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Frankfort Michigan 2023: M-22 Travel Guide & Best Things to Do

point betsie in frankfort michigan
Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort MI

Frankfort, MI Vacation Travel Guide

Visit Frankfort, MI: Perfect Lake Michigan Beach Town

On the shores of Lake Michigan, tucked away on a sandy stretch of beach in the foothills of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the prettiest towns in all of Michigan: Frankfort, MI.

It’s not just the windswept shores of the azure-colored Lake Michigan; it’s not the looking-glass clear Crystal Lake, or even the quaint yet hip downtown Frankfort that captures you.

It’s the setting.

Take the famously scenic M-22 down a hill to get into the city of Frankfort, and an idyllic village lays before you with sparkling Lake Michigan water and wide sandy beaches as a backdrop.

You’ll see the gently rolling hills and the deep blue Betsie Lake full of sailboats and fishing boats making their way in from Lake Michigan.

It’s not much more than a square mile, but it won’t take long for Frankfort, MI to become a favorite northern Michigan vacation destination.

frankfort michigan sign

Explore Frankfort, MI…

This tiny little gem of a Michigan beach town is surrounded by water: wild and unpredictable Lake Michigan; pristine Crystal Lake and the picturesque Betsie Lake.

It’s also snuggled cozily between the Elberta Bluffs on the south and Sleeping Bear Dunes to the north.

frankfort michigan

Downtown Frankfort MI

Don’t be taken in by the old-fashioned downtown: Frankfort is a very informed community; tuned-in and progressive. This cool spot is an arts center in northern Michigan, boasting two main art centers.

Frankfort is also home to a popular Benzie County craft brewery, Stormcloud Brewing Company. This brewing company is located on Main Street, not far from the another My Michigan Beach favorite, Papanos Pizza.

Frankfort features a charming bit of everything needed for a perfect beach vacation: dramatically beautiful beaches, a bustling downtown where ice-cream and fudge shops mingle with old-fashioned drug stores, popular eateries, art galleries and more.

Read on to explore Benzie County and learn more about beautiful Frankfort, MI. 

frankfort michigan
Photo by Kathleen Smith/Frankfort Moments

Frankfort, MI is known for…

  • Amazingly clear and stunningly gorgeous Crystal Lake, the ninth largest inland lake in Michigan and one of the most beautiful
  • Spectacularly dramatic sunsets at the Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse that are best captured from a cozy bench along Lake Michigan’s Frankfort Beach
  • Truly one of the BEST Michigan beach towns: a charmingly quaint downtown with fun gift shops, cafes, and restaurants waiting to be explored
  • Iconic Point Betsie Lighthouse, one of the country’s most photographed lighthouses
  • A thriving art community that celebrates the natural beauty of the area
frankfort michigan

Vacation in Frankfort, MI

Charming Frankfort, in Benzie County, is truly a perfect vacation destination, set in some of northern Michigan’s prettiest country.

It’s also close to many of Michigan’s most-visited spots including Grand Traverse county; Manistee county and the Leelanau Peninsula.

Frankfort has everything: dunes, lighthouses, amazing beaches and more.

Throughout generations, families have made Frankfort’s beaches a vacation tradition; visiting lakefront beach and cabins rentals on Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake year after year.

If you love crystal clear water, soft sugar sand dunes and quaint small towns, put a Frankfort vacation on your Michigan bucket list today.

Frankfort Weather

Frankfort, MI weather is typical northern Michigan: cold and snowy in the winter and delightfully warm in the summer. Expect temperatures to range from 70 F to 80 F during the day from June-September.

During the summer months, mornings and evenings may be cooler; typically lower 70 – 60 F.

frankfort michigan
Photo by Kathleen Smith/Frankfort Moments

Frankfort, MI Sunset

You’ve never really seen a sunset until you watch the sun sink into Lake Michigan from Frankfort Beach.

The spectacular Lake Michigan sunsets off Point Betsie are some of the most beautiful around.

Grab a seat on on the benches lining the beach and watch the show as visitors walk along the pier to the Frankfort north breakwater lighthouse, backlit by the sun.

Grab a blanket and settle in at dusk to watch as the the flaming sun dips slowly into the deep waters of Lake Michigan- you’ll remember it forever.

frankfort michigan
Photo by Kathleen Smith/Frankfort Moments

Frankfort’s Vibrant Arts Community
The picturesque city of Frankfort on the shores of Lake Michigan has inspired many artists in the community.

In addition to the arts and crafts fairs held throughout the year, there are also studios and galleries worth checking out. You can also check the online galleries of these local artists.

Gwen Frostic
The local artist and naturalist Gwen Frostic lived and worked in the area until her death in 2001; her work influenced by her Benzie County surroundings.

Frostic’s beautiful linoleum block artwork earned her a place in both the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame and the hearts of art lovers everywhere.

Oliver Art Center
The Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts in downtown Frankfort promotes the advancement of arts through classes, workshops, exhibitions and more.

Ellie Harold Art Studio
Visit the studio Memorial Day through Labor Day where artist Ellie Harold shares regional landscape, still life, abstract oil paintings, as well as note cards, calendars and books.

Frankfort Moments
Visit the online store of local photographer Kathleen Smith of Frankfort Moments. Smith, an award-winning local photographer, captures the essence of this lovely area in her work.

