Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
5
Historic Walking AreasNational ParksNature & Wildlife Areas
About
This national park includes a 35-mile stretch of beach on Lake Michigan for swimming plus 13 hiking trails.
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  • ErinMoore
    Columbus, Ohio150 contributions
    Stunning Views!
    Decided to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes while on vacation. I made the mistake of not reading reviews before our visit. The views are stunning but the hike isn't easy. If you have the stamina to hike this, it's a must do. My biggest regret was forgetting my water in the car. We took several short breaks to catch our breath and take photos. Just when you think you're done, you aren't. LOL! We don't have kids but all of the kids I saw, were having a blast.
    Visited July 2022
    Written January 2, 2023
  • Sydney
    Saint Louis, Missouri211 contributions
    Top tier people watching
    If you want to have a good time, go hang out on the observation/overlook deck right above the Dune Climb and just watch people climb their way back up. My friend and I spent at least two hours here, doing exactly that. We had timers going for certain folks, made up names and stories for each person who attempted the Climb, and incredible make believe narration about the people who ditched their loved ones further down. You can't hang out in this part of Michigan without checking out the Dune Climb (or doing it yourself). The massive sign warning about a $3,000 rescue charge makes for a great photo op. But even if you don't have much time, the visitor center is nice and the drive through the park is beautiful.
    Visited August 2022
    Written March 3, 2023
  • Jesus4life72385
    Dry Ridge, Kentucky40 contributions
    Beautiful park!
    We hiked part of the Dune Trail, went on the scenic drive, went to the beach, and our daughter earned her junior ranger badge. This is a beautiful lakeshore. We didn't have enough time to do everything and we will definitely be going back to experience all of it. If you like hiking and exploring nature, this is a great place to do it.
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 8, 2023
  • MB122918
    91 contributions
    Full day of gorgeous views
    Easily could spend days here hiking the trails and stopping to explore each area off the driving path. We had perfect weather for some fantastic views. Definitely stop by the visitor center and ask to watch the short film (which they play on request) as it's very informative about the park and some of the Native history. Just be mindful of your activity level if you decide to do the dune climb - at the overlook (I think it was marked 9 or 10 on a map we got from the visitor center), the dune down to the lake is around 500 feet and almost vertical, with a sign stating a hefty fine if they have to send someone out to rescue you from the bottom. Even the younger, fit people were breathing heavily once back at the top. There are smaller, less steep dunes you can climb throughout the park that are more suitable for those wanting a bit of a challenge.
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 7, 2023
  • Ginger Designer S
    Paw Paw, Michigan10 contributions
    Beautiful intro to a national park.
    The views are spectacular. Climbing the dunes, while outside the park, is worth the little bit of extra time. Such fun. Be sure to do the full tour first before you want to spend time at a particular spot.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 7, 2023
  • Deb C
    Milton, Delaware281 contributions
    Must do Adventure
    This park was so awesome ! Start out by stopping by the visitors center in Empire. Here you can pick up maps, souvenirs and a stamp for your passport book. Chat with the staff there on the highlights of the park based on your interests. We wanted to take short hike so we found out the best trail for that. Drive up the road to the entrance to the park. Each stop is well marked and has parking. The views are breathtaking! To think that the dunes were created from a lake and not an ocean is mind boggling. There was one stop to walk to the top of the dune and look down. A sign informs you that if they need to come down to rescue you the fine is $3000. Steep as the dune going down Every stop is more beautiful than the one prior. Will definitely do this park again
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 25, 2023
  • SnowyShasta
    Portland, Oregon2,120 contributions
    Plenty of scenery
    We enjoyed our visit to this National Lakeshore. We were more interested in scenic views and hiking than in a beach visit, so we didn't ever actually go to the lake itself. We started our visit at the visitor center, where there were friendly people and a small giftshop, and we could get maps, advice, and a National Park Passport stamp. We also picked up a brochure for the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which showed each stop and give a short description - this drive was one of our favorite activities that we did at the park. The area is a bit spread out along the lakeshore, which makes sense, but there was plenty of parking as we drove around to the various places we wanted to see. This was our first visit to a National Lakeshore (there are only 3 of them) and it definitely met our expectations and then some.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 30, 2023
  • Capt R
    67 contributions
    Rated # 1 scenic place in the U.S. and they were not kidding.
    We have seen this Lakeshore from the water on boat trips coming across the Lake from Wisconsin but never came here by vehicle. We drove here from northern Wisconsin where we live with our van camper and enjoyed 4 great days in this park. The scenery and overlooks are spectacular! Just driving the roads in the park and in nearby areas is worth it. We camped at Platte River Campground and DH Day campground. Platte River is an exceptional campground and if we ever go back would spend the whole time there. Nice private wooded sites and first class bathrooms and facilities. One could easily spend a week here. Nearby Glen Arbor is a really nice village with stores and restaurants worth checking out. Make sure to visit historic Glen Haven and tour the village there and museums.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 29, 2023
  • Mindy
    Louisville, Kentucky29 contributions
    Great hiking
    We went for the hiking and were not disappointed. It snowed while we were here, which we were thankful for, we love a good snow hike. Also, minimal people, only encountered three other people on the trails. If you like hiking I strongly recommend the Dune Climb, it was awesome!
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 7, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Mike
Cleveland, OH117 contributions
Sep 2020
Definitely worth the stop and the hike. The hike to the lakeshore of Lake Michigan was long exhausting and we were not prepared - definitely make sure you bring water. Hiking through the sand was challenging but the beach was beautiful and peaceful and the views along the way were great!
Written September 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bill T
Columbus, OH360 contributions
Aug 2020 • Family
Short synopsis. Climb a sandy hill, see sand. Repeat.

