Top 20 Glen Arbor Michigan Things To Do 2023 | M22 + Sleeping Bear Dunes | Hotels, Restaurants, Shops
Glen Arbor Michigan and M22 - Cute Shops, Wine Tasting, Downtown and Things to Do
Top 20 Glen Arbor Michigan Things To Do | M22 + Sleeping Bear Dunes | Hotels, Restaurants, Shops | By Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com
Glen Arbor is a charming Michigan small town located on Michigan's famous M22 between Sleeping Bear Bay (Lake Michigan) and the Glen Lakes. It's a great stop while biking riding the Heritage Trail and hiking Sleeping Bear Dunes in Northern Michigan. You'll see why it's a favorite vacation spot in Michigan for Chris and myself.
This lakeside town is a popular Michigan tourist attraction and a great destination for an epic Michigan vacations and getaways in the spring, summer and fall. Glen Arbor Michigan is located smack-dab in the middle of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which is a popular Michigan must-see destination.
Where is Glen Arbor Michigan?
Glen Arbor is located in Northwest Michigan.
- The distance from Glen Arbor to Traverse City: 28 miles, 37 minutes
- The distance from Glen Arbor to Petoskey: 94 miles, 2 hours
- The distance from Glen Arbor to Grand Rapids: 158 miles, 2.5 hours
- The distance from Glen Arbor to Detroit: 272 miles, 4.5 hours
What is there to do in Glen Arbor Michigan?
Well, Chris and I love visiting Glen Arbor while exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes! Since Glen Arbor is surrounded by Lake Michigan, the little Glen Lakes, and Sleeping Bear Bay, you'll have lots of opportunities to swim, soak up the sun on the sandy beaches, kayak or paddleboard. Water babies will love it!
Glen Arbor is home to lots of cute shops, boutiques, restaurants, and wine tasting opportunities while enjoying Northern Michigan. You can explore the town by renting a bike or see the streets by foot. Then relax in a lovely Inn in downtown Glen Arbor.
What is Glen Arbor MI Known for?
We love Glen Arbor for the shopping, art galleries, fun restaurants and the fact that it is on the Heritage Trail which is an incredible biking trail. You can rent bikes here to ride around and enjoy the region. (We have a great spot to rent bikes listed below.)
Glen Arbor is also on the iconic Michigan highway, M22 which is in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This Michigan small town is flanked by Lake Michigan, tall sand dunes and beaches begging you to swim, splash and play.
It's also a great walking town. The Glen Arbor Chamber offers a walking map of the city.
Let's not forget the pristine Crystal River that's perfect for kayaking and canoeing this spring, summer and fall!
About Glen Arbor Michigan
Glen Arbor is home to Cherry Republic, one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Glen Arbor. They have a restaurant, cute shop that sells cherry everything, and wine tasting, all nestled within a setting of lovely trees. There's outside seating to relax and enjoy wine tasting-which is exactly what I did!
As one of the top Michigan destinations, Glen Arbor is the perfect base for exploring the dunes (Grab out guide to Sleeping Bear Dunes). You can take day trips to Traverse City, Old Mission Peninsula, Sutton's Bay, Leelanau Peninsula and Frankfort...all within driving distance.
So you can see why Glen Arbor is a top pure Michigan travel destination. There are so many outdoor activities and fun things to do that your whole family will enjoy this Michigan getaway.
Below are some of Chris and my favorite things to do and see in Glen Arbor.
Rent a Bike and Explore Downtown Glen Arbor MI
Why walk when you can explore Glen Arbor and the region by bike?
The Cyclery, located at 6260 W River Rd, Glen Arbor, MI 49636, is a great place to rent a quality bike. You can even rent tandem, fat tire and mountain bikes! They are located right on the main street next to the M22 store.
Hike or Bike the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail + Map
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is an incredible biking trail, I love it! I parked at the Dune Climb trailhead (it's paved) and biked both directions from there.
How long is the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail? 27 miles!
The scenic Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a non-motorized, multi-use trail that connects the northern area of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at County Road 669 to the Leelanau/Benzie County line south of Empire.
The Heritage trail is asphalt (perfect for biking, inline skating and walking), but a 3-mile section through the Port Oneida Rural Historic District north of Glen Arbor is crushed stone.
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Map
If you need a bike, you can rent one at the Cyclery in downtown Glen Arbor.
There are several trailheads located at Bar Lake Road, Pierce Stocking, Dune Climb, Glen Haven, Alligator Hill, Crystal River, Bay View, and Port Oneida.
Hike the Alligator Hill Trail + MAP | Glen Arbor
There are several loops that you can take from the trailhead at Alligator hill. Check the Alligator Hill Trail map above to choose the distance that's perfect for your group. I took the shortest loop.
One of the coolest points of interest on the Alligator trail is this row concrete structures. They are charcoal kilns, installed by lumberman Pierce Stocking who purchased the land in 1948. He used these kilns to convert the waste from his sawmill into charcoal.
Go Kayaking, SUP, Canoeing in Glen Arbor Michigan | Crystal River Outfitters Has Rentals
Crystal River Outfitters, 6249 W. River Road, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
You'll want to get out on the water when visiting Glen Arbor! Crystal River Outfitters has everything you need! They offer beach rentals, canoe trips, kayaking and equipment delivery. So book your kayak or canoe trip down the lovely Crystal River this spring, summer or fall. You can also buy or rent stand up paddle boards. Crystal River Outfitters has great swim or beach wear too, so stop in!
Go Boating in Glen Lake MI: Rentals
If you are itching to get out on the water, consider renting a boat! The blue waters of Big Glen and Little Glen lakes are so pretty in the summer. The fish are also plentiful if you love fishing!
Boat rentals Glen Lake MI:
Glen Lake Watersports, 8700 W Harriger Rd, Empire, MI 49630
Play North Watersports: Yamaha Jet Ski rentals, Water trampolines, SUP boards and more in Northwest Michigan. Rent a jet ski or pontoon on Glen Lake and cruise the shoreline.
Relax in Glen Arbor Michigan Hotels + Glen Arbor Bed and Breakfasts
Great places to stay in Glen Arbor include:
- Bed and Breakfast: If it's all about the location, you will love the downtown Glen Arbor Bed and Breakfast because it is smack dab in the middle of it all. The Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages, located at 6548 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI is a great pick for your Michigan weekend getaway!
- Bed and Breakfast: The Sylvan Inn Bed & Breakfast's huge front porch will beckon you to sit and relax a bit. Located at 6680 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI, this bed and breakfast is close to shopping, restaurants and fun as it's right on the main street.
- Glen Arbor Resort: The Homestead Resort Glen Arbor: Located at 1 Wood Ridge Rd, Glen Arbor, MI, this breathtaking resort is surrounded by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Homestead resort features an incredible beach, spa, golf courses, tennis courts, watercrafts pools, hot tubs, restaurants, meeting facilities and lots of winter sports. Make it a winter Michigan getaway right in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore!
By the way, did you know the Sleeping Bear Dunes was selected by the viewers of ABC's Good Morning America as the "Most Beautiful Place in America?"
Go Wine Tasting | Glen Arbor Wineries are Fantastic! | Top Michigan Things To Do
While visiting Glen Arbor, one of the most fun things to do is go wine tasting! You can definitely find a few Glen Arbor wines to take home.
The 45th parallel passes near Glen Arbor and also Bordeaux in France...of whom creates some of the best wine in Europe. Coincidence? Well, you'll find some of the best wines in this region of Northern Michigan, so you decide.
The M22 Glen Arbor (shown above), located on M22) has a great store and outside wine tasting area. What a lovely spot to sit and relax while enjoying a glass of wine! Then wander next door to their M22 shop.
Wine Tasting at Cherry Republic
One of my favorite places for wine tasting is at the Cherry Republic! I hate guessing how wine will taste (and I wanted to buy a couple bottles) so ambled over to the lovely wine tasting room. I received several samples to try. Since it was a lovely day, I enjoyed them out on their deck.
Day Trips and Things to Do Near Glen Arbor | Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore!
Glen Arbor is only a few miles from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! There's hiking trails with incredible scenic views, exciting kayaking, scenic drives, dune climbs and breathing vistas.
Go Shopping Downtown: Our Favorite Glen Arbor Shops
The Coastal Shop | Fantastic Apparel Shop in Glen Arbor
The Coastal Shop in Glen Arbor offers trendy, seasonal clothing that you will love! High quality, friendly staff and brightly lit, I found shopping at the Coastal Shop a joy. We were there in October, so the shops outside were decorated for fall.
It's great that parking is free in Glen Arbor MI. It gets so taxing to have to constantly pay to park, so this was a breath of fresh air! The Coastal Shop should be at the top of your list for shopping in Glen Arbor.
The M22 store | One of My Favorite Downtown Glen Arbor Shopping Spots
M22 Glen Arbor: 6298 W. Western Ave., Glen Arbor. One of my favorite shops in Glen Arbor is the M22 store. I mean you just have to to pick up a hat or t-shirts with the iconic M22 label...it's just what you do. When in Glen Arbor, right?
