• Empire Bluffs

About Empire and Real Estate Opportunities

The Village of Empire is located approximately 22 miles due west of Traverse City, Michigan at the southwestern corner of the Leelanau peninsula.  The town is nestled inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the area voted by viewers of ABC Good Morning America as the "Most Beautiful Place in America".

Use the map above to view current properties for sale by Schaub Team Premier Realty and other area brokers.  Click the pin for a thumbnail view of the property, price, and address. Click the thumbnail view to go directly to the detailed listing.

History of Empire

Empire was founded in 1851, then established as a Village by E.R. Dailey in 1895.  Dailey was the first Village President and ran the Empire Lumber Company, the area's largest employer. Its name came from a schooner, "Empire", which was icebound in the town following a severe storm in 1865.

Lumbering was the area's main industry.  As forests were cleared, open fields gave way to farming.  Much of the soil was good for growing potatoes and fruit such as cherries, apples, and peaches.  After the last mill burned in 1917, farming became the top industry for the region.  Some farms continue to operate today and have farmstands in-season with the latest harvest for sale.      



Empire Today

Empire is a bustling community that expands with visitors during peak tourism seasons.  The main headquarters for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is also in Empire.  Museum displays and exhibits, an introductory slideshow, souvenirs, maps and park passes may be obtained from the Visitors Center and is a good place to start your visit to the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

The National Park's land spans through the county, but several attractions are right in Empire - notably the Pierce Stocking Scenic DriveDune Climb, and the iconic and often photographed Empire Bluffs Trail.

The beach on Lake Michigan at Empire has a stunningly wide area that separates Lake Michigan from South Bar Lake.  The beach also is home to the Robert H. Manning Memorial Light that was built in 1991.  Empire is also host to several annual events.

Empire Real Estate

Empire is a relatively modest, small community posting 375 year-round residents for a total of 211 households according to the 2010 census.  Much of the land is protected by the National Park Service.  Real Estate opportunities include single family homes, acreage, farms with orchards or hops, and smaller residential neighborhoods near or within the Village limits.


Other Community Information

Schools Near Empire

While there are not operating schools in Empire, families living there will most likely be a member of the Glen Lake Community Schools district offering kindergarten through high school.  The neighboring district is Benzie County Central Schools.

Empire Churches

Empire is home to three small churches of various denominations.  Within a short drive, to neighboring villages, additional churches can be found.

Entertainment & Recreation in Empire

While many consider the natural wonders of the region to be entertainment for the area, there are also great shops, restaurants, and events in Empire. The most notable events are Empire Asparagus Festival, Anchor Day, Empire Hill Climb Revival, Empire Hops & Harvest Festival. Residents and visitors also enjoy boating, fishing, camping, golfing, hiking and more.

Following are some additional resources for information on what do to in Cedar: