In a state known for its spectacular sand dunes the Sleeping Bear Dunes shoreline stands head and shoulders above the others. The national lakeshore is best known for its spectacular perched dunes—sand dunes that formed at the top of a bluff—that tower 450 feet above Lake Michigan. People young and old—mostly young—like to run down the steep drop-off at Lake Michigan Overlook into the water below. Getting down the embankment is easy. Getting back up can take hours, is will test your endurance. We don’t recommend it.
Entry into the Sleeping Bear Dunes is via Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, a paved route that twists and turns through tunnels of hardwood. Scenic pull-offs offer opportunities to get out and shoot spectacular dune vistas from above the trees. The best two are called Dune Overlook and Lake Michigan Overlook. This lovely dune drive is worth the price of park admission.
Other popular activities at the Sleeping Bear Dunes include hiking trails, from the flat, Good Harbor Bay Trail to Sleeping Bear Point Trail, a strenuous 3-mile hike over dunes out to a Lake Michigan overlook. Several campgrounds dot the park as do half a dozen beautiful swimming beaches.
Although the Sleeping Bear Dunes are most popular in summer, they’re also beautiful in winter. Cold-weather visitors can cross-country ski certain trails, ice fish the inland lakes and snowshoe anywhere in the park.