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Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

Kolkata (Calcutta...
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Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

We are planning to visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes in July. Please advise on which route to choose:

I96W - I75 N - M72W

OR

I96W - US127N - M115N

OR

I96W - I75N - M115N

Thanks.

Bay City, Michigan
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1. Re: Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

Are you going directly to the dunes area, or are you staying somewhere else? Please advise on that first.

Traverse City...
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2. Re: Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

Well, here's my $0.02.

On occasion, we're coming up from the south (Toledo area). So I'll adjust our usual route beginning at the I-75/US23 intersection in Flint.

Normally, we take I-75 north to US-10 west (at Bay City) to M-115 west (near Clare). Since our destination is TC (Greilickville, specifically), we then head north at Mesick on M-37 (or, alternately, pick up US-131 north in Cadillac to M-113 west to M-37 north). If the Dunes is your first destination, you probably should continue on M-115 to M-22 north to the Dunes.

But a couple things: we're usually driving that route late at night, so there's very little traffic to contend with on M-115 which can be crowded with/slowed down by campers during rush periods. Second, our destination is the *west* side of TC, so that route makes the most sense for us. We do occasionally take the US-127 route through Lansing, but only if we hear of construction or traffic headaches on I-75.

If you're headed *just* to the Dunes area, and not to TC or a hotel in Traverse first, then the above route probably makes the most sense. As an additional FYI, I would avoid taking I-75 to M-72 (through Kalkaska) *unless* you're first heading to one of the hotels on the east side of TC (or downtown). Why? Taking M-72 would force you to drive *through* Traverse (which can get really bottlenecked, particularly on summer weekends).

Lastly, you might want to check out this website for updates on traffic/construction issues:

http://mdotnetpublic.state.mi.us/drive/

Safe travels!

Kolkata (Calcutta...
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3. Re: Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

MongoSchwartz, Thanks for the detailed reply. Yes, we are planning to "head" right to the Dunes first. So if it makes sense to avoid Traverse City, we would do that.

Bay City, Michigan
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4. Re: Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

Great info Mongo! And I didn't even have to do any work...lol. Have fun, chak1014!

new jersey
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5. Re: Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

I totally agree with Mango. Above all else, avoid driving through Traverse City in the summer! There is generally so much traffic in the area that the traffic lights just can't keep up and the bottlenecks are tremendous. Please know that the views can be great, and you would surely get a lot of time to look at them while sitting waiting for the lights to change, but these views can't compare to the views found at Sleeping Bear.

Traverse City...
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6. Re: Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

Two final comments, chak1014...

If you're driving up during the evening, keep your eye out for deer and other critters (opossum, fox, etc.) when you're on M-115. We often see them on the stretch between US-10 and US-131,and again from Cadillac to Mesick.

Second, it's also not unusual for us to see state troopers along M-115 as well (again, at night particularly). The speed limit there is 55mph, and after driving a few hours on the interstate and US-10 where the limit is 70, backing down your rate of speed can feel downright slow.

7. Re: Driving to Sleeping Bear Dunes from Metro Detroit

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