Leelanau ~ "Land of Delight"
Leelanau is a peninsula located in the northwest, lower corner of Michigan - often times referred to as the "pinky finger" of the mitten-shaped lower peninsula of the state. The County encompasses the entire peninsula.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a unit of the National Park Service, is located on the west side of the peninsula and encompasses some 70,000 acres and 35 miles of Lake Michigan's eastern shoreline including the Manitou Islands. Viewers of ABC's Good Morning America voted Sleeping Bear Dunes as the "Most Beautiful Place in America" in 2011.
The Leelanau State Park is located at the northernmost tip of the peninsula and is marked by the Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Grand Traverse Bay is on the east side and Traverse City is located at the base of the peninsula to the east. Two sets of islands, North and South Manitou and North and South Fox, are located to the north and west and are considered part of the County.
History of Leelanau
The Native Americans that first settled in Leelanau called the land "ke-ski-bi-ag", which means "narrow body of water". The lake itself was called "lee-lan-au", which means "delight of land". An Indian agent, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, is known for formally naming the county and is said to have used the name "Leelinau" for some of the Native American women in his tales.
Leelanau Peninsula Today
Leelanau is a highly desirable area to live and vacation. Residents and guests enjoy four seasons with a climate that is positively impacted by the surrounding Lake Michigan. The steep terrain and large bodies of water throughout the Leelanau peninsula create a micro-climate that also provides the optimum environment for farming (particularly fruit) and viticulture.
The variety of inland lakes, trails, beaches, and natural areas provide many recreation opportunities. Rolling terrain, quaint villages, and preservation support the ultimate country living - fresh air, open spaces, minimal light pollution, and a slower pace of life. Who can resist?
Traverse City, located within a 30-minute drive from the furthest point in the county, provides the nearest metropolitan area offering quality health care at Munson Medical Center, air service via Cherry Capital Airport, retail shopping centers, a vibrant downtown and a multitude of employment opportunities. Visit here for more information on Traverse City.
#1 Real Estate Team in Leelanau County
Schaub Team Premier Realty provides real estate services for buyers and sellers throughout northern Michigan, specializing in Leelanau County. Tim and Roger Schaub have both been recognized as the Top Realtors in the region since opening their own brokerage in 2018.
The exceptional service provided by the team is described over and again in client reviews and testimonials. For more information on land or houses for sale in Leelanau, click here for a property search.
Leelanau County Facts
Land Area: 348.47 square miles
Population: 21,708 (US Census Bureau 2010)
Villages and Towns: Burdickville, Cedar, Empire, Glen Arbor, Glen Haven, Leland, Lake Leelanau, Maple City, Northport, Omena, Peshawbestown, Suttons Bay
Townships: Bingham, Centerville, Cleveland, Elmwood, Empire, Glen Arbor, Kasson, Leland, Leelanau, Solon, Suttons Bay
Local Government: Leelanau County Government Center
Inland Lakes: There are 39 inland lakes in the Leelanau peninsula. Many are highly desirable areas to live and recreate on. Following is a list of the most popular - Cedar Lake, Davis Lake, Duck Lake, Gilbert Lake, Glen Lake, Lime Lake, Little Glen Lake, Little Traverse Lake, North Lake Leelanau, School Lake, Shell Lake, Shisler Lake, South Bar Lake, South Lake Leelanau
- North Fox Island - 2 miles long and 1 mile wide at its widest point
- South Fox Island - 5.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide
- North Manitou Island - 7.75 miles long and 4.25 miles wide
- South Manitou Island - 3.5 miles long and 3 miles wide at its widest point
Climate: Michigan is blessed with four distinct seasons, all of which are special for their own reasons.
Spring: Residents and guests enjoy an average temperature between 40-60 degrees in the spring. As the snow melts, flowers, leeks, and mushrooms sprout while migratory birds make their way back to the area. Leisurely drives along the countryside will reveal cherry and apple blossoms. Other activities include hiking, biking, enjoy the understory of forests covered with trillium and leeks.
Summer: The unique location and abundance of freshwater and large lakes provide a micro-climate with comfortable summer temperatures that range between 75-90 degrees. Some of the favorite activities include biking, fishing, hiking, swimming, boating, searching for Petoskey stones and sunbathing at the beaches, golfing, shopping, visiting farm markets, cherry-picking and much more!
Fall: Fall marks the transition of summer into winter with a paintbox of colors splashed throughout the rolling terrain of Leelanau. The average temperatures are between 50-60 degrees. Activities include hiking, biking, leaf-peeping, visiting farm markets and orchards, gallery shopping, and wine tasting.
Winter: The micro-climate of Leelanau that provides cooler, less humid summers also typically provides us with ideal conditions for lake effect snow to enjoy many outdoor activities. The average temperature is 0-30 degrees. Hobbies include cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, fat tire biking, enjoying a box office movie at a historic theatre, and cozy up by a fire with a hot chocolate, glass of wine and a local book.
Precipitation: Leelanau experiences an average of 33 inches of rain per year (that's 6 inches less than the national average of 39 inches). Winter typically leaves 127 inches of snow.