Check out Beth Bricker's Art Gallery
Right across the street from the Cherry Republic is this lovely shop with artwork by Beth Bricker. Check it out!
The Totem Shop | Glen Arbor, MI
Where: 6521 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI, United States, Michigan
The Totem Shop is Leelanau County's premier store for camping, hiking, and other outdoor adventure. Lots of raincoats, fleeces, sweatshirts, hiking gear.
Shop at The Cotton Seed Apparel Shop in Glen Arbor
The Cotton Seed Apparel shop in Glen Arbor features colorful, well made clothing that is on-trend for season. They have good sizing and lots of choices.
Visit Cherry Republic | Shop, Restaurant and Winery | Glen Arbor
Cherry Republic falls under all of my favorite categories: Shop, Restaurant and Winery! The large barn shown is their retail shop that offers everything cherry: wine, bbq sauce, chocolate covered cherries, sodas and so much more. But you will definitely want to try the cherry wine...so yummy!
Of course, keep your eye out for the Cherry Republic's original motto (that printed on the back of their very first Cherry Republic T-shirts), 'Life, Liberty, Beaches and Pie.' Bob, the owner, continues to run his company according to those principles. I think I will too! (My life, anyway)
Aren't the wood floor inside the Cherry Republic store just divine? I love wandering in their shop as it's so cheerful, bright and everything is displayed so beautifully.
Explore Historic Glen Haven
You'll definitely want to take an afternoon and explore the ghost town of Glen Haven. It's a quick drive to Glen Haven, it took me approximately 5 minutes from where my car was parked at the Cherry Republic.
Glen Haven is located along the shores of Sleeping Bear Bay and has a few buildings to explore and a WAY less populated beach. If you want to beat the heat and the crowds, Glen Haven is the place to do it.
Check out the colorful red cannery boathouse where cherries were once canned in Glen Haven. There are information boards and docents available to answer your questions. There are public restrooms but no restaurants so we recommend packing a lunch.
Top Glen Arbor Restaurants and Dining
Art's Tavern | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Cocktails + Takeout in Glen Arbor Michigan
Art's Tavern is a hotspot in the summer as they have outside patio seating! They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it's a great spot to relax a bit while taking a break from shopping. Grab a sandwich and a cocktail to enjoy the beauty of the day.
Inn and Trail Gourmet | Great Coffee, Sandwiches, Lunches in Glen Arbor
Grab coffees, pastries, sandwiches and other treats to go at the Inn and Trail Gourmet.
The Western Ave Grill in Glen Arbor: Enjoy Some Wings!
The Western Ave Grill in Glen Arbor is a fun restaurant right along the main street (6410 W Western Ave, Glen Arbor MI) and has outside patio seating.
They have yummy appetizers like wings and jalapeno poppers with soups, salads, flatbreads. The Western Ave Grill's ribs and pulled pork are worth trying too!
Day Trips from Glen Arbor
Just a short drive from Glen Arbor are several lovely Michigan travel destinations. If you drive along Michigan's famous M-22, you can visit Leland which is also known as Fishtown. Here you can dine, check out the shanties, wander the downtown and shop.
You can also visit lovely Northport, Suttons Bay, Maple City and Elk Rapids.
Of course, we recommend touring:
Chris and I have toured these areas extensively and have created in-depth travel guides for these regions. The Leelanau Peninsula wineries are worth exploring.
Visit South Manitou Island Lighthouse | North and South Manitou Islands
If you are looking for another day trip from Glen Arbor, consider hopping aboard the Manitou Island Transit ferry to visit the North and South Manitou Islands! You can access the ferry from the Fishtown Dock located in Leland, MI. There are no grocery stores or medical centers on the islands to be prepared. We recommend reservations!
Get the Gear!
Keep Your Phone and Wallet Safe
- Use a bike bag to keep all your belongings safe as you ride. Keeps your phone handy for maps or not preventing you from missing a call.
Thermal Softshell Cycling Jacket + Windproof and Waterproof
This AFFORDABLE, bright cycling jacket is windproof and waterproof-perfect for cycling the Sleeping Bear Dunes Heritage Trail. It comes in tons of colors and is breathable. There are two pockets for storage.
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Keep Reading! There's Some Cool Stuff Here!
So guys, we've compiled a Michigan color tour guide I think you will love. It's chuck full of scenic hiking trails, awesome overlooks, super cute farm markets, pretty cities and well, a freakin' awesome scenic drive.
Check it out! ---------> Best West Michigan Fall Color Tour + Interactive Map
Oh, and Have you been to Sleeping Bear Dunes? It's just incredible! Scenic drives, breathtaking overlooks, dune climbs, tons of hiking trails and more!
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