That said, it's magnificent. We started at the dune climb. It's certainly not an easy climb, and the trail and subsequent Dunes are also moderately difficult. If there's any chance you are going to take the trail, make sure to bring water. Don't just look at the map and think it's super close to Lake Michigan. We walked 45 minutes then met someone who said we were a third of the way there. Granted, we were doing a lot of stopping and picture-taking. Not thinking we'd want to do the whole trail, we left our water in the car. So that ended any hope of changing our minds.

Don't be daunted, though. People of all ages, including small kids, were managing fine. At least the first few hills and valleys.

If you just want to go far enough to get a good view of Lake Michigan do 3 or so hills and plan an hour or so round trip. We did about twice that and the view didn't change that much.

Pro tip. You can follow the blue-tipped posts that mark the trail and at one point it goes down and to the left. That flattens out (some) one of the bigger hills.
Written August 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EvalKnievel
Boston, MA115 contributions
Jul 2022
First time in Northern Michigan, and this was a real highlight. We were lucky to have had a day of rain in the middle of our trip, which made the sand hard enough to climb down (and, especially, back up) to Lake Michigan. Whole family enjoyed this -- multiple cousins, ages 6 to 15 plus adults. For those of us not from the midwest, Lake Michigan looks like the Caribbean because it's so huge and blue!
Written September 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RoTripper597
Chicago, IL254 contributions
Sep 2020
Parked at the sleeping bear dunes 'big dune' parking lot. Took the paved 2 mile trail to the right of the dunes all the way to glen haven (old historic town and beach area). Dune was very popular, people of all ages climbing it. It was fun to get to the top of the first peak, but you'd need some endurance to continue all the way to the lake. Bathrooms and soda machine near the parking lot. Bathroom also by Glen Haven. Seemed to be a popular biking spot as well.
Written September 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

I AM Clearly Crystal
Michigan20 contributions
Jul 2022
The lakeshore is beautiful with the different colors of blues and greens. The walk up the sand dunes at Sleeping Bear is doable...but the lakeshore is miles from that sand dune. Along the scenic drive is more sand dunes with the lakeshore in plain view. Those sand dunes have a pretty steep incline. The sign reads if you need to be rescued it is a $3,000 dollar fee. No joke on the work out there.
Written September 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jencbus
Columbus, OH12 contributions
Jul 2020 • Couples
The only scenic drive, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, is closed for all summer construction per the surly ranger we spoke to. No boardwalks, half the exhibits St the visitor center were out of order. No way to actually see the dunes. Big disappointment
Written July 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wendy O
40 contributions
Jun 2021 • Couples
If you are anywhere near Sleeping Bear and have even just an hour to spare, you must use your National Park Pass or purchase one to enter and drive Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to visit any or all of the 12 points along the way. Starting with the Covered Bridge, Dune Overlook, Lake MI View and Sleeping Bear Overlook is totally worth the easy walk to each point. Rest rooms available along the way. Will do this again!
Written June 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dreamspeaker
Middleton, WI460 contributions
Jul 2022
This area is just unbelievable. I thought I had grown up around dunes, having grown up in Door County (favorite beach there, Whitefish Dunes, had dunes but NOTHING compared to this!). Clearly, I had no idea how big they could get.
Between insanely large sand dunes (both grass covered ones inland, and bald ones by the lakeshore), and azure water on a sunny day, this was just stunning.
We did the scenic drive, then drove to Glen Haven and the Maritime Museum. The scenic drive has a large pullout. If you don't stop here and walk down the sandy path to the "Lake Michigan Overlook", you will miss the largest dune. We stayed here I don't even know how long until we could feel our skin burning in the sun and had to leave. All three of us (two adults and a teen) agreed watching people on the huge dune was a highlight of our trip to Michigan.
Glen Haven was very busy, but cute looking. The lifesaving station at the Maritime Museum is interesting, but better yet is the path that leads to the beach there.
With some sunscreen, I could have stayed here much longer than our day allowed for.
Written July 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M E
Cincinnati, OH7 contributions
Jul 2020
We visited Sleeping Bear Dunes for the first time and it was beautiful. We really lucked out on great weather so that made it even better. There is so much to see and do and we only had a couple of days. Unfortunately the Pierce Stocking drive was closed due to construction but we did part of the dune climb. We weren't sure what to expect and that is quite the hike. We also hiked up to Pyramid Point and that view is stunning. We also got to take in the beach at Glen Arbor and stroll around in that cute little town. There really is so much more to see and do and I hope to visit again to explore the area some more.
Written August 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bellatako
Nashville, TN1,845 contributions
Aug 2020
The scenic drive is currently closed. There is an area where you can climb the dunes and it’s worth a visit. But dogs are not allowed. We made a big effort to get to the dunes - not sure I would if we’d known the drive was closed and we knew dogs couldn’t go up the dunes.
Written August 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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