Frankfort comes alive as summer days heat up, so roll into town early for an unhurried stroll down Main Street (visitbenzie.com). The Bookstore (330 Main St., 231-352-9720) is a good place to begin. Let the staff help you pick out a novel for the beach.
Stop to sip the cool fresh water bubbling up from the fountain at Mineral Springs Park, then follow your nose to the Blue Door Gourmet (326 Main St., 231-352-8050) for a packed-to-order cheese and wine basket. Browse their selection of wines from around the world and sip an espresso while you wait.
Stock up on dive masks and body boards at Walenta Variety Store (423 Main St., 231-352-9068) and wander toward the Lake Michigan Beach at the end of Main Street. After you've played in Frankfort's rolling waves, stroll down the Frankfort Pier. This cement pathway stretches almost 2,000 feet to the North Pier Lighthouse. (Caution: Stay off the pier if the surf is high enough to wash over it.)
To balance your beach lollygagging with more leg stretching, pedal the 4.2-mile Frankfort to Elberta Beach-to-Beach trail that rings beautiful Betsie Bay. After you've nosed around the tiny yet vibrant village of Elberta, pedal back. That makes your ride total more than 8 miles. It's high time to take a seat in the sand and open that novel.
Dinner options abound in Frankfort. But one tried-and-true way to top a Frankfort play day is with a whitefish dinner at The Manitou Restaurant, 9 miles north on M-22 (4349 Scenic Hwy., 231-882-4761). Finish your din in time to score seats on the shore for a sunset show at nearby Point Betsie Lighthouse (pointbetsie.org).
Katie Holland was an intern at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
This article was first published in June 2007, and was updated April 2008.