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Sprawled across a 35-mile stretch along Michigan's northwestern coast, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an ideal outdoor destination. Beaches, towering bluffs, and wealth of coves and lakes make it a must-see.
Found along the northeastern coast of beautiful Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore preserves over 35 miles of tranquil shoreline – attracting roughly over one million visitors each year.
Weather permitting, exploring the plethora of beaches – including Platte Point, Peterson, and Esch Road beaches – has proven to be a popular pastime among visitors.
The lakeshore park is just short drive from towns like Traverse City and Beulah – effectively coupling convenience with an abundance of outdoor recreation, sight seeing, and lakeside adventure.
Other landmarks at Sleeping Bear Dunes include the U.S. Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum, Cannery Boathouse, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, and more.
Put together your travel itinerary for a visit to Michigan's northern region and be sure to include a day of fun at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Established in 1970, Sleeping Bear Dunes is found west of Maple City, and directly north of Beulah. You can easily access the park with a drive along State Route 109, or as it's better known to locals, the Dune Highway. Sleeping Bear Dunes is bracketed by Glen Lake to the east, and Lake Michigan to the west. The northern ridge of the park yields access to Sleeping Bear Bay.
While entry into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is open year round, the facilities within feature a variety of operating hours. The Philip A. Hart Visitor Centerfeatures summer hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the rest of the year it's 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – no service on major holidays. The Sleeping Bear Point Maritime Museum is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
One day-trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore might not suffice – there's so much to see and do there, you may need two or three repeat visits. From the visitor centers to the beaches, and lighthouse tours to exploratory hikes along designated trails, you're sure to find just the ticket at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Start your day at Sleeping Bear Dunes with a tour of the Glen Haven Village. You'll be transported to an era long gone – see what the area was like when docks and small villages provided fuel and goods to steam boats traveling the Great Lakes.
You can peruse the Glen Haven General Store, check out the Cannery Boathouse, and don't miss a peek inside the Blacksmith Shop – it's staffed with volunteers who conduct metal working demonstrations from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Don't miss your chance to see and tour two historic and impressive lighthouses at Sleeping Bear Dunes – the Frankfort Breakwater Lighthouse, and Point Bessie Lighthouse. Guided tours vary by season, so be sure to check the schedules at the visitor center.
The Port Oneida Rural Historic District is a charming respite from the beach – enjoy a pleasant horse and buggy tour around the grounds, explore historic buildings like the Eckhert Farmhouse and Carsten Burfiend Farmhouse.
Those looking for a hiking adventure are sure to find the ideal trail. Sleeping Bear Dunes NL is home to 13 designated trails, totally roughly 100 miles. Some of the premier, must-hike trails include Empire Bluff, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, and Windy Moraine. During the winter months, they trails become ideal destinations for a day of snowshoeing.