Glen Arbor is a Shore Thing

glen arbor mi

Glen Arbor MI

Picturesque small towns dot the shores of Lake Michigan. One of our favorites is Glen Arbor, just north of Glen Lake. It’s a great place to poke around local shops or galleries, or pop in a pub for lunch – particularly after a long morning hike on the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

If you’re not a hiker, Glen Arbor is worth a visit in its own right. Take a driving tour of the M22 on the Leelanau Peninsula, through narrow, winding country roads with glimpses of lakes and vineyards.

A boater’s paradise, Glen Arbor can be found on nearly every list of the most beautiful towns in Michigan, both for its landscape and for its people. Take a stroll through the town to meet some lovely, genuine folks who run its boutiques and bars.

Summer is the most popular time to visit, but Glen Arbor is also a wonderful place to witness the changing of the leaves come fall, and a great spot for skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and ice fishing in the winter.

You could spend an entire afternoon here, just weaving your way in and out of the many restaurants, stores, purveyors of outdoor equipment and art galleries. There are public restrooms and a park in the center of the village next to the local bookstore, where you can hop on the free Wi-Fi if you must tear yourself away from the scenery.


‘Must stop’ eateries include Pine Cone hot dog and ice cream stand, as well as the Good Harbor Grill. The former is good for a quick treat, while the latter serves breakfast made with local eggs and lunch and dinner featuring local lake trout. It also boasts a big outdoor patio on the edge of the main road, perfect for watching life go by in the village.

Art’s Tavern is another hot spot, with lots of funky character. There’s an open-air patio, as well as an indoor saloon-style bar and gift shop. Take home a souvenir growler. Art’s serves tasty American bar food featuring local white fish, smoked trout and Great Lakes smelt.

Boondocks is located at the intersection at the entrance to town, so it’s another central location for people-watching. Grab a drink or a meal inside or out – we recommend outside, where the circular patio has seating all the way around. The decor here is lake cabin rustic, with lots of wood, river rocks and bears on the curtains. Try the ‘Something Fishy’ sandwich or Bacon Swiss Mushroom Burger. The Sourdough Backwoods Bread is topped with cheddar, boursin and parmesan cheeses. Boondocks is known for its steaks.


If you missed Cherry Republic back in Traverse City, there’s another location of the store here – famed for gift items bearing the area’s favorite fruit.Shop at Cotton Seeds boutique for funky jewelry and unique women’s wear – like fair trade handmade earrings, linen pants and boho blouses. Imagine That sells eclectic art and gifts, just like it says on the sign.

All signs point to Glen Arbor for a fun day off the beaten path.