Your M-22 Scenic Drive Begins in Manistee County
It's by far one of the most beautiful drives in America, and it's right here in northwest Michigan. M-22 is a 116-mile stretch of road that winds through the scenic countryside of Manistee, Benzie and Leelanau counties. Though very pretty in spring and summer, the fall season is when you really must take this drive along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Along the way you can visit wineries, art galleries, and experience small-town friendliness.
M-22 Begins in Manistee CountyThe southern-most section of M-22 starts in Manistee County off US-31.
Manistee is a charming Victorian port city, best known for the historic Ramsdell Theater, the 1.5 mile Riverwalk, gorgeous beaches and golf courses, and the popular Little River Casino. Two of Manistee's biggest festivals are the Forest Festival over July 4th and Old Christmas Weekend in early December. The fall season is a gorgeous time to drive through the Manistee area, or walk downtown and browse the variety of stores and restaurants. During the month of October, dare to get scared in Manistee's very own Ghost Ship, otherwise known as the S.S. City of Milwaukee the rest of the year. Read more about Manistee.
OnekamaAfter visiting the city of Manistee, follow the winding M-22 up to the village of Onekama, just 20 minutes north of Manistee. Onekama is commonly know as the "Two Lake Town," offering the combination of Lake Michigan shoreline and peaceful Portage Lake. Read more about Onekama.
ArcadiaLess than 15 minutes north of Onekama, and you'll come across the small town of Arcadia, home of Arcadia Daze in July and Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. More about Arcadia.
For more information, read our story about taking the fall color tour on M-22 in Manistee County.
Experience the M-22 Color Tour in mid to late October:
Traveling north on US-31 from Manistee, pick up M-22 by the Casino. Follow this leisurely route through Onekama...then be sure to stop at the lookout point at Arcadia. Continue on M-22 up Elberta and Frankfort, where you'll find some terrific shopping and great restaurants. Further north you'll find Empire, the gateway to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You'll want to take some time and visit the park, which offers spectacular dunes and views of Lake Michigan. Continue traveling M-22 north through the Leelanau Peninsula and the towns of Glen Arbor, Leland, Northport and Suttons Bay.
Each has its own unique personality (such as Fishtown in Leland) and various wineries are found in this area. Finally, end up in Traverse City, the cherry capital. It's a great place to end your tour, with so much to see and do in this popular northern town.
It's well worth an afternoon drive in October to travel the M-22 route. The vibrant colors will amaze you...and the towns will welcome you.
Travel M-22 North to Benzie County
Discover the Northernmost Section of M-22 in Leelanau County
Manistee Fall Color Tour
Mason County Fall Color Tour
Oceana County Fall Color Tour
More Manistee Information...
For more activities & attractions, check out these additional links for Things to Do in West Michigan:
Ludington Activities & Things to Do -- Play on a beautiful beach, take a tour at Historic White Pine Village, or explore the barn quilt trail, murals or sculptures in the county--Ludington offers many fun things to do for the entire family!
Have Fun in Manistee, Michigan -- Explore Manistee's historic downtown district and riverwalk, hike the Manistee National Forest, canoe on the Manistee River, and more.
Hamlin Lake -- Just 4 miles north of Ludington, Hamlin Lake is a great destination for boating, fishing and climbing dunes! The Hamlin Lake shoreline is also part of the Ludington State Park.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes -- Visiting the Silver Lake Sand Dunes makes for a terrific vacation because you can take your off-road vehicle for a spin on the scenic sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan and Silver Lake.
Things to Do in Pentwater, Michigan -- Nothing is quite like the quaint, artsy, harbortown village of Pentwater. Don't miss the popular Charles Mears State Park beach on Pentwater's Lake Michigan shoreline.
Lots of Activities in Scottville, Michigan -- Explore the Riverside Park along the National Scenic Pere Marquette River.
Canoeing or Fishing on the Pere Marquette River -- Many boat liveries offer canoe rentals.
Also, check out West Michigan Guides and our locally produced WestMichigan.MichBiz.com directory for our largest lists of Things to Do in West Michigan.