Capture your family’s cherished moments amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Northern Michigan. When choosing your photo location, remember to consider your family’s hiking abilities and preferences. Here are 10 picture-perfect spots, each with its own hiking level and unique charm:


Sleeping Bear Dunes (Glen Haven): Towering dunes and Lake Michigan create an iconic backdrop. 5 minute walk to some pretty dunes. (Hiking Level: Easy)


Maple Bay Natural Area: This picturesque spot offers a quick 5-minute stroll to the beach. Moments away from Traverse City. (Hiking Level: Easy)
What to Wear Guide for your Northern Michigan Family Photo Shoot


Sleeping Bear Dunes (Empire): Embrace the dunes’ beauty and the glistening lake. Forested trails and 15-20 minute hike to overlooks. (Hiking Level: Moderate)Summer Fun Empire Bluff Trail


Clinch Park & Downtown Traverse City: Blend urban downtown and natural bay views at Clinch Park for diverse family portraits. (Hiking Level: Easy)


Empire Beach: Dock, dunes, and a quaint town make for charming photos. Easy access beach with playground. (Hiking Level: Easy)Playful Moments Airbnb Family Empire


Old Mission Peninsula: Vineyards, orchards, and fall colors for timeless shots. Short hikes and car adventures. (Hiking Level: Easy)


Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive: Covered bridge, overlooks, and tree cover making it a great fall option. A few car stops along a 7 mile loop. (Hiking Level: Easy)


Good Harbor Bay Beach: A picturesque beach with nearby forest in Maple City. Can be busy, so mornings are best. (Hiking Level: Easy)
Best Family Beach Good Harbor Bay Beach


Brown Bridge Quiet Area: Tranquil river and trails for serene portraits. Short hikes through some pretty easy forested trails. (Hiking Level: Easy)


Dune Climb: Epic dune views after an epic climb. Great if your kids have lots of energy. (Hiking Level: Moderate)Family Adventure Session. Should I wear shoes?


Downtown Elk Rapids: Stroll through its quaint streets, enjoy local shops, let the town’s unique character add an extra dimension to your session. (Hiking Level: Easy)
Candid Family Photographer Elk Rapids


Wilcox-Palmer-Shah Preserve: Indulge in the tranquil beauty of this  hidden gem just moments away from downtown Elk Rapids. (Hiking Level: Easy)
Elk Rapids Family Gathering Session


Frankfort Harbor: Rugged coastal beauty, lighthouse, and captivating views. (Hiking Level: Easy)


Before your photo session, take a moment to explore my Family FAQ page for more information. If you have any questions or want to discuss which location suits your family best, don’t hesitate to reach out. Let’s create timeless memories together against the backdrop of Northern Michigan’s beauty. 📸🍂🌄

Josh Hartman – Northern Michigan Family Photographer