Leland/Lake Leelanau


Leland is a picturesque little village located on a sliver of land between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau, a 25 minute drive north and west of Traverse City. This uncommon and charming village will mesmerize you with its beauty and amenities. Guests arrive by car, boat and bicycle.

Leland’s historical district, known as Fishtown, features rustic shanties and docks reminiscent of life and commercial fishing one hundred years ago. Today, galleries and unique shops fill these shanties, and charter fishing trips and the only public ferry to the popular North and South Manitou Islands depart from those same docks. While you’re in Fishtown, wander over to see the new Leland Marina complete with over 70 slips and a new welcome center for our boaters…the perfect place for launching and mooring boats on Lake Michigan. One of Leland’s signature events is the annual Leland Wine and Food Festival held on the second Saturday each June. This festival features many of our region’s exquisite, award-winning wines as well as outstanding food and hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants.

What’s Best?

Leland is a great walking around town. All of the shops, restaurants, galleries and museums are located within a short distance. There is easy access to public beaches, boat launches on each lake and a river connecting the two.

Where to Meet Locals?

At the Merc buying groceries; at the Village Cheese Shanty picking up scrumptious sandwiches to take out on the boat. Pizza night at the Bluebird, and at a school soccer game, basketball game, or student performance.

About the School District

Leland Public School is a K-12 small school setting with a world class educational program. For more information visit Leland Public School online.

Lake Leelanau

The unincorporated village of Lake Leelanau is located at the Lake Leelanau Narrows, a waterway that connects the north and south portions of beautiful Lake Leelanau, an 8,320 acre lake that is a favorite destination of boaters, fishermen and beach lovers. The area features rolling hills and valleys that are home to family farms and local vineyards. Restaurants in Lake Leelanau offer everything from gourmet coffees to casual dining to vegetarian meals to take-out Indian food. Pick up fresh fruit and vegetables from local farm stands and farm markets or stop by one of four local wineries. The village is home to many unique shops as well. From the central location of Lake Leelanau, visitors are never far from all that the Leelanau Peninsula has to offer.

What’s Best?

Biking around the lake then stopping into Peddling Beans for a great cup of coffee. Boating through the Narrows and docking near Dick’s Pour House for a bite to eat.

Where to Meet Locals?

At Dick’s Pour House any day of the week. And St. Mary’s on Sundays.

Historical Sketch

Historical Fishtown in Leland, MIHistorical, Cows on the Beach in Leland, MI

Travel north through the Manitou Passage and you’ll arrive at the port town of Leland, where the community has recently preserved the historic site at Fishtown and its commercial fishing industry. Leland was originally founded by lumberman Antoine Manseau, who built a dam on the Leland River to harness its water power for his sawmill. As a bonus, the dam raised the water level behind it, creating Lake Leelanau from a series of fast moving streams and small ponds. In the 1870’s, iron smelters also lined the Leland River, their heat melting the sand around them and creating a blue gemstone called Lelandite. Today the sawmill and smelters are gone but two beautiful lakes and the gemstones found on the beach remain as reminders of another time

Lake Leelanau, originally named Provemont, thrived as a mill town after the Leland River was dammed, for now logs could be floated to their sawmills from anywhere along the shore of the newly created inland lake.