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Empire is located on the Lake Michigan coastline and is the southernmost town in Leelanau County. The village was first settled in 1853 and named after a boat that became ice-bound in the harbor in the winter of 1863. With the lumber industry going strong, the little town eventually thrived and today is largely a tourist resort area. Situated in Michigan's northwestern Lower Peninsula, at the base of the Leelanua Peninsula, Empire is the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This area encompasses 35 miles along coast, with rocky bluffs and breathtaking views. It also includes North and South Manitou Islands. The park contains beaches, forests, awesome sand dunes and ancient glacial formations. The Lakeshore also contains an 1871 lighthouse and Rural Historic Farm District. Rangers are always on hand with interesting and helpful information about the dunes, and can give directions for hiking trails, beaches and scenic drives. Many inland lakes in the region offer swimming, boating, fishing and canoeing. If it happens to rain while you're there, visit the Empire Historical Society and one room schoolhouse, and later enjoy dinner at one of the area's fine restaurants - there are always things to see and do in Empire and beautiful Leelanau County - no matter what the weather.

Surrounding areas: Glen Arbor, Michigan (2.5 mi), Maple City, Michigan (10.4 mi), Lake Ann, Michigan (12.2 mi), Beulah, Michigan (12.4 mi), Cedar, Michigan (13.2 mi), Frankfort, Michigan (15.0 mi), Long Lake, Michigan (16.6 mi)

Empire Vacation Rentals

Empire Hotels and Resorts

Hotels & Motels
The HomesteadWood RDG RdGlen Arbor, MI7.0 mi.(616) 334-5000
Leelanau Country Inn149 E HBR HwyMaple City, MI10.4 mi.(616) 228-5060
Best Western - Scenic Hill Resort1400 US 31 HwyBeulah, MI12.4 mi.(231) 882-7754
Crystal Beach Resort222 CTR StBeulah, MI12.4 mi.(231) 882-7229
Harbor Lights Motel15 Second StFrankfort, MI15.4 mi.(231) 352-5614
Crystal Mountain12500 Crystal Mountain DrThompsonville, MI20.5 mi.(800) 968-7686
Park Place Hotel300 E State StTraverse City, MI21.6 mi.(231) 946-5000
Americinn Motel & Suites1614 US 31 NorthTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 938-0288
Baymont Inn & Suites2326 North US 31 SouthTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 933-4454
Econo Lodge1065 M 37 STraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 943-3040
Fairfield Inn By Marriott--Traverse City3701 N County DrTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 922-7900
Grand Beach Resort Hotel1683 N US Hwy 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 938-4455
Great Wolf Lodge3575 N Hwy US 31 STraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 941-3600
Hampton Inn - Traverse City100 US 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 946-8900
Hampton Inn1000 US 31 NorthTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 946-8900
Knights Inn1941 US 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 938-1900
Quality Inn1492 US 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 929-4423
Sugar Beach Resort Hotel1773 N US Hwy 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 938-0100
Sugar Beach Resort Hotel1773 US 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 938-0100
Super 8 Motel1870 N US Hwy 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 938-1887
Traverse Bay Inn2300 N US Hwy 31 NTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 938-2646
Traverse City Courtyard3615 W S Airport RdTraverse City, MI21.8 mi.(231) 929-1800
Bayshore Resort833 E Front StTraverse City, MI22.6 mi.(231) 935-4400
Best Western Four Seasons305 Munson AveTraverse City, MI23.5 mi.(231) 946-8424
Days Inn And Suites Traverse City420 Munson AveTraverse City, MI23.7 mi.(231) 941-0208
Travelodge & Suites-traverse City460 Munson AveTraverse City, MI23.8 mi.(231) 947-5436
Traverse Victorian Inn461 Munson AveTraverse City, MI23.8 mi.(231) 947-5525
Century Farms2421 N Jacobson RdSuttons Bay, MI24.8 mi.(231) 271-2421
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites3536 Mt Hope RdAcme, MI27.5 mi.(231) 938-2600
Sleep Inn And Suites5520 US 31 NAcme, MI27.5 mi.(231) 938-7000

Empire Weather & Climate

The lake effect is quite strong on the northwest area of Lower Michigan near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. This area has a distinct four-season climate, although Lake Michigan helps modify temperatures, keeping them cooler in late spring and early summer, and warmer during late fall and winter. Showers and thunderstorms are common in spring and summer, and precipitation is generally evenly distributed during the crop season of April through September, receiving an average of 17.45 inches of rain during that time. The lake also acts as a giant humidifier, increasing moisture content in the air throughout the year. However, extremely hot and humid summer days are not that common and don't last long in this part of the state. Snowfall varies greatly from season to season.

