The northern portion of Leelanau County is not a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes but is a beautiful area with enjoyable things to see and do. To experience several parts of it, pack or buy a picnic lunch and drive north from Glen Arbor on M-22 about 28 miles to Northport. At a leisurely pace, the drive will take about an hour.
Once there, take M-201 out of town and turn right onto CR-629 and follow it about 6 miles to the entrance of Leelanau State Park. Tour the lighthouse and museum and then enjoy your picnic in the park or on the beach. When back in Northport, enjoy the shops and galleries. Then head back south on M-22 about 9 miles to Leland and turn right at the main intersection to Fishtown and the harbor. Explore the shops, look at the fishing boats, stand and listen to the water coming over the dam. Maybe have a drink by the water. Visit the shops and galleries. Return to Glen Arbor, about 18 miles, and enjoy a fabulous experience and meal at Whiskers at The Homestead.
You must also drive the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The drive is only 7.4 miles long and there are only five overlooks but you should plan on spending half a day - more if you plan to picnic or watch the sunset. To start, get an interpretive guide at the entrance. The numbered signs along the way relate to information in the guide. They and the intrepretive materials you'll find at every stop will help you understand and enjoy more of the history and geology of this area. The world-class vistas will introduce you to a Michigan you never thought possible. Certainly, that will be your feeling when 450 feet about the water at the Lake Michigan Overlook. They will also show why Congress saw fit to designate this land as a National Lakeshore.
Please drive slowly to increase your own enjoyment and so motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians can also enjoy the trip. Please do not try to bike the drive unless you are an expert cyclist as the terrain is steep, some curves are sharp and heavy traffic is sometimes present. A Lakeshore Pass which costs $10 and is good for 7 days is required.