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MICHIGAN LAKESHORE, M-22 TOUR

  • Location: Michigan, USA
  • Audio Points: 219
  • Valid: No expiry
  • Start: Manistee or Traverse City
  • Direction: North + South
  • Download: ~90Mb

Tour Route Map

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Major Highlights

  • Sleeping Bear Dunes - Dune Climb
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes - Pierce Stocking Drive
  • Arcadia Marsh Preserve
  • Inspiration Point
  • Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail
  • Leelanau State Park
  • Leland Fishtown
  • Point Betsie Lighthouse
  • Traverse City
  • Whaleback Natural Area

What to Expect

Taking a scenic drive on Michigan’s M-22 is a delightful journey filled with outstanding views and unique landscapes. M-22 is a designated state highway that runs along the northwest coast of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, hugging the shoreline of Lake Michigan and weaving through small towns with tons of personality. Our tour takes advantage of bonus lakeside driving, by following all the way around the Leelanau Peninsula.

An outstanding location and highlight for every visitor is Sleeping Bear Dunes. This unique area protects and provides access to massive dunes that overlook excellent lake views. If you need to climb down a dune, and then climb back up again – the Climbing Dune is that place! At Sleeping Bear, you should visit the ghost town, Glen Haven, and do take yourself on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive loop.  You’ll enjoy super views, including some of the very best dune experiences.  

We will be traveling through some of the best fruit growing areas in the country. That means terrific fruit – especially Michigan’s famous cherries. That fruit extends to grapes, and that means wineries (and cideries) to visit. Be ready to snack and feast, and taste local beverages and sweet pie treats.

Along our road trip, we’ll visit many terrific scenic views and interesting towns. We’ll have the option to take hikes, long and short, and visit some pretty lighthouses that speak to the lake’s maritime history. At just about any time of year, there’s is something magical to enjoy and we’ll weave many stories of past and present into the journey.

This tour is to designed in to be driven in either direction, from Manistee to Traverse City, or in reverse – the choice is yours.

Suggested Start Location

Manistee or Traverse City

How Much Time Do I Need?

At least one day, ideally two or more days.

Driving Distance

The total one-way tour driving distance between Manistee and Traverse City is approximately 120 miles.

FAQ

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE MICHIGAN LAKESHORE DRIVE?

 M-22 is a designated state highway that runs along the northwest coast of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, hugging the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Along the drive, there’s terrific scenic views, interesting towns, and some of the best fruit growing areas in the country. An outstanding location and highlight for every visitor is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this unique area protects and provides access to massive dunes that overlook excellent lake views.

WHY DO PEOPLE GO TO SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE?

With towering dunes, endless beaches, wilderness islands and miles of trail to explore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is definitely the main feature along the M-22 Michigan Lakeshore Drive. One thing you won’t want to miss here is the Dune Climb. It’s the most popular thing to do in the park, and involves climbing a series of sand dunes with fantastic views of Lake Michigan in the distance.

WHERE DOES THE MICHIGAN LAKESHORE DRIVE START AND END??

Michigan’s M-22 stretches for 116 miles along Lake Michigan’s shoreline from Manistee to Traverse City.

HOW DO YOU GET TO SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE?

Most visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore arrive by car or RV, on their road trip along Michigan’s M-22. Visitors can access Michigan’s M-22 Scenic Drive from Manistee or Traverse City. 

WHERE DO YOU STOP ON THE MICHIGAN LAKESHORE M-22 DRIVE?

Taking a scenic drive on Michigan’s M-22 is a delightful journey filled with outstanding views and unique landscapes. Some of the many highlights include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (including the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Drive), Arcadia Marsh Preserve, Inspiration Point, Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, Leelanau State Park, Leland Fishtown, Point Betsie Lighthouse, Traverse City and the Whaleback Natural Area.

HOW LONG IS THE DUNE CLIMB AT SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE?

If you only have time for one hike in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, make it the Dune Climb.  This 284-foot-high wall of glistening white sand takes around 10 minutes to climb, and it’s a strenuous hike that will fill your shoes and pockets with sand, as well as take your breath away.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE MICHIGAN LAKESHORE M-22 DRIVE?

Michiganders will tell you that each season has its charms, but many sites are only open seasonally from around Memorial Day in May to mid-October. Summer is busy and you can expect to encounter traffic. Cooler weather may put some visitors off, but both spring and fall abound with color, either from all the fruit blossoms in the region or the vibrant fall foliage. For skiers or snowshoers, winter can be a peaceful and glorious time to visit.

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU NEED TO VISIT THE MICHIGAN LAKESHORE, M-22 DRIVE?

While you could do our drive from Manistee to Traverse City (or vice versa) in a single day, most visitors will want to spend at least one night here to take in all the sights. There are charming towns along the drive, and most are small and easy to explore. Be sure to save some time to stroll the downtowns, get a coffee at a local shop and chat with store owners. And leave a lot of time for the outdoors – Michigan’s coastlines and hiking trails are a treasure.

Trip Planning

Michigan Lakeshore M22 Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan M-22 Trip Planner

Planning a road trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan? You'll want this free trip planner with itineraries, what not to miss, best hikes, how to avoid the crowds and lots of other local tips.
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