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Manistee Travel Guide

Visit Manistee Michigan

Looking to vacation in a charmingly historic town surrounded by wide, sugar sand beaches and loaded with pure Michigan natural beauty?

If so, stunning Manistee, MI is the spot for you.

This west Michigan town, set on a quiet stretch of some of Lake Michigan’s prettiest shoreline, and the banks of the Manistee River, is a Michigan water wonderland: perfect for swimming, boating, fishing or simply gazing at the beautiful blue water from a bench on a lake bluff.

Read on to learn more about planning a vacation to Manistee, MI, or click to go directly to a specific section.

Plan a Vacation in Manistee County Michigan

There’s so much to do in the vacationland area throughout the year, from relaxing on the shores of a stunning Manistee beach in the summer or exploring the hiking trails to watching a Victorian sleighbell parade or enjoying winter sports like cross-country skiing or ice fishing.

Downtown Manistee shopping is also a highlight with county visitors, with historic buildings housing fun boutiques and shops alongside restaurants, cafes, an old-fashioned theater and even a historical museum.

Downtown Manistee shopping is also a highlight with county visitors, with historic buildings housing fun boutiques and shops alongside restaurants, cafes, an old-fashioned theater and even a historical museum.

You’ll find stunning parks like Lighthouse Park (featuring that scenic Manistee North Pierhead Light) and a harbor, too …just about everything you need for Michigan beach town fun.

You’ll find stunning parks like Lighthouse Park (featuring that scenic Manistee North Pierhead Light) and a harbor, too …just about everything you need for Michigan beach town fun.

Nature lovers will delight in exploring the Arcadia Dunes, just north of Manistee, and the Magoon Creek Park, featuring scenic bluffs, a pretty lake Michigan beach and hiking trails, and exploring more of endless natural wonders throughout the area.

What is Manistee, MI Known For?

A charmingly historic downtown shopping area featuring an eclectic mix of retail shops, galleries, antique stores and restaurants

The amazing beauty of Lake Michigan viewed from Inspiration Point (also known as the Arcadia Overlook), which towers 370 feet above the lake and provides an unforgettable look out over the lake and dunes

The Huron Manistee National Forest, home to almost a million acres of public land and featuring five rivers and miles of hiking and biking trails

Old Facefull, a still-functioning Artesian well located near the shores of Lake Michigan on Pierport Beach

More than 25 miles of pure Lake Michigan shoreline featuring white sugar-sand beaches and sparkling azure water

Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary, located on 100-foot-high bluff overlooking lake Michigan. A top bird sanctuary in Michigan, Lake Bluff is also home to amazing hardwood trees including a California Redwood and a Giant Sequoia.

Vacation in Manistee, MI

With more than more than 25 miles of gorgeous Lake Michigan shoreline, three Lake Michigan harbors, inland lakes and miles of rivers complete with a charming downtown – Manistee is a top family-friendly destination.

Manistee, MI Weather

Manistee, 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.

Manistee, MI Sunsets

The 25-mile long freshwater coastline in and around Manistee, MI provides ample opportunity to catch the sun as it dips into Lake Michigan – a truly unforgettable sight.

Best Beaches in Manistee, MI

Arcadia Beach

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Playground Area, Pet-Friendly, Picnic Area, Grills

Douglas Park (First Street Beach)

Beach, ADA-ACCESSIBLE, Swimming, Restrooms, Dog Run, Pavilions, Picnic Area, Playground, Shelters, Concessions, Basketball Court, Volleyball, Grills, Benches, Boat Launch

North Beach Access

Beach, ADA-Accessible, Swimming, Dog-Friendly

Pierport Beach

Beach, Swimming, Pet-Friendly

ADA accessible beaches in traverse city

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Manistee, MI

Explore the Shores
Universal access to Michigan waterways is a mission for Manistee and surrounding areas. Explore the Shores is a network of sites designed to provide barrier-free accessibility, educational opportunities and a connection to recreation and fishing in Manistee County, and is a collaborative effort of public and private organizations facilitated by the Manistee County Community Foundation and the Alliance for Economic Success.

The Explore the Shores website provides useful information regarding barrier-free accessibility to Lake Michigan beaches as well as information on surrounding inland lakes.

Douglas Park / First Street Beach
Not only does this beautiful beach location have a barrier-free walkway leading to the water, it also has a universally accessible fish cleaning station providing a state-of-the-art facility for anglers to clean and care for their catch.

These facilities feature universal design and access so that people of all ages, needs and abilities can fully enjoy their trip to the beach for all forms of outdoor recreation.

Dog-Friendly Beaches in Manistee, MI
Fifth Avenue Beach
Leashed Dogs Allowed on Beach

First Street Beach
Leashed Dogs Allowed on Beach

Downtown Manistee, MI

Downtown Manistee, MI is everything you might want in a Michigan Beach town: charming boutiques and retail outlets mixed with restaurants and galleries in a lovely Victorian setting near the Manistee River.

Manistee Riverwalk
Running parallel to the Manistee River is the Wheelchair-accessible Riverwalk, a paved 1.5 mile walk along the river. The Manistee Riverwalk provides countless opportunities for vacation fun for all. Access a wide variety of charming shops and restaurants by climbing up a few flight of stairs as you meander down the Riverwalk toward First Street Beach, where the river lets out into Lake Michigan.

Where to Eat in Manistee, MI

Big Al’s Pizza

Bluefish Kitchen and Bar

Blue Waters Cafe

Painted Lady Saloon

Manistee, MI Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries

With a brewery, winery and distillery in or nearby Manistee, the beverage scene is perfect in this Lake Michigan beach town. Try these three stop along your northern Michigan beverage tour:

Douglas Valley Winery

Iron Fish Distillery

North Channel Brewing

Things to Do in Manistee, MI

Arcadia Dunes
Just north of Manistee are 15 miles of some of the most scenic trails in Michigan. The stunning trails through lush woods dotted with rare wildflowers teems with wildlife, especially birds. Arcadia Dunes are part of the Sleeping Bear Birding Trail, which spans thousands of acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

[Image: Crystal Mountain]

Crystal Mountain
Located in nearby Thompsonville, MI, Crystal Mountain is home of Michigan’s only alpine slide. One of the best family resort in the county, 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.

Old Faceful Artesian Well
Located at the end of Thirteen Mile Road at Lake Michigan near Pierport, north of Onekama, Old Facefull has been treating visitors to sips of cool water for more than 80 years. Be sure to bring a cup or jug to fill up with water and then walk a few steps to the fabulous Lake Michigan beach nearby.