About Us

The mission of the Leelanau Outdoor Center is to provide outstanding experiential and ecological learning in the natural environment that promotes the discovery and development of leadership and character.

About Us

The Leelanau Outdoor Center (LOC) was established in 1994 in collaboration with local school teachers who saw a need for quality outdoor and character education. Today approximately 3,000 students from across Michigan attend LOC programs each year.

LOC is located 32 miles beyond Traverse City in Northwest lower Michigan. If you have never been to Leelanau County, you will love our clear blue lakes, fragrant pine forests, and rolling cherry orchard hills.

The camp property rests on Pyramid Point, a 300 foot bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. It is surrounded to the north, south and east by park land known as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Our western boundary includes 2,500 feet of beach frontage on Lake Michigan. From here, visitors can see the southernmost islands of the Lake Michigan archipelago, the North Manitou shoals lighthouse and shipping passage, and unforgettable sunsets over the water.

Within walking distance of LOC grounds are dozens of trails maintained by the National Park Service. Students hike daily through meadow, field, forest and/or beaver pond habitats. Frequently, they find evidence of local wildlife including whitetail deer, porcupine, fox, hawk and coyote. National Park Service Headquarters and extensive sand dune trails are just 10-15 miles away in nearby Empire and Glen Haven.

Utilizing the resources of our spectacular property on Lake Michigan, the innovative programs at LOC expand education beyond the walls of a classroom. LOC activities are age appropriate and strongly support Michigan state standards for science, character education, and physical activity.


Our vision is to provide a transformative experience that ignites growth in character and a lasting love of the outdoors and our fellow man.

We aim to support and enhance the curriculum at public, private, and parochial schools by:

  • Educating students about the environment in a spectacular outdoor classroom
  • Giving children new opportunities for outdoor physical activity
  • Inspiring students to become stewards of our natural surroundings through positive outdoor experiences
  • Encouraging the development of positive character traits, which enable students to achieve excellence and make valuable contributions in their communities

The real success of LOC can be attributed to the staff. The LOC counselors are loving, enthusiastic, patient, and fun. Our well-trained staff understand character is vital to success in all avenues of life. Labels and stereotypes are completely challenged when students arrive.

The LOC facilities and natural setting support our distinct educational philosophy, and allow for a safe, unique, and rewarding experience. We are set on 220 acres abutting the Lake Michigan shoreline in the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This gorgeous location produces a natural outdoor classroom students will remember.