Glen Arbor vs. Glen Lake

The “Glen Lake Area” refers to the greater area that includes the towns of Glen Arbor and Empire and encompasses Maple City, Burdickville, and the Narrows (the bridge between the two Glen lakes). Glen Arbor is located about 30 minutes west of Traverse City, at the southern border of Leelanau County.

What is Glen Arbor like to visit?

Visiting Glen Arbor is anything you’d like it to be!

Due to the close proximity to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and the getaway appeal of the region, Summer is a busy time. “Shoulder Seasons” offer quieter opportunities for recreation, wine tasting, golf, shopping, dining and and other leisurely activities.

Whether you seek a quiet, relaxing getaway or fill you days with an Itinerary, use our website as a resource for ideas and travel planning.

Tell me about Glen Lake!

With views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, crystal clear aqua colored waters and the scenic hilly landscape and warmer water temperatures than Lake Michigan makes Glen Lake a regional treasure. Glen Lake is Michigan’s 18th largest inland lake. The lake actually consists of two large bodies of water connected by a narrow channel crossed by a bridge (part of the the famous state road M-22), with the larger body to the east being referred to as “Big Glen Lake” and the smaller body to the west as “Little Glen Lake”. The two bodies, collectively referred to as Glen Lake. The lakes empty into Lake Michigan via the Crystal River. Both basins make up 6,265 acres. It’s a deep lake, with maximum depth of 130 feet and 17 miles of shoreline.

Where is the closest airport?

The closest commercial airline airport is Cherry Capital Airport (TVC), located in Traverse City, MI.

Where can I park my vehicle and boat trailer over-night?

There is a parking lot behind the Glen Arbor Town Hall that is available for this a vehicle and boat trailer. The hall is located at 6394 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636 | 231-334-3539

What medical facilities are there?

The closest full service hospital and ER is Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.

The Glen Lake Fire Department, with locations in downtown Glen Arbor and Empire, are equipped to handle medical emergencies on land and water.

There is a Munson Pharmacy located in Empire, MI next to Empire Family Care.

Mark McBride, aka “Doctor Bear”, opened a practice in March of 2018 next to the Martin Company, right in the heart of Glen Arbor, MI (He sees patients on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in Glen Arbor).

How’s the weather?

“Summertime weather” begins in early June with mild temps (60s and 70s) and spans through Labor Day. Average temps in July and August are usually in the 70s and 80s.  While the visiting season winds down here in September, temps often still remain in the 60s and 70s until October.

What is winter like?

Although traffic is quieter than summer, and some businesses are only open seasonally, many local businesses and restaurants remain open during the winter months. During winter, the area becomes a beautiful winter spectacle and an outdoor winter playground for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and downhill skiing, shopping, dining and exploring.

Is the area family friendly?

Of course!  The area is literally nature’s playground with endless options for kids and families including: dune climbs, hikes, swimming, beach play and more.  Glen Arbor has a beautiful playground and outdoor park located just off State Street (across from Cherry Republic), and there are more playgrounds dotted throughout the area.  From shopping to dining options, activities and down-time, this area will leave a wonderful impression on your children for years to come. There is plenty of family friendly recreation to seek (not to mention beach time!)

Visit our list of ideas for Kids & Families.

Is the area couples, singles and LGTBQ+ friendly? 

Absolutely.  There are endless options for couples or singles traveling to the area, looking for a quiet escape.  Explore beaches, trails, a variety of  dining options and more during your stay. Glen Lake is the a great place to recreate, seek peace and reconnect. We are an eclectic mix of people, ranging in ages, cultures and backgrounds. You’ll find yourself at home and welcomed to the area.

Each little town in Leelanau has its own vibe and things to do, so have fun exploring! From Empire to Glen Arbor, Leland to Northport, Maple City to Cedar, Lake Leelanau and Suttons Bay.

Is the area pet-friendly?

Yes!  Look for pet-friendly options when reserving your vacation rental. Or, if you’re just in town for a day, feel free to bring Fido!  We only ask that you pick up after your pet and remember that the sidewalks are busy with lots of people (and other pets), so please be courteous of others. A lot of retailers have water bowls outside to get a drink, just know if it’s a place to eat, pets are likely not permitted indoors.

If you’re exploring within the National Park boundaries, look for signage directing you to pet-friendly trails and beaches.

Where is the closest public pool? 

Northport, MI has the only public swimming pool in Leelanau County. Visit Northport Highlands to learn more. If you’re headed to Traverse City, you may visit the Grand Traverse YMCA with a pass or Membership.


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If you have any more questions, we’re happy to help. Send us an email!