Visit Scenic Empire Along M-22 in Leelanau County

Located along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Leelanau County, Empire is about 30 minutes north of Frankfort, and just south of the Sleeping Bear Dunes. A small town of about 400 people, Empire is a destination for fishermen, nature enthusiasts, beach lovers, and ice explorers. Discover Empire Bluffs, which offer the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and even the Sleeping Bear Dunes, just a few miles north of Empire Bluffs. Walk on one of the many trails within the natural area at the south end of Empire. The fall months offer gorgeous color in the woods, and is a great time to hike.

Spring brings a welcome burst of green, trillium through the woods along with morel mushroom hunting. Empire is home to the Empire Asparagus Festival during the month of May, which is a unique celebration of Spring. Visit the Village Park snuggled between Lake Michigan and the long, skinny Bar Lake. Swimming is great in Bar Lake in the summer months, since it is much warmer due to its small size, compared to Lake Michigan. Spring, summer, fall or winter, there's always something to do in Empire!

Manning Lighthouse in the distance

Located in the peaceful Village Park beach in Empire, the Robert H. Manning Memorial Lighthouse was built as a memorial in 1990 for long time resident Robert H. Manning. Mr. Manning enjoyed fishing offshore, and often returned from those fishing trips late at night. He wished to see a lighthouse in the area to aid his navigation, so after his death in 1989, friends and relatives raised funds to build the lighthouse as a memorial. The 38-foot tall lighthouse is the second newest lighthouse in Michigan, and one of three memorial lights in Michigan.

Manning Lighthouse at Village Park beach

Shopping in Empire offers a very eclectic mix of shops that offer virtually all that you need while visiting this beautiful town nestled in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. With a compact and very walkable downtown you’ll find everything from local art, artisan handmade chocolates, gifts and a well stocked hardware & Laundromat. Within a short walking distance of downtown Empire, there are beautiful beaches, the Empire Area Museum, the Manning Lighthouse, good fishing spots, boating opportunities, and so much more, especially for outdoor lovers.

More Leelanau County Travel Information...

Discover More Things to Do Near Leelanau 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: 08-11-2016 02:41 PM ID: 1653