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Plan Your Visit to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Home to 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and picturesque freshwater beaches, forested wilderness islands, and miles of hiking trails, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Northern Michigan.

Sleeping Bear Dunes became part of the national park system in 1970 and is one of the only places in the world where you can see perched dunes, which are formed when  high waves from the lake “perch” grasslands on top of the bluff. Whatever your interests, this stunning lakeshore has something for everyone to enjoy. 

Trek up the Dune Climb

Located north of Empire on M-109, the Dune Climb offers pure unadulterated fun for the entire family. Climb to the top of the dunes for a beautiful view of Glen Lake and then roll down to the picnic area for a break and refreshments. 

While doing the Dune Climb, be sure to check in with the visitor center, as well as a park store, restrooms, and picnic area. You can also take a 3.5-mile hike on the Dunes Trail to Lake Michigan.

Visit the Maritime Museum

The Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum is located just west of the historic village of Glen Haven. The museum features exhibits that cover the history of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and Great Lakes shipping. During the summer months at 3:00 PM every day, there is a re-enactment of the breeches buoy rescue drill using Raggedy Ann & Andy as our shipwreck victims.

After your visit, stop and walk around the village of Glen Haven, which is lined with shops and stores, and has been restored to its appearance in the 1920s.

Walk, Hike, or Bike the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

Scenic Overlook #9 at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This overlook offers a stunning vista of Lake Michigan

The paved 27-mile Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail runs from the northern end of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the Leelanau/Benzie County line. While most of the trail is asphalt, a 3-mile section that goes through the Port Oneida Rural Historic District north of Glen Arbor is crushed stone. Don’t forget to stop along the way and take in the beautiful views of Lake Michigan, lush green forests, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes. 

Drive on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

This 7.4-mile drive circuits through the Beech-Maple Forest and dunes, providing visitors with views of the Glen Lakes, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Lake Michigan.

Be sure to stop on the way at the Lake Michigan Overlook. This observation deck is 450 feet above sea level and is the perfect place to sit, relax and enjoy the sunset over Lake Michigan. 

Paddle a Kayak and Canoe in a River

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers plenty of opportunities to paddle a canoe or kayak. There are two rivers for easy paddling; the Platte River, located in the southern part of the park, and the Crystal River that flows from Glen Lake to Lake Michigan. You can bring your own boat, raft, or tube, or rent one in the area. Head over to Lake Michigan to kayak along the sandy beaches and take in views of the mountains and dunes. 

Experience the Best of Sleeping Bear Dunes at DELAMAR Traverse City

As the newest addition to the Delamar family, DELAMAR Traverse City is a full-service, upscale resort with exquisite views of Grand Traverse Bay, waterfront fine dining, and activities for everyone to enjoy. It is just a quick drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Enjoy this national treasure when you stay with us this summer at Delamar Traverse City!

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