Explore the top “Must See Manistee Sights”
Each year the Manistee County Tourism Team updates their top 10 sights list. This year, we have outlined these top ten sights you will want to check out on your visit to Manistee County. Be sure to visit and share on our social channels : #MyManistee
Scenic Air Tours
Lake Michigan Sightseeing from the Manistee Airport at only $40/person for a 30-minute ride – Get Directions
Is it your first time visiting Manistee County, or have you been vacationing here for years? Either way, you have probably not experienced the beauty of Lake Michigan from the air. Thanks to our local airport and the scenic airplane tours that are offered by Orchard Beach Aviation, visitors can experience the rolling sand dunes along our county’s west shore.
Not only will you view the communities and shoreline from the air, if the weather is right, you may be able to spot one of the many shipwrecks along our coastline. During the summer, flights are available most days from 10am – 6pm.
Arcadia Area Historical Museum
A unique look back at the history of Manistee County – Get Directions
Manistee County is rich in history. Entering any one of the eight museums located in the county will be a history lover’s dream. Housed in a beautiful Victorian home built in 1884 by Howard Gilbert, the Arcadia Historical Museum contains interesting artifacts of Arcadia and Manistee County. Some exhibits housed in this unique village museum include displays on lumbering, railroads, the history of Inspiration Point, shipwrecks and early aviation pioneer Harriet Quimby.
WHAT TO KNOW:
Where: 3340 Lake Street, Arcadia MI
When: End of June Thursday-Saturday 1-4 p.m. | Sunday 1-3 p.m.
Little Mac Suspension Bridge
The largest wooden suspension bridge in the Lower Peninsula – Get Directions
In the early 1990s, planning began for this suspension bridge to become part of the 11-mile trail project to help create the Manistee River Trail.
Affectionately called “Little Mac” after the much, much larger Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, this foot bridge is a 245‘ pedestrian-friendly span that was completed in 1996 by the U.S. Forest Service and Consumers Power Company.
Just a short distance from the suspension bridge is Hodenpyl Dam, which is part of Consumers Energy’s network of 13 hydroelectric dams in Northern Lower Michigan.
WHERE: Set your GPS coordinates to 44.365527, -85.826411 to find the suspension bridge.
Iron Fish Distillery
Michigan’s first full line farm distillery in Thompsonville – Get Directions
Bring the family to Michigan’s first farm distillery, where spirits including vodka, gin, rum and whiskey are produced, distilled, bottled and barreled on site featuring soil-to-spirit estate releases.
This awesome distillery is built on an abandoned 1890s farmstead. In 2015, ground was broken for the new business which has become a highlight of the Thompsonville area.
The cozy, year-round tasting room in view of the distillery offers free tastings. Try the wood-fired oven cuisine and farm-to-table fare, and enjoy seasonal outdoor seating, a heated indoor patio, year-round fire pit, plus yard games and a historic barn event venue. Make sure to stop by or book a tour in advance.
14234 Dzuibanek Rd.
Thompsonville, MI 49683
First Street & Fifth Avenue Beach
First Street Beach: One of the largest beaches and recreation areas. Douglas Park has multiple baseball/softball diamonds, basketball courts and tennis courts. Dogs have their very own fenced in dog park on the south side of the First Street Beach parking lot and dedicated dog beach on the waterfront below the observation deck near the Lions Pavilion. There are separate picnic areas with charcoal grills available.
Fifth Avenue Beach: Considered to be one of Manistee’s most beautiful beaches, this great spot is ideal for those looking to walk the beautiful North Pier.There are also abundant amenities like a playground, shelter house, plenty of covered eating areas and a walking path to the water’s edge.
Little Manistee River Weir
Manistee County’s DNR operated fish harvest facility – Get Directions to the Weir
The Little Manistee Weir is an egg-take and salmon harvest facility which is operated by the Fisheries Division-Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The weir is used to block fish on the Little Manistee River in the spring and fall of the year. Steelhead eggs are taken in the spring and chinook salmon eggs are taken in the fall at the Little Manistee weir. The eggs taken at the weir are sent to State Fish Hatcheries where they are raised and stocked all over Michigan. Eggs are also supplied to several other states. This is also a great spot to drop into the Little Manistee River for a gentle tube or float down to Old Stronach Bridge. The float takes about two hours and is a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. When the salmon are running you will have them swim right up alongside your boat.
Perhaps Manistee County’s most unique attraction – Get Directions to the Arcadia Overlook
As you are driving north through Manistee County on the beautiful Scenic Highway M-22, you will find yourself “on top of the county” when you reach the Arcadia Overlook (known by some as “Inspiration Point”). When you travel through the quaint town of Arcadia, you will find yourself at zero elevation, right on the water. Within minutes you will feel your ears pop and hear your vehicle kick into overdrive as you make your way up the 370′ climb to the parking area at the Arcadia Overlook. Now, if that isn’t enough of a view for you, hopefully you have your walking shoes on.
Climb 120 steps (a little over 80 vertical feet) and you will find yourself perched on the highest point in Manistee County. As you reach the top deck, you will be rewarded by a view that takes your breath away. As you gaze south towards Arcadia, you will see the piers in Arcadia and Onekama. On a clear evening, you will be able to see all the way back to the Manistee Harbor and the glowing beacon found in the North Pier Lighthouse.
This rest area & scenic overlook is visited by tens of thousands of travelers each year looking to pause, reflect and enjoy the simple beauty of Manistee County’s natural landscape. There are also picnic tables and charcoal grills available for use so you can take in the landscape while enjoying time with family and friends.
Be sure to bring some spare change and take advantage of the observation telescope located at the top to get a better view of the world below.
Stroll the banks of the scenic Manistee River with this 1.75 mile walk – Recommended start for the Riverwalk
Courtesy of the Manistee County Historical Society, the 1.75 mile south Riverwalk that runs along the Big Manistee River through the heart of Downtown Manistee contains 25 historic markers/plaques that educate, illustrate and intrigue. These 25 markers highlight the history of the region and the importance the Manistee River played in the foundation of the community. Each marker contains historic photos and additional information about the buildings and sites that once existed. The map below outlines the approximate location of each marker.
We also encourage you to walk the 1.75 mile Riverwalk, where informational plaques outline the history of our industrial boom along the Big Manistee River.
For the complete historic walking tour, click the following link – Walking Tours
Over three years ago, the Manistee County Visitors Bureau, local stakeholders and individuals who value the prized historic assets in the region, came together to discuss how to bring this rich history to all who visit the area. After detailed planning and countless hours of research by the Manistee County Historical Society, we are pleased to present this comprehensive self-guided tour booklet, featuring over 100 area sites. It is funded by the Manistee County Visitors Bureau and a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Business Enterprise Development Grant.
The sites listed include structures still visible today, however, this does not diminish the importance of people and events that are not included. For instance: The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians have populated this area for centuries; the Stronach family is credited with starting the first sawmill in the area in 1841; Manistee County has a vibrant agricultural history; the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871 also devastated portions of Manistee County and the State of Michigan.
Natural Wonders Tour
A fun, unique tour around Manistee County – Check out the Natural Wonder Tour
Traverse the shores of Lake Michigan and explore our Natural Wonders. These nine sites were selected as part of this year’s Natural Wonders Tour because they have an amazing story that we want to share with you . From the artesian wells in Onekama, to the picturesque views atop Old Baldy, we take you on a walk, hike and drive through Manistee County.