We got to the boat launch at Victoria Creek Community Park in Cedar and put in, and I settled back for a lazy ride down the slow-moving waterway, eagerly anticipating the flash of a kingfisher or a glimpse of a turtle sunning itself on a log. But as we began to move downstream, it was neither of those that grabbed my attention, but the melodious sound of polka music.

Thousands of visitors flock to Leelanau County each year, many of them attracted by big draws such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. But while nothing compares to the delight of bounding down the Dune Climb after a sweaty trek uphill, or taking in the pristine view of the Manitou Islands from a sugar sand beach, there are plenty of lesser-known places in the county to have fun, too. Two of these places are sister communities Maple City and Cedar.