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Take a Day Trip in Benzie County

The state’s smallest county packs a big punch with dozens of outdoor adventures at your fingertips, farm-to-table restaurants, and plenty of Lake Michigan shoreline.

How to Get There

Take US-31 south and then west, passing through Interlochen. You can also use M72 and M22 to come down along the coast.

What to Do

  • The adventure begins with a stop at The Red Door Coffee House in Lake Ann for muffins, scones, and a cup of joe.
  • Fueled up and ready to go, you’ll take a quick jaunt north to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which crosses over from Leelanau County into Benzie. Try the Platte Plains trail, with multiple loops and several views of Lake Michigan. For those who want to get on the water, nearby Crystal Lake and Platte Lake offer beautiful kayaking, canoeing, and SUPing.
  • Hope you’re not too hungry yet, because there’s one more stop before lunch: Point Betsie Lighthouse. Established in 1858, the lighthouse offers tours and has a museum and gift shop to explore.

Point Betsie Lighthouse

  • Lunch in Frankfort is a must, but choosing where to go is no easy task! Birch & Maple offers scratch-made delicacies like Croque Monsieur and Michigan Cherry and Kale Salad, plus breakfast goodies served most of the day. Dinghy’s is a mellow bar and smokehouse perfect for a casual bite. And the Hotel Frankfort Restaurant transports you to a romantic, seaside dining experience in a historic property.
  • Stretch your legs after the meal with a walk through downtown Frankfort, or pop across Betsie Lake to Elberta for another charming small town experience.
  • If you’re traveling with the kiddos, stop in at COGnition in Beulah for interactive science exhibits sure to entertain all ages. Adults can keep heading toward Thompsonville to play nine holes or relax with a spa treatment at Crystal Mountain Resort.
  • It’s five o’clock somewhere—and probably by now in northern Michigan. Drinks at Iron Fish Distillery provide the perfect happy hour experience.
  • At last: dinner. On your way back to town, pop over the Benzie border into Interlochen for a meal at Hofbrau Steakhouse. With more than 50 beers on tap and prime cuts or yummy hand-tossed pizzas to choose from, this the cherry on top of a busy day.

Bonus Ideas

Looking for more hiking? Arcadia Dunes sits at the southern edge of Benzie County with almost 20 miles of trails and incredible overlooks of Lake Michigan. And if you find yourself in Frankfort in the evening, Stormcloud Brewing Company can’t be missed for beer, summer food trucks, and more.

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