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Suttons Bay, Michigan
Village of Suttons Bay
Looking north along M-22
Looking north along M-22
Location within Leelanau County
Location within Leelanau County
Suttons Bay, Michigan is located in Michigan
Suttons Bay, Michigan
Suttons Bay, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Suttons Bay, Michigan is located in the United States
Suttons Bay, Michigan
Suttons Bay, Michigan
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Michigan
County Flag of Leelanau County, Michigan.svg Leelanau
Township Suttons Bay
Founded 1854
Incorporated 1898
 • Type Village council
 • Total 1.28 sq mi (3.33 km2)
 • Land 1.28 sq mi (3.33 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
597 ft (182 m)
 • Total 618
 • Estimate 
 • Density 482.09/sq mi (186.06/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-77600
GNIS feature ID 0639135
Suttons Bay village hall (Michigan)
Suttons Bay Village Hall

Suttons Bay is a village in Leelanau County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 618 at the 2010 census. The village was incorporated in 1898 and is located within Suttons Bay Township.


See also: History of Northern Michigan

The community is named for one of the first settlers of European descent, Harry C. Sutton, who arrived in 1854. He arrived with a crew of woodsmen to supply fuel for passing wood steamboats.

In 1903 the Traverse City, Leelanau, and Manistique Railroad began a route between Traverse City to the South and Northport to the North, stopping at Suttons Bay, as well as Hatch's Crossing, Fountain Point, Bingham, Keswick, and Omena.

Before the turn of the 20th century, four churches had been established—two Lutheran, one Roman Catholic, and one Congregational.

In 1920, Leelanau County voters approved moving the county seat to Suttons Bay, but the move never took place.

Suttons Bay has a school; the sports mascot is a Viking, hence the nickname "Suttons Bay Norsemen."

The town is home to the county's only movie theater, opened in 1946. It is now owned by Bob Bahle, and was renovated in 1977. Its fare consists of unique art house films, and occasionally the theater hosts plays and concerts.

The town has a clothing store that has been owned by one family over four generations called "Bahles." The original store started as a "dry-goods" business in 1876 by Lars Bahle, an immigrant from Norway.

A unique shopping experience can be had in Suttons Bay. From fudge shops, to an upscale kitchen store, to a spice shop and fun science store. It also is home to the largest greenhouse and garden center north of Grand Rapids. (Plant Masters of Suttons Bay)

Suttons Bay is also home to one of the oldest continuously operated food establishments in the entire region. Since 1871, the restaurant has gone through several owners and is currently known as The V I Grill.


Like many other communities in northern Michigan, Suttons Bay relies heavily on tourism to generate revenues for its economy.

Activities include the Suttons Bay Jazzfest and the Suttons Bay Art Festival.

Suttons Bay also is highly embedded in the cherry industry, producing sweet and tart cherries of many varieties. Harvest operations usually take place in mid-July and run into August.

In August 2013, the community held an event to attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for most kayaks and canoes rafted together. The effort followed an attempt a year earlier, which missed the record of 1902 boats set by a group near Inlet, New York in 2011.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.25 square miles (3.24 km2), all land. The town is located on the shore of Suttons Bay, an inlet of Lake Michigan, one of five lakes that comprise the Great Lakes. The town is fifteen miles north of Traverse City, along M-22.

Nearby is a sign marking the 45th parallel north, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. This is one of six Michigan sites, and 29 in the U.S., where such signs are known to exist.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 398
1910 402 1.0%
1920 392 −2.5%
1930 439 12.0%
1940 470 7.1%
1950 485 3.2%
1960 421 −13.2%
1970 522 24.0%
1980 504 −3.4%
1990 561 11.3%
2000 589 5.0%
2010 618 4.9%
2019 (est.) 619 0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 618 people, 273 households, and 175 families residing in the village. The population density was 494.4 inhabitants per square mile (190.9/km2). There were 453 housing units at an average density of 362.4 per square mile (139.9/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 93.7% White, 0.2% African American, 2.8% Native American, 1.1% Asian, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.3% of the population.

There were 273 households, of which 16.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.48.

The median age in the village was 58.8 years. 12.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 3.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 14.5% were from 25 to 44; 29.8% were from 45 to 64; and 39.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 44.7% male and 55.3% female.

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