- Harbor Lights Resort
- 15 S. Second Street - Frankfort
- Michigan 49635 - United States
- [email protected]
Frankfort is a small coastal town situated in Benzie County, in the northwest part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The town was founded in 1859 by Captain Charles C. Pulcipher, who was attracted to the area's natural harbor and its potential for shipping and trade. Originally named "Frankfort-on-the-Lake" after Frankfort-on-the-Main in Germany, the town's name was eventually shortened to Frankfort.
In its early years, Frankfort primarily served as a shipping and lumber town. The area was rich in timber resources, and the harbor facilitated the transportation of lumber to other parts of Michigan and beyond. The local economy thrived on the logging industry, with several sawmills and wood-related businesses operating in the area.
As the timber resources depleted, Frankfort's economy shifted towards tourism and agriculture. The town's beautiful lakeshore location and natural attractions drew visitors from nearby cities and beyond. People started to visit Frankfort for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming in Lake Michigan. Tourism became a significant part of the local economy, and today, Frankfort remains a popular vacation destination.
Over the years, Frankfort has maintained its small-town charm while adapting to changing times. The town's downtown area features unique shops, restaurants, and galleries, attracting both locals and tourists. The Betsie Valley Trail, a popular biking and hiking path, passes through Frankfort, offering outdoor enthusiasts opportunities to explore the surrounding natural beauty.
Frankfort is also known for its historic landmarks. The Point Betsie Lighthouse, located just north of Frankfort, was built in 1858 and is one of Michigan's most photographed lighthouses. It continues to guide ships along Lake Michigan's shoreline. Another notable landmark is the Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse, which was built in 1912 to protect the harbor.
Today, Frankfort, Michigan, thrives as a year-round community, welcoming visitors to enjoy its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and friendly atmosphere. It remains closely connected to its maritime heritage and continues to be a beloved destination on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Top Tourist Attractions
- Frankfort Beach: Frankfort Beach is a scenic sandy beach located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, picnicking, and enjoying stunning sunsets over the lake.
- Point Betsie Lighthouse: Located just north of Frankfort, the Point Betsie Lighthouse is a historic landmark and one of Michigan's most photographed lighthouses. Visitors can tour the lighthouse and learn about its rich maritime history.
- Frankfort Light and Sound Show: During the summer months, the Frankfort Light and Sound Show takes place at Frankfort Beach. This spectacular event features synchronized music and lights, creating a mesmerizing experience for visitors of all ages.
- Betsie Valley Trail: The Betsie Valley Trail is a popular recreational path that spans over 22 miles, passing through the picturesque countryside around Frankfort. It's ideal for walking, biking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
- Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse: This historic lighthouse is located at the end of a long breakwater pier. Visitors can walk along the pier to reach the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area.
- Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts: This vibrant art center showcases the works of local and regional artists through various exhibitions and events. It offers art classes, workshops, and programs for all ages.
- Downtown Frankfort: The downtown area of Frankfort is filled with unique shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Visitors can explore the charming streets, browse for souvenirs, and savor local cuisine.
- Crystal Lake: Located just east of Frankfort, Crystal Lake is a large, clear freshwater lake known for its recreational opportunities. Visitors can swim, fish, kayak, or simply relax along the shoreline.
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: While not in Frankfort itself, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a short drive away and offers breathtaking natural beauty. It features towering sand dunes, pristine beaches, scenic trails, and stunning overlooks.
- The Garden Theater: This historic theater in downtown Frankfort showcases a mix of independent and mainstream films, as well as live performances, making it a cultural hub for locals and visitors alike.
These attractions highlight the natural beauty, history, and cultural offerings of Frankfort, Michigan, making it an appealing destination for tourists throughout the year.
Frankfort experiences a climate classified as humid continental. Here are some characteristics of the climate:
- Summers: Summers in Frankfort are generally mild to warm. Average high temperatures range from the mid-70s°F (mid-20s°C) to the low 80s°F (around 27-28°C). July and August are the warmest months. Humidity levels can vary but are generally moderate. It is a popular time for visitors to enjoy outdoor activities and the beaches.
- Winters: Winters in Frankfort are cold and snowy. Average high temperatures in winter range from the mid-20s°F (-4°C) to the mid-30s°F (1-2°C). January is typically the coldest month. Snowfall is common, and the area receives a significant amount of lake-effect snow due to the proximity of Lake Michigan. It is a season for winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy activities such as skiing and snowboarding.
- Spring: Spring in Frankfort is a transitional season, with temperatures gradually warming up. March and April still have cooler temperatures, ranging from the 30s°F (around 0°C) to the 50s°F (10-15°C). May brings milder temperatures, ranging from the 50s°F (10-15°C) to the 60s°F (15-20°C). It is a time when nature starts to awaken, with blossoming flowers and trees.
- Autumn: Autumn in Frankfort is characterized by cool temperatures and beautiful fall foliage. September and October still offer pleasant temperatures ranging from the 60s°F (15-20°C) to the 70s°F (around 20-25°C). November brings cooler temperatures, ranging from the 40s°F (5-10°C) to the 50s°F (10-15°C). It is a popular time for leaf-peeping and enjoying outdoor activities in the colorful surroundings.
It's important to note that weather patterns can vary from year to year, and these are general climate characteristics. It's always a good idea to check the local weather forecast before planning any outdoor activities or trips to Frankfort, Michigan.
Here are some key geographical features and aspects of Frankfort's location:
- Lake Michigan: Frankfort is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes of North America. The town's proximity to the lake provides stunning views and access to its beaches and recreational opportunities.
- Betsie Bay: Frankfort is nestled on the shores of Betsie Bay, an inlet of Lake Michigan. The bay provides a natural harbor for boats and plays a significant role in the town's maritime history and economy.
- Betsie River: The Betsie River flows through the town of Frankfort, emptying into Betsie Bay. The river is renowned for its recreational activities such as fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
- Coastal Dunes: The Frankfort area is known for its coastal dunes. These sand dunes, formed by the winds and wave action of Lake Michigan, provide unique ecosystems and scenic landscapes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which includes part of the Frankfort area, features towering dunes and hiking trails.
- Crystal Lake: Located just east of Frankfort, Crystal Lake is a large freshwater lake. Though not directly within Frankfort, it is a prominent geographical feature in the region. Crystal Lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming.
- Hilly Terrain: The terrain surrounding Frankfort is characterized by rolling hills and wooded areas. This topography adds to the scenic beauty of the area, especially during the autumn months when the foliage displays vibrant colors.
- Islands: Off the coast of Frankfort, there are several islands in Lake Michigan, including South Manitou Island and North Manitou Island. These islands are part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and provide opportunities for hiking, camping, and exploring.
The geography of Frankfort, Michigan, with its access to Lake Michigan, the Betsie Bay, and natural features like dunes and rivers, contributes to the town's appeal as a recreational and scenic destination.