, offers visitors and residents a myriad of activities to enjoy in a small coastal community. Leland is in the northwest of Michigan‘s lower peninsula, between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau. The Leland River crosses through the community and connects the two lakes. The community’s central location along the water allows people to enjoy water sports, fishing, and outdoor activities, among other things. Despite its size, the charming small town offers a wide variety of attractions and things to do.
Spend a day at the beach
Leland residents have ample lake access as the community is along the eastern coast of Lake Michigan and just west of Lake Leelanau. Lake Michigan is one of North America’s Great Lakes and the world’s fifth-largest lake. As a coastal community, Leland has many beaches for people to enjoy the lakes. Beachgoers can visit Van’s Beach along Lake Michigan. Van’s Beach is located along Lake Michigan in downtown Leland. It is a publicly accessible beach that is a favorite among locals. There are also beaches on the edge of Lake Leelanau, such as Bartholomew Park, also known as Nedow’s Beach. This location is a public beach and park in one. The park is situated in the northern portion of Lake Leelanau. Schneider’s Beach & Park also offers a publicly accessible beach and picnic area along northern Lake Leelanau. Leland’s beaches are great whether beachgoers want to swim or simply enjoy the beautiful views of the lakes.
Learn about Leland’s unique history
Modern-day Leland is located at the site of the oldest and largest Ottawa village on the Leelanau Peninsula. The community was built with the river’s power, using dams to create a water-powered sawmill. Other families, including Cook, Porter, Bryant, Buckman, Pickard, Cordes, and Thies, joined the Leland community. They built wooding stations and docks used by steamers and schooners. Leland continued to grow, becoming the beautiful town that it is today. To learn more about Leland’s local history, people can visit the Leelanau Historical Society Museum, where collections and archives of more than 20,000 items preserve the history of the maritime town.
Visit the local harbor
Leland’s coastal location is significant in the town's history. The harbor has always been the heart of Leland. Residents store their boats at the Leland Harbor, which is located on the coast of Lake Michigan. The lake’s water is great for boating, fishing, and swimming. The full-service marina has a boat launch and picnic area open to the public. The harbor is near the Historic Fishtown, meaning fantastic shops, restaurants, lodges, and beaches are easily accessible. The harbor is a unique feature of the community’s lakeside location that attracts many visitors year-round.
Hike scenic trails
Take in the natural beauty of Leland while getting your steps in on one of the numerous hiking trails in the area. Experienced hikers can take on the trails around the 40-acre Whaleback Natural Area. The trail leads to a picturesque view of Lake Michigan. The Houdek Dunes Natural Area is home to trails where adventurous outdoor enthusiasts can explore the 337-acre area. During Leland’s snowy winter, people snowshoe and cross-country ski the Houdek Dunes trails. The Leelanau Conservatory maintains 28 natural areas and preserves in Leland and the surrounding areas where people can hike, bike, ski, and snowshoe, among other activities. Active nature lovers will be amazed by the natural beauty of Leland’s trails.
Eat some fresh seafood
A major benefit of Leland’s lakeside location is the ample access to delicious seafood. Several Leland restaurants serve fresh seafood caught locally. The Bluebird Restaurant and Tavern is Leland’s most popular and oldest restaurant. The riverside restaurant was founded by the Telgard family in 1927. The Bluebird serves an array of locally-sourced fish dinners and a regional wine and beer menu. Diners can enjoy the outdoor patio alongside the Leland River during the summer months. Located in the Leland Lodge on Leelanau Lake, Bogey’s 19th Hole offers a pub-style menu featuring locally-sourced food. The Cove and Rick’s Cafe overlook Lake Michigan offering dishes created with local ingredients. Serving famous seafood chowder and fresh Lake Michigan whitefish, The Cove was named Michigan’s best waterfront restaurant
. In Leland, there is no shortage of delicious seafood to enjoy.
Explore local wineries and distilleries
Leland is home to several wineries and distilleries offering locally-sourced wine and liquor. Amoritas Vineyards makes its wines from grapes grown on Leelanau Peninsula. The family-owned and operated winery hosts vineyard tours and tasting events. Aurora Cellars offers a boutique wine experience serving wines created from locally-produced grapes. The winery pairs its drinks with foods created using local ingredients. People can enjoy wine by the glass in the tasting room or rent the beautiful venue for events and weddings. If wine is not your thing, the Grand Traverse Distillery serves award-winning liquor made with local grains and regional glacial water. The Grand Traverse is Michigan’s oldest grain-to-bottle and certified craft micro-distillery. The wineries and distilleries in Leland offer tasty drinks produced by locals.
Read to explore Leland today?
If you are considering making your trip to Leland longer than a visit, an experienced realtor can help you explore Leland, Michigan, real estate. Robin Vilter
is a Leland local with a love for real estate. Before being a realtor, she was a sailing teacher and a waitress at Leland’s beloved restaurant, The Cove. Robin is a Leland, Michigan, real estate expert as well as a community member who can guide you to the town’s best activities, eats, drinks, and more. She is dedicated to helping her clients find the best fit in the small coastal community.