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Leland Michigan: Ultimate Guide to Fishtown

leland michigan

Discover Leland, Michigan (Fishtown)

Imagine cruising the iconic M22 Michigan Highway and arriving at a destination that is surrounded by the beautiful blues of Lake Michigan, a crystal clear river, and a picturesque waterfall.

You can experience all of this and more in the lovely town of Leland, MI, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Northern Michigan.

With a little more than a half hour from Traverse City and settled along the shore of Sleeping Bear Dunes, Leland offers shopping in historic fishing shanties, a variety of waterfront restaurants, and boat excursions to the Manitou Islands all while relaxing to the rumbling roar of the Carp River waterfall dropping into the center of Fishtown, Leland.

Read on to discover more about picturesque Leland, MI.

leland michigan beach

Photo by Memories Captured by Lisa Baird

Visit Leland, MI

Looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, a romantic destination, or a recreational adventure filled with outdoor activities?

Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan is the lovely and thriving fishing town of Leland, MI. Leland is located in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, surrounded by stunning beaches.

This charming resort town offers commercial fishing charters, quaint gift shops, local art galleries, and waterfront dining options specializing on the fresh catches of the day.

If you’re not interested in fishing, no worries. Leland, MI offers something for everyone. Many tourists love to sit and enjoy a Chubby Mary on the warm and welcoming deck at the Cove Restaurant.

Others might prefer to wait in line for a scrumptious sandwich from the Village Cheese Shanty or indulging in smoked fish from Carlson’s Fishery and picnicking along the beautiful banks of the Leland River, while hearing the bubbling blue waters running down from the grand waterfall.

No matter what floats your boat, a Leland vacation offers countless options to experience and enjoy the beauty of Northern Michigan.

historic fishtown

About Leland, MI and Historic Fishtown

Leelanau County was established in 1863 with the state of Michigan. The Leelanau Historical Society was created to preserve and protect Leelanau’s history and settlers in 1957.

As the county seat of Leelanau County, Leland Michigan, is known as a historic fishing village showcasing a charming downtown filled with local art galleries, many specialty shops including the Fishtown shanties, and the backdrop of the delightful crystal blue waterfall.

Leland, MI also offers waterfront lodging, charter fishing, Leland wine, and boat excursions to the Manitou Islands: North and South Manitou. Both North Manitou and South Manitou Island are open for camping; day trips are available at South Manitou only.

Leland is centrally located on the Leelanau Peninsula with close proximity to many other fun Northern Michigan tourist stops like Traverse City, Maple City, Suttons Bay, Lake Leelanau, Northport, Omena, Empire, and Glen Arbor.

historic fishtown

The Weather in Leland, MI

Leland shares the expected Michigan weather: hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. It offers the splendor of the four seasons and many activities to go along with them. June, July, and August are the most seasonable months, with July traditionally being the hottest with an average high temperature of 76 degrees, making it a cooler Michigan destination.

In the winter, Leland offers a January average low of 19 degrees and can accumulate several inches of snow. Northern Michigan is known for showing off their fall colors in the autumn, and Leland adds to the grandeur and vibrancy of the season.

fishtown in leland michigan

What is Leland, Michigan known for?

Charming Leland is a popular vacation destination, especially in the summer and all months, with much to offer visitors. From fresh Farmers’ Markets to hiking trails to charter fishing excursions in Lake Michigan, Leland really does have something for everyone

Click on the link to below to find more information on things to do in the area.

Wedding Venues in Leland, MI

Wineries in the Leland area

Art/ Wine Events


[Image: Photo of Rick’s Cafe by Memories Captured by Lisa Baird]

Leland, MI Restaurants and Shopping
You’ll find everything from comfortable bars and full-service restaurants offering the day’s fresh catch to shanty’s along the dock in Fishtown featuring artisanal cheese and sandwiches. Take it from us, you really can’t go wrong with any of the dining options in the area.

Here are some of out favorites:

The Riverside Inn

The Cove

The Bluebird Restaurant and Tavern

Trish’s Dishes

The Leland Lodge

Village Cheese Shanty

Leland Mercantile Co.

Carlson’s Fishery

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[Image: Michigan-drive-in-movie-theaters]

Shopping in Leland, MI
The quaint downtown shops surrounding Fishtown offer a fun shopping experience ranging from bookstores, upscale boutiques and gift shops to art galleries and shops featuring handmade jewelry and home decor.

[Image: Leland MI]

Van’s Beach
This popular public access beach is located minutes from downtown Leland, right behind Van’s Garage. A perfect location for hunting Petoskey stones, picnicking, or sunbathing.

Nedow’s Beach
This beach is located on a private inlet on Lake Leelanau, shallow and warm with a boat launch, dock and picnic tables. Nedow’s Bay is straight down Pearl Street about 7 blocks past the Leland Country Club.

Schneiders Beach and Park
Lake Leelanau public access beach is at the end of Popp Road (right off M-204) about 1.5 miles east of the village of Lake Leelanau. There is a sandy beach, picnic area and boat launch. Dog-friendly!

Christmas Tree Beach (South Beach)
South Beach is a Lake Michigan beach formed by the public road end of Reynolds Street.

Hidden Beach
This beach is located on Lake Michigan at the end of Thompson Street in Leland.

North Beach
This quiet and less busy beach is located at the end of North St. Clean and excellent spot for a sunset.

Where to Stay in Leland, MI
If you looking for somewhere to stay in the Leland area, we suggest:

Falling Waters Lodge

The Riverside Inn

The Leland Lodge

Whaleback Inn

Jolli Lodge

Air B and B rentals in Leland

VRBO Homes in Leland

Lisa Baird is a high school teacher for Grand Rapids Public Schools, with a Master’s Degree from GVSU in Reading/ Language Arts; as well as a travel writer/ photographer. She enjoys reading books (teacher nerd) and considers herself an amateur wine connoisseur. She is the owner of Memories Captured by Lisa Baird, a photography business focusing on family sessions, newborns, senior pics, family portraits, weddings and more. She also owns and operates Capturing Michigan. Lisa’s work has been featured in Michigan Blue Magazine, Leelanau Enterprise, Glen Arbor Sun, and the Traverse City Record Eagle among other places.

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