Very often the Village of Empire Lake Michigan Beach Park is rated the best beach in Leelanau County. This beach is actually two beaches. There is a swimming beach on South Bar Lake on one side of the parking lot. This beach is enjoyed by youngsters for whom the Lake Michigan waves may be too much and then on the other side of the parking area is the Lake Michigan Beach. Parking at the beach is limited but alternative parking is available up in the village at Johnson Park.
During the non-swimming months the beach is great for hiking down to the Empire Bluff and for viewing the Sleeping Bear Dune. The beach area with its west views is also noted for its sunsets.