The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore is located in the northwestern corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. It is a picturesque series of sandy dunes that seem misplaced among all the lakes, vineyards and trees that dominate this part of the state. Shaped by glaciers, the ecology of this area is unique and certainly worth traveling to see.
Having grown up in Michigan, I have many memories of trips taken to the Sand Dunes. This summer, I had the opportunity to take my own children and share with them the beauty and fun of this landmark. The first thing you see upon approaching the park is the largest dune towering over the parking lot. This is known as the Dune Climb, and is quite tall. The sand is soft and difficult to walk in, but it is part of the challenge. Upon reaching the top of the largest dune, you can see Lake Michigan beyond many more smaller dunes. But be warned, and they do with a large sign, that the Lake is much farther away than it appears. Having make the trek to the Lake on one occasion, I can attest to the fact that it takes well over an hour to get there. Children love climbing up the dunes and running down again over and over.
Next to the sand dunes, there are nice bathrooms and ample picnic areas (and seagulls to keep you company). There is camping in the area with all levels of amenities. The cost to enter the park is $10. but this price will get you all around the Lakeshore which extends beyond these dunes and is good for an entire week. When you are finished with the Dune Climb, take a drive around Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and visit the Glen Haven Maritime Museum. All in all, a trip to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore is a beautiful, fun and educational vacation opportunity. For more information, visit their website at http://www.sleepingbeardunes.com/index.php.