Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Travel Guide
The Dune Climb
Probably the most famous aspect of the park. The large parking lot allows you to get up and close with an enormous dune - and see if you can make it to the top. Climbing up a sand hill is no easy task - it takes a lot of power and in the hot sun (and hot sun) can be...
The Dunes Trail - Sleeping Bear Point
After the Dune climb, we decided to tackle one more trail. Actually, just a part of a trail as we were going to head to the first fork in the road and drift down to the beach.You'd think we would have learned how difficult it was to walk in sand by this point, but alas....
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
Continuing north, the next main attraction is the scenic drive. You turn off route 109, and after verifying (or paying) the park entrance fee, you're on your way around this 7 mile route (most of it is one way.)After crossing under a covered bridge, the first overlook is the...
Empire Bluffs Trail
After departing from the visitor center, we were off to find our first hike of the day - Empire Bluffs. Perhaps the most difficult part of this was finding the trail head - we got turned around in the tiny town twice before finally trusting our gut and finding the right...
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
Pick up a self-guided tour map at the Visitor's Center and take the 7.4 mile driving tour which includes stops along the way for overlooks of Lake Michigan, Glen Lakes, and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Hike Sleeping Bear Point Trail
An easy 2.8 mile loop through sand dunes with views of Lake Michigan. $5 per person entrance fee or $10 per vehicle.
Hike: Cottonwood Trail
This trail is an interesting hike that gives a good glimpse over the great dunes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The trail begins, like so many others, from the scenic drive that rings the northwestern side of the park. It winds down slightly, then cuts off to the...
There is a traditional drive through the park, which hits the highlights. It is not too long, and is a good way to breeze through the park if you are short on time. It passes several overlooks, where you can see the immense sleeping bear dunes, as well as the beech forests...
Wander the Beaches
There are miles and miles of coastline within the Lakeshore. Pick a spot, any spot, and enjoy the experience.
Climbing the Bluff
The bluff, which was previously written about by basstbn in his tip titled "playing on the sand dunes", is a hard but awesome thing to climb. There are two ways to get to it. The average person takes the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to the stop where the bluff is located....
Port Oneida Historic District
Port Oneida today is a rural farm district from the 'turn of the century'. The 19th to 20th century. The buildings date from around 1900 and represent the countryside in the early 20th century. There are the Baker, Burfiend, Busch, Eckhert, and Olsen Farms. Along MI 22...
Glen Haven and the Coast Guard
Glen Haven is located at the north end of Glen Haven Road. This is west of Glen Arbor. Here you'll find a restored hotel and shops. Further along, the boat house has been restored and displays water craft used by the Coast Guard and locals over the century. You'll see how...
Take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. It is a twisted road that climbs up and down the dunes. Take is slow and enjoy the views. Oh, the views are at the view points with pakring lots. The rest of the drive is deep in the woods. That's right, these are dunes. Over time, open...
Cherry Republic Grand Cafe: Cherries
If you're not bringing a picnic lunch to the park, you might consider a stop at this place in Glen Arbor. It's about a 15 minute drive from the Dune climb. The cafe is nestled in the center of the Cherry Republic complex. After doing any shopping (and sampling) head over...
Art's Tavern: There's Always Something Good to Eat At Art's
Art's has a special place in almost everyone's heart who's been there. It's a great end-of-the- day on the beach, grab-a-bite place; cold weather hangout and all around fun atmosphere kind of joint that has no pretentions.
Chicken Jalepenio Soup on Wednesday's only. Yum!...
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive: Sunset...
August above the beach (450 feet!)...overlooking the Big Lake...sunset and dreams. Give yourself PLENTY of time to stop and enjoy the various views of the Park. Bring a picnic, if you wish, and sit on at the tables - almost a 360 degree view.
Make sure to end up at the Overlook for sunset.
Dress Code: Bring a sweatshirt and blanket!
Updated Oct 3, 2009
Address: Between Empire and Glen Arbor, Michigan
Don't get burnt!
It gets really hot climbing around in the dunes and not only is the sun beaming down on you but it is reflecting off the sand. That makes it Really easy to get burnt so make sure you wear sunblock (even if it is cloudy!) and if you burn easy, like me, it's not a bad idea to...
Leaves of three - let them be!
I did observe a considerable amount of poison ivy growing along the few paths that we walked, and the unofficial park web site brings attention to its presence. If you are unfamiliar with poison ivy and are not certain you can identify it, check with a park ranger or...
South Bar Lake
If you're in Empire and looking for a break, take the short drive out to the Empire public beach. This is located on Lake Michigan, between South Bar Lake and Lake Michigan. Here is a chance to see nature at it's geologic best. Don't expect the bare rocky slopes of...
South Manitou Island
South Manitou Island is located off the coast of Leland. You'll need a boat or to use the boat service that daily travels out. There is day service, so you can go out and spend several hours visiting the lighthouse and seeing the other sights. There is also a tram that will...
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