You may recognize some of her outstanding photo’s of Point Betsie Lighthouse and the Lake Michigan shoreline.

frankfort mi beaches

Best Beaches in Frankfort, MI

The beaches in and around Frankfort are, simply put, pure bliss. Soft, sandy bluffs and dunes cascading into an azure-colored Lake Michigan make for a perfect beach day.

Frankfort’s Lake Michigan beaches make an ideal spot for a variety of water sports: surfing; kite boarding; paddle boarding as well as just enjoying the beautiful view.

Find more Frankfort beaches below:

Frankfort Beach (Anchor Road Beach)

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Playground, Dunes, Beach Swings, Volleyball, LIghthouse and Pier

Elberta Beach

Beach, Swimming, NO Restrooms

Point Betsie Beach

Beach, Swimming, Lighthouse

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Frankfort

Frankfort Beach

  • DOG RUN at north end of beach
  • 231-352-7177

Elberta Beach

  • Leashed Dogs Allowed on Beach
  • 231-352-7201
ADA accessible beaches in traverse city

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches, Biking and Hiking Trails in Frankfort

Wheelchair Accessible Beach

Frankfort Beach, located in downtown Frankfort, has a fantastic walkway that extends from the road all the way to the pier.

Joy to Ride Benzie ADA Bike - ADA accessible hiking trails in Michigan

Joy 2 Ride Benzie

The Betsie Valley Trail is one of the most scenic biking trails in northwest Michigan.

A ground-breaking program through Joy2Ride, a Benzie County non-profit, “…allows individuals who are physically unable to pedal/ride a bike, the opportunity to enjoy our fantastic Betsie Valley Trail, by using a specially designed wheelchair bike and volunteer “pilots”.

Things to Do in Frankfort, MI

With a beautiful beach, dunes and lighthouse within walking distance from Frankfort’s bustling downtown, there are many options for activities for visitors.

Additionally, others areas in beautiful Benzie County offer unparalleled opportunity for outdoor fun.

Point Betsie Lighthouse

Point Betsie Lighthouse
Wild and wonderful Point Betsie, with its dramatic Lake Michigan background, is said to be one of the most photographed spots in the United States.

It’s no wonder: the wide, open beach and waves of Lake Michigan make a overwhelmingly beautiful backdrop for the Point Betsie Lighthouse.

The name “Point Betsie” comes from the native American name for the area. Still operational and serving as an active navigation aid, the light is a treasured landmark.

Crystal Mountain
Home of Michigan’s only alpine slide, Crystal Mountain is one of the best family resort in the county.

Only 20 minutes from Frankfort, this four-season family-owned vacation destination is a hot spot for fun in any season.

With lodging, restaurants, downhill and cross-country skiing two championship 18-hole golf courses, a splash pad, an outdoor pool and water playground and more, Crystal Mountain has something for everyone.

Michigan Legacy Art Park
Founded in 1995 by artist David Barr, the Michigan Legacy Art Park is a 30-acre outdoor sculpture park located near Thompsonville, Michigan, on the grounds of Crystal Mountain Resort.

This immersive art experience is open year-round and includes 40 works of art and 1.6 miles of hiking trails.

crystal lake

Crystal Lake
The ninth largest inland lake in Michigan, Crystal Lake gets its name from its truly crystal clear water. Surrounded mostly by private cottages, there is a public access beach in nearby Beulah, MI. Find more about the Crystal Lake Public Beach here.

[Image: Stormcloud Brewing Frankfort, MI]

Frankfort Restaurants

Dining options in Frankfort, MI span a wide variety of tastes from fast casual to coffee shops to fine dining. Try these six favorite stops:

  • Birch and Maple
  • Crescent Bakery
  • Dinghys Restaurant and Bar
  • Frankz
  • Petals and Perks
  • Stormcloud Brewery
  • Fusion Restaurant
  • Port City Smokehouse

Frankfort Brewery: Stormcloud Brewing

Located just two blocks from Lake Michigan on Main Street in downtown Frankfort, Michigan, Stormcloud Brewing is casual spot known for Belgian-style craft beer & flatbread pizza, plus meat, cheese & pickle plates.

This fun – and delicious – is a must- on any trip to the Frankfort area.

Lodging in Frankfort, MI

Lake Michigan Beach Rentals

There are a wide variety of vacation rentals in the Frankfort and surrounding Benzie County area.

Vacation rentals are also available along the Crystal Lake shoreline, including privately-owned rentals or at Chimney Corners, a casual family resort.

Some of these are beachfront rentals or have beach access. If you are looking to rent a cabin in Frankfort, try these links:

  • Airbnb
  • Crystal Vacation Rentals
  • Flipkey
  • HolidayHomes
  • Hometogo
  • VRBO

Crystal Mountain Resort

This all-season resort community has a huge variety of lodging options available, ranging from hotels rooms and condominium units to vacation cottages and homes.

Beautiful grounds and lovely amenities round out this resort, located just 20 minutes away from Frankfort.

Find More Michigan Beaches and Beach Towns
Looking for information on other Michigan beaches and Michigan beach towns?

Naturally-beautiful Michigan is full of stunningly gorgeous spots for Michigan beach getaways.

The My Michigan Beach Map of Michigan beaches and Michigan beach towns will take you to the best Michigan beaches so you can start planning your Michigan beach vacation now.