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“The Dunes Before Sunset”

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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Trekking the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in...
Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Empire
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Owner description: This national park includes a 35-mile stretch of beach on Lake Michigan for swimming plus 13 hiking trails.
Reviewed March 11, 2014

Northwest Michigan, true to its state’s slogan, is pure. Its purity is obvious when standing atop the golden grass-laced, gigantic sand dunes, and looking around, the only thing to behold is beauty. The view in every direction is rich and vivid in color. As the soft, crisp breeze blows against your face, the matchless smell of cedars fills the air around. On one side of the dunes is continuous rolling, verdant-speckled hills, and on the other side there is crystal clear, blue water as far as the eye can stretch. It is possible to be completely content in this spot; content in sitting above the trees for innumerable time. As the hours pass, and the sun begins to slowly dip, the light rays transform all of the surroundings with a golden-filter cast. Suddenly, every last breath is taken and there are no words worthy to describe the scenery.

5  Thank eastlynlovestravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"scenic drive"
in 236 reviews
"sleeping bear dunes"
in 171 reviews
"lake michigan"
in 373 reviews
"visitor center"
in 64 reviews
"beautiful place"
in 77 reviews
"pierce stocking drive"
in 79 reviews
"glen arbor"
in 96 reviews
"traverse city"
in 83 reviews
"national lakeshore"
in 53 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 43 reviews
"bucket list"
in 25 reviews
"bring water"
in 48 reviews
"picnic lunch"
in 20 reviews
"good morning america"
in 15 reviews
"maritime museum"
in 35 reviews
"park pass"
in 22 reviews
"parking lot"
in 38 reviews

1,039 - 1,043 of 1,532 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2014

We took this trip at the end of September. Though that weekend was unusually cold,we really enjoyed our trip. We stayed in a hotel at Beulah which was a nice small town and the drive from there to Philip. A. Hart Visitor Center was a wonderful experience. It was kind of remote to me,but very beautiful. I was a bit apprehensive about gas as it was on a lower side while entering to the Dunes,but I was more than happy to see a gas station just adjacent to the Visitor center !

After you drive a short distance from the visitor center you get quite clear instructions about the loops and scenic drive. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a must do in this trip. The overlook points are really worth watching and the most popular and breathtaking is overlook # 9. I guess it is also most photographed one ! I must mention here,the restroom facility was not great in this loop.

After you reach there you must really wonder how nature has created these dunes ! At some point the beach of Lake Michigan is 120 ft below from where you stand at almost 70-75 degree elevation. So,be careful if you are thinking to go down and walk on the beach ! It would be extremely strenuous to get up. People with heart problem should NEVER try this. I'm a 28 year old and quite fit person,but still it took me 3 stops and almost 20-25 minutes to get back after I got down around 50 ft.

There are several trails but walking through the sands is very difficult,so we didn't try those,but those are quite interesting I believe. Don't forget to bring your camera and gears as you can get here some most memorable shots of your life !

3  Thank Bhuparyatak14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2014

Beautiful drive up here - it makes me want to have a cabin here!! You will feel like you in a far away place.... amazing!! All you hear is nature and the views from the top of the dunes are gorgeous.

1  Thank younger855
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2014

I have been here countless times over the years, and it never gets old. There is no arguing on why National Geographic named this place most beautiful spot in America along with Good Morning America. It will make your jaw drop as you stare out into the blue abyss and reflect on how beautiful our Mitten really is. Relaxing breezes. Don't miss the dune climb! However, if you really are the big adventurer the real dune climb is at lookout #9 when you race down the never ending sand dune and take at least an hour to get back up. Don't miss the lesser known trail hike to see more of the "coast". Rarely anyone out that way (you can find the trail on the map they give you at the visitor center) and it's perfect for couples looking for a quiet spot away from the crowds of tourists. Nice place to haul a picnic in.

2  Thank Christina K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 15, 2014

We made this our vacation destination for a week at the end of July. The overlook along the Pierce Stocking Drive is worth the cost of admission. Vertigo could be a problem if one is effected. The roadway is steep, both upwards and downwards on a bicycle or if you are hiking. The trail to the summit is challenging as well, if you are aged. Viewing westerly from the summit you might see a lake freighter ship down way far below. There are binoculars mounted up there on the overlook that work so -so. Sand blows around all the time as you would expect, and eye protection and camera protection should be encouraged.

Nearby there is found Glen Haven historic village and Sleeping Bear Point defunct Coast Guard and Rescue Station. A MUST see. They haul up the Flag at 10:00 AM to the top of the tower. On the way back, visit the town of Glen Arbor on Glen Lake, a very nice surprise, go boating on the small inland lake and fish or ski, as you prefer, at the end of a great weekend where the sun always shined on us.

1  Thank fritomann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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