From our base in Traverse City, today we visited the Lelanau Penninsula. We first headed west to reach Lake Michigan at the little town of Empire, a small stretch of private property that bisects the huge, sprawling Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a national park. Empire has a beautiful stretch of beach with some great views.
Looking south from the beach at Empire, from Empire Bluff on the left across Platte Bay to Betsie Point, which juts out near the western end of the large, inland Crystal Lake:
Turning around on the Beach at Empire, looking northwest through a small flock of gulls on the move to see South Manitou Island and then, to the right, the steep cliffs, some pure sand and some covered with trees and grass, of Sleeping Bear Dunes; the gulls were startled by a hawk circling above:
Then we drove north into the Sleeping Bear Dunes national park and, as we did last year, stopped for a ride along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. We left our car and walked to the not-to-be-missed scenic overlook, which affords a majestic view of Lake Michigan and the dunes. The overlook is about 450 feet above the water. This photo is looking south across Platte Bay, the outcropping at Empire Bluff, and Betsie Point. The water along the shoreline is a turquoise blue:
We then moved on to the historic preservation site of Glen Haven, and old logging harbor on Sleeping Bear Bay just west of the town of Glen Harbor. Finally, we drove to Leland, where we walked around and stopped in the Bluebird for their noted whitefish. Here is a photo of the Lelanau River as it flows over the small dam near its mouth into Lake Michigan; the small, historic Fishtown area lies between the dam and the lake:
Now it's on to points further north.