Almost anywhere you point your car is a great drive in Leelanau County, certain to be filled with gorgeous vistas, small villages, farm stands and wildlife. Here are three suggestions to get you started.
The classic, fall-in-love-with-Leelanau drive traces M-22 for 60 captivating miles around the county’s watery perimeter. Find food, boutiques and antiques as you pass through port towns of Suttons Bay, Omena, Northport, Leland, Glen Arbor and Empire. Or use this guide to Leelanau's art stops to fill your route with galleries and art. Grandview Parkway, which runs along West Bay in Traverse City, turns into M-22 at the intersection of M-72 West.
A short-but-sweet ribbon of curvy pavement that threads through neat rows of orchards and past orderly farms set close to the road. (Find Setterbo about 1.5 miles north of Suttons Bay off M-22.) Your gorgeous drive on Setterbo ends with a vision of St. Wenceslaus Church framed against the horizon. The church, built in 1890, was once the vibrant center of the short-lived lumber town of Gills Pier. Turn left on East Kolarik Road and pause for a moment at the top of the hill—on most days you will be able to see Lake Michigan on your right and North Lake Leelanau a bit to your left. At the bottom of the hill take a right for a short hop to the junction of M-22 and Kolarik. Take a left for a stop at the Gills Pier Vineyard and Winery. Be sure to try the Pino Grigio, a dry white whose hint of apple is just right for a blossom tour. Or turn right onto M-22 and you'll come to Fisher's Happy Hour Tavern, just before Christianson Road. Pop in for a lunch of homemade soup, thick egg salad sandwiches or a Happy Hour burger. Once you've had your fill, turn right or left out of the Happy Hour and you're back on the M-22 tour.
An unsung countryside drive that swings and rolls and climbs and dips and enchants along the way. From M-72 out of Traverse City, head north on C-651 to Cedar. Just north of Cedar (at the blinking yellow), turn right on Schomberg Rd. Stay on Schomberg for 15 miles. Turn right on Dufek and follow to T at French Rd. From there, the choices are yours.