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Sleeping Bear Dunes


Many people have long felt that the Lakeshore is the most beautiful place in the United States, and it seems that this deep love for one of the globe’s most stunning places is not misplaced. Within the last year, the Sleeping Bear Point Trail was selected as the best Hike-to-View option in any American national park in the National Geographic publication, “The 10 Best of Everything National Parks”, which also went on to recognize the Manitou Passage, a section of the lakeshore, as the 7th best scuba and snorkeling sites in North America. While these two accolades are worthy of respect, they are not the only honors bestowed upon this miraculous nature hub. The pristine beaches of Lakeshore were deemed the “Best on the Great Lakes” by renowned scientist and nature expert Dr Beach. All of these awards were made by experts, and sometimes this kind of praise seems out of touch to the views of the average tourist, but when it comes to Lakeshore it seems that everyone is agreement – the American public confirmed their admiration for the park by voting it the most beautiful place in America on the popular television show Good Morning America.

With so much to see and do you need as much information as possible before you visit in order to have the perfect stay, and that is exactly what this Visitor Guide is all about. We have highlighted recreational opportunities throughout the 71,000+ acres of protected park lands, as well as some of the activities our employees and volunteers are undertaking to preserve this special place for future generations. First-time visitors may find there are so many experiences to choose from, they will just have to return, and repeat visitors will likely be inspired to experience something new and different. Keep reading to find out exactly what we have to offer you!

There are several new additions to the park that are sure to steal your heart, including the exciting new opportunity to bike or hike the first leg of the new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. The new four-mile section connecting the Dune Climb and Glen Arbor should be completed by July 4th. Pause in Glen Haven to see our new outdoor exhibits sharing the stories of the once-bustling coastal village. Should you be lucky enough to venture out to South Manitou Island, take our new tour of the island interior and walk the new boardwalk trail, which will take you past the famed giant cedars.

This spectacular place belongs to you and is yours to explore. Relax and revive your soul on well-maintained trails, perched dunes, pristine beaches, hidden lakes, quiet rivers, beautiful forests, secluded islands, and historic farmsteads. All this and more is waiting for you.

 


 

 

National Park Entrance PassesClick here to download the full 2013 sleeping bear dunes fee list and here for a park map.

To enter the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from any point you will need a National Park Entrance Pass, which must be displayed on the driver’s side of your vehicle windshield or dashboard. Keep it on your person if you enter by foot or bicycle too! Passes can be purchased year round at the visitor center or Platte Point fee machine; or during regular hours of operation at campground offices during peak season.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Sunshine, warm weather, and beautiful, clear water are a recipe for beach activities, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has miles of pristine beaches! You can sunbathe, build sand castles, play in the Lake Michigan waves, swim, or just walk along the beach. Read more here

Biking

You may use your ride your bicycle on any established road that vehicles travel along, but why not try the new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail? Note that all other trails are off limits. Join a ranger for a ride or explore these areasRead more here

Sleeping Bear Dunes Activities and More

  • Tubing on the Platte River

    Tubing on the Platte River

    Get into the cool water with a comfortable float down the river on a raft or tube on a sweltering summer day. This is definitely a fun recreational activities to deal with the summer heat. The river is clear and

     
  • Southern Boundary Area Lakes

    Southern Boundary Area Lakes

    Mud Lake Mud Lake is a sweet lake to see even though it has a pretty simple name. You can observe it all the way down from Lake Michigan Road near where the weir is. There aren’t any houses on

     
  • Scuba Diving – Sleeping Bear Dunes

    Scuba Diving – Sleeping Bear Dunes

    There are a number of Lake Michigan attractions at the underwater preserve, from fascinating shipwrecks to a historic dock. The preserve’s most popular site for diving is the most recently discovered one. There was a steam barge called the Three

     
  • Port Oneida Rural Historic District

    Port Oneida Rural Historic District

    The Port Oneida area farms are reminiscent of the farms at the turn of the century. They are like the farms in the midwest that existed there at that time. It is unique, however, to find such a big collection

     
  • Weather Station Campground

    Weather Station Campground

    The Weather Station Campground is an awesome campground because it overlooks Lake Michigan, and it’s on the south side of the island, about a mile from the lighthouse. The campsites are position inside of a forested area, and they are

     
  • Popple campground

    Popple campground

    The Popple campground is positioned at the north end of the island, and it’s about three and a half miles from the Ranger Station, which is near the shore of Lake Michigan. You should take some water filtration equipment with

     
  • Platte River Campground

    Platte River Campground

    Everyone loves to go out and get a good time, spend a vacation out in nature, and go through the thrill of living life to its fullest. But often, after the day of fun is done, we come back to

     
  • North Manitou Island Camping

    North Manitou Island Camping

    There are some regulations for backcountry camping in place on the Northern part of Manitou Island. There is a fee payment that has to be completed, as well as a backcountry permit, before anyone can go on a camping trip.

     
  • The Bay Campground

    The Bay Campground

    The Bay Campground is about the closest camping site that you can get to the dock. It is situated about half the distance between the old South Manitou Dock and the Ranger Station. The South Manitou Dock has a great

     
  • Platte Plains Area Lakes

    Platte Plains Area Lakes

    Otter Lake is definitely one of the best fishing lakes in the whole park. There is a dingy little dock, and there is a boat launch that is mushy and only suitable for kayaks and canoes. There are no motorized

     
  • Northern Area Lakes

    Northern Area Lakes

    Bass Lake is one of the two Bass Lakes that exist in the park. It is lake that is very accessible, and it is visible on the east side about six miles to the north of the Glen Arbor area.