Welcome to Leelanau County
Idyllic small-town lifestyle on the northern coast of Lake Michigan
If you ask anyone living in any of the picturesque communities that make up Leelanau County what life is like in this unique area, they’re sure to share all the wonderful opportunities, incredible activities, and overwhelming beauty that these locations offer year after year.
Leelanau County was originally founded in 1863 and has since grown into one of the most affluent and desirable areas in all of Michigan. While there are many year-round residents who make a living in the area, a large percentage of the population are second-homeowners looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The welcoming Midwestern attitude and friendly small-town charm are some of the main reasons why the area has become such a widely regarded destination, with more and more prospective buyers looking for their dream homes each and every day.
What to Love
- Small-town charm with friendly residents
- Numerous outdoor activities
- Picture-perfect scenery
- Support and unity within the local community
People & Lifestyle
The population of Leelanau County is a unique blend of local year-round residents and wealthier second or third-home owners working executive or managerial positions in the city. As a result, the average annual household income is slightly over the national average. However, despite the many different backgrounds found within these neighborhoods, there is a distinct sense of community that can’t be missed.
There is a tremendous appreciation for nature here. The towns themselves are quaint and attractive, focusing on walkability and creating a center for neighbors to come together. There are also numerous parks, preserves, and walking paths in the area, including the TART trail system, which connects Leelanau County and Grand Traverse.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
The dining scene in Leelanau County is one of the most vibrant and eclectic in Northern Michigan, making the area a culinary mecca for foodies from around the U.S. Farm Club
is a unique dining experience that locals absolutely love. This farm, restaurant, brewery, bakery, and market helps connect the community to local ingredients and flavors. Their restaurant menu includes roasted carrots with homemade yogurt, miso bagna cauda, and polenta made with Granor Farm heirloom corn.
Hop Lot Brewing Co.
is another local favorite. This microbrewery lets guests enjoy an array of their beers on tap in a stunning outdoor beer garden setting. Make sure you order some of their delectable menu items like soft pretzels with a jalapeno cheddar sauce, slow-smoked pork tacos, and a spicy fried chicken sandwich.
When residents are in the mood for upscale Italian, there’s nothing better than an evening at Trattoria Funistrada
. This one-of-a-kind Italian eatery offers guests an authentic and delicious experience with dishes such as stuffed grape leaves, veal saltimbocca, and an outstanding lemon and artichoke chicken.
The local cuisine isn’t the only thing that brings these communities together. There is an overwhelming sense of pride that those from Northern Michigan share, especially when it comes to the area they love. M22
is the perfect example of this local sense of identity. This unique clothing brand is dedicated to creating a symbol uniting the people of Northern Michigan, making sure that they give back as much as they can to the local community.
Things to Do
Residents of Leelanau County are hardly short of things to do in their spare time. The area has an abundance of local entertainment, recreational activities, and fun experiences to enjoy throughout the year. The M22 Challenge
is a wildly popular annual event where participants can test their stamina and skill in Northern Michigan’s best endurance course.
is another popular local spot for residents to relax and escape their daily anxieties. This beautiful public beach right on the lake is within walking distance of downtown and Fishtown, which is filled with shopping and dining opportunities. Christmas Cove Beach
is another wonderful beach that’s a bit more remote if you’re looking for some privacy.
Locals also enjoy visiting the numerous wineries in the area, which has made the county an oenophile’s paradise. There are 25 highly-regarded wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula, including Black Star Farms
. This stunning 160-acre farm is home to not only a world-class winery but a restaurant with farm-fresh cuisine and an inn with miles of onsite walking trails, horse paddocks, and spectacular local views.