Discover M-22 in Benzie County

inspiration point
Photo by Advantage Marketing
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.
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Ken Scott Photography

M-22 In Benzie County

Benzie County is situated between Manistee and Leelanau Counties, and is a part of the M-22 highway tour. Most people taking the M-22 tour start at the southern most section in Manistee, and work their way north. After exiting Manistee County and continuing up M-22 you'll arrive in Benzie County. Five minutes north of Arcadia on M-22 is the local gem Inspiration Point, a place to take a break from driving and see fantastic views of the Lake Michigan shoreline and surrounding land. It truly is inspiring...the combination of a fresh Lake Michigan breeze and the scenery will take your breath away, especially after making the climb to the top of the stairs!


After taking a break and enjoying the spectacular view, head north on M-22 and in about 15 minutes you'll come across the town of Elberta. Visit the clean beaches along Lake Michigan, try your hand at fishing, and stop at Elberta's Waterfront Park.

Betsie light
Pt. Betsie Lighthouse by


Less than five minutes north and around Betsie Lake, you'll come across the small town of Frankfort. As you head out north of Frankfort, visit the Point Betsie Lighthouse, one of the most famous lights along the lakeshore. If you're looking for a detour or another road to explore, follow the 22-mile Betsie Valley Trail from Frankfort through Elberta, Beulah and Thompsonville...excellent for hiking and biking. It goes east and then south through Benzie County. As you're enjoying your color tour, be sure to stop throughout the towns of Benzie County for their Fall Festival in October.

Friendly, Small-Town Businesses

When you visit a community away from home, it's typical to find yourself eating out, shopping, or looking for things to do. Benzie County merchants are happy to serve you with a smile! So, browse at our downtown specialty stores in Benzie County and nearby. Relax, and enjoy a meal at a local restaurant. Discover the many businesses ready to entertain you, or to provide you with a variety of services.

Quick Links for Benzie County Businesses

Experience the M-22 Color Tour in mid to late October:

Photo by Advantage Marketing
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 traveing 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.

Here is a map of the M-22 route:

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.

Your Scenic Drive Begins in Manistee County

Travel M-22 to Leelanau County

Also See...

Manistee Fall Color Tour
Mason County Fall Color Tour
Oceana County Fall Color Tour

Benzie County is along the route of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour


Discover More Things to Do Near Benzie County...

Things to Do in Leelanau County -- In addition to Fishtown in downtown Leland, be sure to visit some of the other attractions found in Leelanau County.
Things to Do in Benzie County -- In addition to sandy beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the county is home of part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, lighthouses at Point Betsie and Frankfort, and the Betsie Valley Trail for hiking and biking along 22 miles from Elberta to Thompsonville.
Northwest Michigan Activities & Things to Do -- While in Northwest Michigan, visit beaches and lighthouses, antiques, art galleries, casinos and wineries and breweries, and more.
Northern Michigan Activities & Things to Do -- Northern Michigan offers many fun things to do for the entire family whatever the season, whatever the reason!
West Michigan Things to Do -- Check this site out for West Michigan activities in the towns of Manistee, Ludington, Pentwater, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and more.

Last Updated: 08-08-2018 01:11 PM ID: 1639