M-22 is more than just a road. It is a symbol of Northern Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Leelanau Peninsula, and summer vacation. Winding its way through small shoreline towns, along massive dunes, over scenic vistas of Lake Michigan, through native forests, and past wineries, shops, and galleries, M-22 is one of the most scenic drives in America. For decades, M-22 was a well kept secret of those who vacationed in the area and those lucky enough to live in Northern Michigan. In recent years, however, the area has received national attention from media outlets like the Good Morning America, the New York Times, the New York Post, and Bloomberg. In 2011, Good Morning America named Sleeping Bear Dunes the Most Beautiful Place in America, beating places like Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. Bloomberg proclaimed in 2012 that Leelanau Peninsula, through which most of M-22 winds, is the new Hamptons.In 2015, USA Today named M-22 the Best Scenic Fall Drive in America.
As a result, M-22 and its surrounding towns and attractions have seen a large boost in tourism and popularity. The whole area through which M-22 thrives with visitors from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Families from around the world make a summer vacation pilgrimage “Up North” to take in the area’s hiking trails, fishing spots, campsites, beaches, dunes, shopping, bars, restaurants, golf courses, and scenery. In late September and early October, summer heat and humidity gives way to crisp, cool fall days, and visitors return to watch the forests of maple, birch, elm, and oak trees turn from summer green to fall orange, yellow, and red. In winter, Lake Michigan fuels lake effect snowfalls that make the M-22 corridor a great place for skiers and snowmobilers.