Frankfort Beach has a view of two lighthouses.
Frankfort boasts that it's "always in season." Set up sweet and low key along a super swath of Lake Michigan and Betsie Bay shoreline with an old-fashioned Main Street to boot, this historic harbor town doesn't lie. But it isn't telling the whole truth, either. Come summer, Frankfort is at its best.
To do its starring season right, give a nod to the early bird who gets the worm and hit Crescent Bakery (404 Main St., 231-352-4611) for a Robin's Egg Sandwich - an awesome a.m. amalgam of eggs, veggies and goat cheese. Fully fueled, activity options aplenty await. Walk the breakwall to the Frankfort Light; rent a kayak or bike, or take a kiteboarding lesson from Crystal Lake Adventure Sports (325 Main St., 231-882-2527); fish for the now-runnin' king salmon from the downtown dock; pedal out of town on the 27-mile Betsie Valley Trail (betsievalleytrail.org); buzz around town on a motorized scooter from Bayside Cycles (921 Main St., 231-352-9700); shop Main Street; or sip from the fountain of youth burbling up in Mineral Springs Park. Okay, now we're lying. That's just a plain old mineral spring.
But you can tap into your youth - or at least a sweet, caffeinated buzz that closely approximates it - with a slurp of The Cool Spot's (306 Main St., 231-352-7312) famed Cappuccino Chiller, an espresso, ice cream and whipped cream dream. If you prefer mature, hit the town's beloved Dinghy's (417 Main St., 231-352-4702) for a bottle of Stroh's and a summertime-only stuffed portobello sandwich.
Then? Beach it, baby. A ukulele - free lesson included - from Miranda Music (529 Main St., 231-352-9988); an inflatable orca from Walenta Variety Store (423 Main St); and tasty fist-sized sandwiches from Blue Door Gourmet (323 Main St., 231-352-8050) should tide you over until the evening's shows begin: first, at the single-screen Garden Theatre (301 Main St., 231-352-7561), the nightly 7 p.m. flick. Then, seen from Frankfort's sandy shores, the latest and greatest sunset around.
Boating into Frankfort? The 1932 Frankfort Light will guide you into the harbor, which offers seven full-service marinas and more than 400 slips - 35 transient ones await at the Frankfort Municipal Marina (231-352-9051). You can also arrive by car. Belly up to the mermaid-adorned bar at The Betsie Bay Inn's Hotspur Pub. Dine by the water at Rhonda's Wharfside (300 Main St., 231-352-5300).
Stay the Night
Harbor Lights Resort, motel rooms and condos on Lake Michigan: 800-346-9614, harborlightsresort.net
Stonewall Inn Bed and Breakfast, Civil War-era Victorian Italianate house on National Register of Historic Places: 231-352-9299, stonewallinnbb.com
The Betsie Bay Inn, historic inn on Main Street: 231-352-8090, betsiebayinn.com
Lynda Twardowski is travel editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in August 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.