead of time as spots can quickly fill up.

Venture out onto North or South Lake Leelanau. Leelanau Watersports in Lake Leelanau offer boat rentals, which offer a great opportunity to go out on the water on an inland lake to do some fishing or boating.

Well, there you have it! Start planning your trip to Leland and the Leelanau Peninsula. You certainly won’t regret it!


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