     Month       High Temp   Low Temp   Rainfall   Ocean Temp 
January 28°F 15°F 2.80 in. -
February 32°F 15°F 1.80 in. -
March 41°F 22°F 2.14 in. -
April 54°F 31°F 2.51 in. -
May 67°F 41°F 2.63 in. -
June 77°F 51°F 2.95 in. -
July 81°F 57°F 2.91 in. -
August 79°F 56°F 3.37 in. -
September 70°F 49°F 4.22 in. -
October 59°F 40°F 3.36 in. -
November 44°F 30°F 3.21 in. -
December 33°F 21°F 2.84 in. -

Empire Map & Transportation

Main viewing image.
Click each thumbnail image to enlarge.
The closest airports in the area are the Cherry Capital airport (TVC) located about 23 miles east of Empire in Traverse City, Michigan, the Manistee County Blacker airport (MBL) located approximately 38 miles south of Empire in Manistee, Michigan, the Antrim County airport (ACB) located roughly 43 miles east of Empire in Bellaire, Michigan, the Wexford County airport (CAD) located around 48 miles southeast of Empire in Cadillac, Michigan, the Mason County airport (LDM) located about 61 miles southwest of Empire in Ludington, Michigan, and finally the Otsego County airport (GLR) located approximately 67 miles east of Empire in Gaylord, Michigan.

Empire Attractions

Amusement and Theme Parks
Funland Amusement ParkShelby TownshipMI84.6 mi.
Water Parks
Michigan's Wild Water Adventure Water ParkMuskegonMI109.3 mi.
Golf Courses
Dunes Golf ClubEmpireMI 
Mistwood Golf CourseLake AnnMI12.4 mi.
Pinecroft Golf PlantationBenzoniaMI12.5 mi.
Champion HillBenzoniaMI13.3 mi.
Crystal Lake Golf ClubBeulahMI14.1 mi.
Frankfort Golf CourseFrankfortMI15.0 mi.
Cedar Hills Golf CourseTraverse CityMI16.6 mi.
Interlochen Golf ClubInterlochenMI18.8 mi.
Veronica Valley Golf CourseLake LeelanauMI20.7 mi.
Arcadia Bluffs Golf CourseArcadiaMI21.1 mi.
Bay Meadows Golf CourseTraverse CityMI22.2 mi.
Crown Golf CourseTraverse CityMI22.2 mi.
Elmbrook Golf CourseTraverse CityMI22.2 mi.
Mitchell Creek Golf CourseTraverse CityMI22.2 mi.
Chestnut Hills Golf CourseBear LakeMI27.2 mi.
County Highlands Golf CourseBear LakeMI27.2 mi.
Ski Areas
The Homestead ResortGlen ArborMI7.0 mi.
Sugar Loaf ResortCedarMI13.2 mi.
Crystal MountainThompsonvilleMI20.9 mi.
Shanty CreekBellaireMI43.1 mi.
Caberfae Peaks Ski & Golf ResortCadillacMI50.4 mi.
Boyne USA ResortsBoyne FallsMI61.1 mi.
Nubs NobHarbor SpringsMI67.4 mi.
Treetops SylvanGaylordMI69.4 mi.
Riverview HighlandsRiverviewMI96.3 mi.
Pando Ski CenterRockfordMI119.4 mi.
Pine MountainIron MountainMI119.9 mi.
State Parks
D H Day State ParkMI5.8 mi. 
Interlochen State ParkMI19.7 mi. 
Traverse City State ParkMI25.4 mi. 
Orchard Beach State ParkMI38.7 mi. 
Dennos Museum CenterTraverse CityMI21.8 mi.(Multidisciplinary)
Zoos and Aquariums
North Eastern Wisconsin ZooGreen BayWI98.4 mi.

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