M22 Scenic Highway
Enjoy this nationally acclaimed stretch of road. M22 is known for its beauty and is featured in many publications throughout the country. Enjoy this beautiful ride via car, bike, or motorcycle! Stop at any of the wonderful shops, food markets and restaurants along the way!
Leave it all behind and begin to discover Manistee County – a place which will take you back in time. No neon – no billboards – no stop and go lights. It’s morning on M22 and the sun begins to peek through the sky as it rises in the east – just tinting the soft clouds with pinks and lavenders – making the tree tops illuminate their colors– and creating shadowy figures across your road to memories.
The rolling terrain of M22 begins just north of Manistee at the junction of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Little River Casino Resort. Turning westward, the winding road will take you along farmland, corn fields, apple orchards, old schoolhouses, Douglas Valley Winery, B & B's, the magnificent lake shore and the charming coastal towns. White birches will grace the shoulders along your journey. Just off M-22 on Miller Road are Camp Tosebo and the Art Deck Sculpture Garden. As you pass Portage Lake you will be awed by the surrounding hills covered with oak, evergreen, aspen and maple trees. Swans quietly swimming, boats snug in their marinas, sailing regattas, Shays Chop House with its weekly comedy night and live entertainment in the summer and fine dining at The Glenwood, - a true testament of excellence in Manistee County. Then you wind away from the lake to discover farmers’ roadside markets selling sumptuous tomatoes and strawberries. You will come across cherry tree orchards bursting with ripe delicious cherries. Horses and cows laze along in the pastures. Deer and wild turkeys will cross the road with not a care in the world. Artesian wells can be found nestled along the road where you can quench your thirst along your journey. It’s peaceful and serene. Winding around the rich corridor of Lake Michigan you will continue to see the vast expanse of the lakeshore along its sandy beaches; windswept, natural grasses; and breathtaking high dunes. You will pass through towns, some with names that may be difficult to pronounce, but have the history that takes you back to the days when the Indians roamed these towns. Each has a different personality, each town with their own history. Some will boast historic buildings, like the Arcadia History museum, some will tempt you to stop in their village shops with their coastal souvenirs, others will call you to try their restaurants. All will delight you in their simplicity and charm. You will step into the hemlock-hushed forest full of ninety-year-old trees. Then you emerge on the dunes, locally called the North Bluff or Old Baldy. You would have to have a heart of steel not to be dazzled by the magnificent views atop this 300-foot high dune. You will be met by miles of undisturbed hiking trails through vast dunes, this is the perfect way to cap off a magnificent day in Manistee County.
Summer will bring you blue skies, green rolling hills, cherries, blueberries, pure maple syrup, jams and jellies; and fresh vegetables. Wildflowers and cat o nine tails line the sides of the road. The Lake will call to you and seduce you into its blue clear waters. Stop at one of the clean sandy beaches to hunt for beach glass or a petoskey stone. Select a farm and pick your own blueberries.
Fall bursts with color – the hills come alive with vibrant oranges, reds, burgundies and yellows. Pumpkins and cornstalks line the roads and the apples are yours for the picking. There are farm tours, a scarecrow convention and many harvest festivals.
In winter, the pure white snow makes the road, the fields and the hills come alive with even more contrasts, showing the tall pines peeking through the rolling meadows and mounds. Enjoy winter ice fishing on Portage Lake, sled dogs and air boats. Snowmobiles and cross country skiers may accompany you along the roadsides as you make your way up M-22.
In spring, the sunflower fields paint the landscape with bright, vibrant yellows. As the leaves begin to unfurl and the flowers begin to bloom, your heart will soar. Enjoy fishing, hiking, biking and sailing. You might even see our beautiful eagles and hawks soaring above.
This is what the memories are made of – 4 gorgeous season of sights, smells and the wonder of the northern Michigan coastline. Your memories will start here on this beautiful stretch of Manistee County.