Spend three days southbound on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula and you’ll forget all about GPS. Tiny fishing towns, powder-soft beaches, historic lighthouses—the excuses to pause are as plentiful as the panoramas.
DAY 1: TRAVERSE CITY & LELAND
Four hours from Detroit, Traverse City is the northern terminus of the storied M-22 highway. First go to the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a 19th-century hospital turned market. Pick up Leelanau lavender at Moonstruck Gardens, and sit down for red velvet pancakes at Red Spire Brunch House. In the afternoon, check out the collections of Inuit art and sculpture at the Dennos Museum Center. Stay overnight at the Riverside Inn in Leland (from $175 a night).
DAY 2: LELAND & GLEN ARBOR
Wake and stroll to Fishtown Preservation, where weathered shanties commemorate Michigan’s maritime history. Make the short drive to Glen Arbor, home of the cultfavorite shop M-22 and Sleeping Bear Dunes, where the sand dunes soar 450 feet and the water is crystal clear.
DAY 3: FRANKFORT & ARCADIA
Cruise farther down M-22 to reach Point Betsie Lighthouse, a backdrop for your 2021 holiday card. Five miles south is Frankfort; walk the pier and sip Belgian-inspired beers at Stormcloud Brewing Company. As you cover your last stretch of highway, stop at Inspiration Point in Arcadia for one final view of Lake Michigan.