FAQ

Information relating to commonly asked questions about visiting the Glen Lakes, Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Dunes.


Q: Glen Arbor vs. Glen Lake

A: 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.

junction m22 in glen arbor
Junction M-22 & M-109 Glen Arbor streetview; Photo by Raquel Jackson

Q: What is Glen Arbor like to visit?

A: 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 or browse by category “things to do.” Utilize our website and walking map as a resource travel planning.

Q: Can you send me a Visitors Guide or Walking Map? 

A: We discontinued printing physical Glen Arbor Area Walking Map brochures since we invested into  maintaining more visitor information here on visitglenarbor.com. The Glen Lake Chamber and maintains the Walking Map stations and large printed posters found in Glen Arbor. You can view the Glen Arbor Walking Map here, from any device – wherever you are.

Q: Where are the Public Restrooms in Glen Arbor? 

A: Public restrooms are open May-November from 9am-8pm. Located in the Glen Arbor Garden on Lake Street, between Art’s Tavern and The Cottage Book Shop. Among the garden and benches for taking a break, you can find a kiosk where local businesses can place their cards and brochures for the taking.

Find a water filling station and a restroom in the Glen Arbor Township Park. The park features a playground, outdoor work-out equipment, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, basketball courts, grassy areas, picinic tables, bench swings and pavilions.

Public parking is available. The park is located at the corner of State Street & M-22. Get directions

Q: Public Boat Launch to access Lake Michigan

A: The Township of Glen Arbor maintains the Ramp at the end of Lake Street in Glen Arbor for Seasonal and Commercial Boats to access Lake Michigan. The boat launch is usually put in by the end of May. There is a daily fee of $5. You can place money in an envelope in the locked payment box. The boat launch has a daily fee option of $5.00. Money is placed in an envelope and then in locked payment box.

If you’ll be using a boat all season, consider the $50.00 seasonal pass, which is obtained from the Township Treasurer. View, print and submit a Boat Launch Application and check out the Boat Launch Rules on glenabortownship.com Be safe and enjoy the big water!

public boat launch and access to Lake Michigan in Glen Arbor
Lake Street Boat Launch to access Lake Michigan; Photo by Raquel Jackson

Q: Where can I park my vehicle, tour bus or boat trailer?

A: There is a parking lot behind the Glen Arbor Town Hall that larger vehicles or trucks with trailers. The hall is located at 6394 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636

Please contact the Town Hall Office to see if short term or overnight parking for RV’s and Boat Trailers is available. Call 231-334-3539 and visit glenarbortownship.com

Please do not park in restricted zones or on the sidewalk.

Q: Stroller and Wheel Chair Accessibility in and around the National Park 

A: Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes has accessibility information about each beach and each official trail in the park on their web site, including trail maps showing degree of difficulty and photos of accessibility barriers.

For visitors with limited mobility, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is offering FREE use of the electric Track Chair on the Bay View Trail. To make reservations, go the the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes web site.

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a hard-surfaced, non-motorized, multi-use trail planned to span 27 miles from the northern end of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at County Road 651 to the Leelanau/Benzie County line at Manning Road south of Empire. Currently the trail runs almost 16 miles between Empire and Port Oneida, connecting to park attractions and the town of Glen Arbor along the way. Park your car and use your bike to get around! Trailheads are at Bar Lake Road, Pierce Stocking, Dune Climb, Glen Haven, Alligator Hill, Crystal River, Bay View, and Port Oneida.

glen haven beach; wheelchair friendly public accesses
Beach deck provides access to the Lake Michigan shoreline in Glen Haven; Photo by Raquel Jackson

Sand Wheelchairs are available at the Maritime Museum boathouse and at the Cannery to enable handicapped individuals to enjoy the dunes and beaches. You must present a driver’s license or similar identification. The chair is available on a first-come, first-served basis; we don’t take reservations.

Lake Michigan Beaches are often difficult to use because of deep loose sand. There is a hard-surfaced beach deck with benches at the Cannery Beach in Glen Haven.

Q: What makes the Glen Lakes so special?

With views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Glen Lakes are known for their crystal clear, aqua-colored waters and the scenic hilly landscape that surrounds it. It is a regional treasure. Glen Lake is Michigan’s 18th largest inland lake. The lake 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.

Learn more about the Glen Lake-Crystal River Watershed on glenlakeassociation.com

clear water blue sky and dock photo
Photo of Glen Lake by Angela for LVR

Q: Where is the closest airport?

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

Q: What medical facilities are there?

A: 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” is located next to the Martin Company, right in the heart of Glen Arbor, MI offering massage and chiropractic care.

Enhanced Physical Therapy in the “Village Sampler” center in Glen Arbor offers professional, quality, one-on-one sessions with a licensed physical therapist. Accepting most insurances.

Q: What’s the weather like?

“Summertime weather” begins in early June with mild temps (usually in the 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.

Be prepared for Ticks if you’re enjoying a hike in the outdoors. Learn about Swimmers Itch and how to prevent it, when in shallow water inland lakes.

If you plan to hike the Dunes or hit the beach in the heat of the Summer, put on sunscreen and bring extra water. Medical emergencies can be avoided by knowing your limits and taking care.

Q: What’s it like in the Spring and Fall? 

Spring comes later up here on the 45th parallel, but when it does – it wows. The forest floors become blanketed with Trilliums and wild leeks. Take a drive to see the Orchards flowering in Mid-May. Springtime is a great opportunity to beat the Summer crowds while still enjoying the area’s plentiful varitey of things to do. Seasonal businesses are usually opening by late April.

Fall often brings “Indian Summers” with sparatic hot days with cool nights, with days still good one more dip in the Lake. Fall is a great time for boating, hiking and biking the trails, while wine tasting is at it’s best. Glen Arbor, the Leelanau Peninsua, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes have been named among the best travel destinations, known for it’s Fall Color, stunning vistas and beaches, plus the road M-22 known as a top Scenic Drive in the USA.

In the recent years, you can count on the seasonal businesses staying open later into the Fall, some closeing by end of October while others remain open through Christmas.

Q: What is winter like?

During winter, traffic to the area is minimal and the landscape is transformed by snow and iced over lakes. The region becomes an outdoor winter playground for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and downhill skiing. Although some retailers and restaurants or B&B’s close for the Winter, many local businesses remain open year-round.

Discover our listing of Special Offers & Rates to incentivise your stay.

Q: Is the area family friendly?

A. 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.

Q: Is the area couples, singles and LGTBQ+ friendly? 

A: 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.

Check out Up North Pride, a local organization offering events and community support.

Q: Is the area pet-friendly?

There are some pet-friendly options when reserving a place to stay, but choices are limited.

If you’re just in town for a day, feel free to bring Fido!  Please keep your pet leashed and pick up after them. Remember that the sidewalks are busy with lots of people (and other pets) and streets lined with cars, so please be courteous of others.

Many retailers have water bowls available for your pet to get a drink. If you’re stopping at a place to eat, pets are likely not permitted indoors but may be welcome in outdoor seating areas.

Palmer Woods Forest Reserve includes year-round maintaintained system of trails owned by the Lelanau Conservancy with pet-friendly hiking trails. The site is known for it’s varieity of mountain bike trails.

If you’re exploring within the National Park boundaries, look for signage directing you to pet-friendly trails and beaches, or do some research ahead of time on the best dog friendly locations on NPS.gov

Q: 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!