Photo tour of historic Fishtown

Travel fewer than thirty miles north of Traverse City, Michigan, to historic Fishtown in Leland and be transported more than a hundred years back in time.

The Great Lakes have a strong maritime culture and a long history rooted in the fishing industry. These traditions are preserved in Fishtown, an historic section of the town of Leland, in the form of fishing shanties, docks, and smokehouses. The shanties now house shops and galleries, but walking along the docks, one can really get a sense of all the history flowing through the Leland River out to Lake Michigan. Today, Fishtown is still a thriving fishing community and working waterfront, serving as home to a good number of charter boats.

Fishtown is a living history lesson and allows for a bit of time travel (no flux capacitor required). Add that to the potential for some awesome fishing on Lake Michigan, and Fishtown is a must-visit for me whenever I’m in or near Traverse City. Whether you have never been or have visited several times, I hope my photos provide you a glimpse of this significant part of Great Lakes maritime history.


Carlson’s Fishery

Dock & shanties

Dock & shanties



Leland River flowing out to Lake Michigan

Leland River flowing out to Lake Michigan

Leland River & dam

Leland River & dam

If protecting a place like Fishtown is as important to you as it is to me, you may make a donation to the not-for-profit organization, Fishtown Preservation.

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10 Responses to Photo tour of historic Fishtown

  1. @mrsoaroundworld December 22, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Looks like a very sweet little town 🙂
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted…The Luxury Travel Blog Network – December 2013 EditionMy Profile

  2. Leah December 22, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    I’m interested in knowing more about the “fine wine cheese sandwiches.’ I’m a fan of all those things. 😉
    Leah recently posted…Hong Kong Market Hopping with Kensington ToursMy Profile

  3. Lance | Trips By Lance December 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    This will definitely be destination for us when we make our way to Traverse City. Looks like a good side trip.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted…Celebrating Christmas Travel TraditionsMy Profile

  4. Traveling Ted December 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Never heard of this place. Although something about the place seems a little fishy, I definitely would love to check it out next time I am in the area.
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Khao Yai National Park day oneMy Profile

  5. Raul (@ilivetotravel) December 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    Quaint place! Nice find.

  6. Mike Norton December 24, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    You’d all be more than welcome to visit us in Traverse City — and I’d love to show you around Leland and some of our other neighboring port villages. I’d even be glad to introduce you to Fishtown’s official cocktail, the Chubby Mary: a Bloody Mary that uses a smoked chub (it’s a fish) as a swizzle stick!

  7. lola December 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    digging the shanties. this reminds me of a fishing village on Martha’s Vineyard that i love so much.
    lola recently posted…New York City – One of My Favorite City BreaksMy Profile

  8. pithypants December 27, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    Great photos! Michigan has so much to offer as a destination.

  9. Erin at The World Wanderer December 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    This place looks totally up my alley! Kind of reminds me of Maine. Who knew? I will definitely have to make my way here at some point. 🙂
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted…Music Monday: Holiday Songs.My Profile

  10. Phantom October 9, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

    One of the prettiest places in all of Northern Michigan for sure! <3
    Your pictures turned out great!

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