Empire's Best Kept Secret ...

Hint:  It's where the surf meets the sand and starts with the letter "b", as in beach.

So why am I writing about a beach in December?  In Michigan?  Well, it's less crowded for sure.

Seriously, Empire's Lake Michigan Beach is the jewel of the Leelanau peninsula, and is perhaps the best beach in the state, and beyond.  I'm a little biased, but its hard to match its scenic beauty, white sand, crystalline water, kid's play area, proximity to town and more.

You actually get two lakes for the price of one, with little South Bar Lake across the parking lot from the big Lake.

And if you're up for a winter hike (moderate to strenuous), there's no better place to start.  

Head north along the beach for about 45 minutes and discover the secluded North Bar Lake with its channel to Lake Michigan.  Or go south along the beach about 1.5 hours to picturesque Otter Creek which also flows into the big Lake.

This time of year, you probably won't see another soul in either direction.

Try to pick a day that's not too blustery.  The south trek can be rocky, so wear your hiking boots.  And keep your eyes open for Petoskey stones!

This stretch of coastline, amidst towering dunes and roiling waves, has been described as "achingly beautiful."  

It's true.

See You Up North,



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