Sleeping Bear Dunes: The most beautiful place you never knew existed

by | Jun 14, 2017

Unless you are from Michigan, the chance that you have heard of the Sleeping Bear Dunes is slim. Allow me to fill you in: The Sleeping Bear Dunes sit along the coast of Lake Michigan in the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. When I say sand dunes, you probably think of a little rolling hill of sand that shifts with the wind on any given day.

Wrong. This behemoth system of sand dunes soars 450 feet above the lake. Why is that cool? Glimpse the sparkling waters stretching out for miles, the two Manitou Islands perched off shore, or if you’re lucky catch a postcard sunset over the seemingly endless lake and you’ll truly appreciate the elevated vantage point.

Proof that you should visit:

One of the many beautiful scenes that awaits you.

Now that I’ve convinced you, let me tell you a little more about the area. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a National Park Service protected landscape. The bluffs and dunes along the lakeshore were glacial moraines that have eroded over time, but that grow and shift inland over time as the wind off the lake pushes sand up and over the bluff, only to be trapped by dune grasses.

What to do while you’re there:

  • Climb the dunes! At the designated dune climb along M-109 you can climb up one of the many dunes, and you will win a beautiful view of the two Glen Lakes. Hike a little (okay, kind of a lot) further and you will be rewarded with a view of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands.
  • Not able or willing to climb for your views? Take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and enjoy several vantage points, none more beautiful than the scenic overlook of Lake Michigan.
  • Hike some of the 100 miles of designated trails, or snowshoe if you are visiting in winter
  • Cycle along the 22-mile Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and enjoy the views and wooded scenery
  • Kayak or canoe along the nearby Platte River and/or Crystal River
  • Into backwoods camping? Take a ferry and rough it on the Manitou Islands; don’t miss the South Manitou Island Lighthouse while you’re there!
  • Visit Glen Haven, a step back in time with a small village that has been restored to it’s working order from the 1920’s

Curious about the name?

Read about the legend of sleeping bear.

28 Comments

  1. Maลกa

    Interesting tips! Never heard of the Sleeping Bear Dunes before. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      Glad to inform! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  2. Emma

    You’re definitely not wrong, that is such a beautiful place! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      It really is awe inspiring!

      Reply
  3. Lyf&Spice

    How interesting is that! Had no clue such a place even existed. Thanks for the info. Cheers!!

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      Glad to spread the good word!

      Reply
  4. Kristine Eva

    I’ve never heard of this before. Those are amazing photos btw, I’m sure the scene is much more incredible in person. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      Thank you, and you’re right – it is so much more incredible in person!

      Reply
  5. Travelling Dany

    Wow I had no idea this existed but it’s such a beautiful area! And your photos made us want to go there as soon as possible! Bucketlisted it!

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      That makes me SO happy! You won’t be disappointed ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  6. Ajay

    Its so beautiful. Gotta add it to my bucket list !

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      I agree! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  7. amit

    Looks absolutely amazing – You’re right had no idea this place existed but now on my list for when I finally get to visit the states properly ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you for educating me on this ๐Ÿ˜€

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      Glad you’re inspired by it! I’ve been many places, but this is still one of my top five favorites in the whole world.

      Reply
  8. WhodoIdo

    The views from the Sleeping Bear Dunes are so pretty! I’ll keep this in mind when we finally decide to do a road trip around USA. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      It’s a really gorgeous part of the country that not many people know about!

      Reply
  9. Kat

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this place! I would love to visit Lake Michigan one day. Finger crosses! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      I highly recommend it! I grew up in Michigan, and my days at the Lake are my fondest memories ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  10. Leigh

    Climb the dunes sounds like an intense workout! Haha great post! Will definitely use these tips!

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      It is definitely a work out! Good thing there’s plenty of restaurants and ice cream parlors in town to help make up for lost calories ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  11. Laura

    Oh my word this looks so beautiful!! Thanks for sharing this hidden gem ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      It is beautiful indeed! Happy to share ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  12. Charity Valenzuela Marces

    First of all, I am envious of your camera skill. if only there is a cry emoji I can add on ths comment. The ocean view is just awesome!

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      Aw, thank you so much! I’ve been having so much fun learning photography this year, I’m glad there’s someone who thinks I’m good ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  13. DTG

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful place with magnificent photos. Was a really interesting post to read.

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      Thanks so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  14. Mehr

    Names itself sounds so exciting. So when in Michigan visit the Sleeping bear dunes, okay, cent percent ๐Ÿ‘

    Reply
    • lvlieg@gmail.com

      It is an awesome name isn’t it? Haha, glad you are inspired to visit!

      Reply

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Laura is one half of the traveling couple behind CoupleTakes. When she’s not traveling, she works as a law librarian in Las Vegas, NV and loves exploring the beautiful desert landscapes in the Southwestern United States on the weekends. Read her posts here.

Juan Pablo is one half of the traveling couple behind CoupleTakes. When he is not traveling he is at a desk somewhere pursuing his studies for his PhD Program in Modern Thought & Literature at Stanford University. Read his posts here.