Northern Michigan Vacation: Daybreak on the Big Dune

The first year we did the dunes breakfast was maybe six or seven years ago, when we were still living north of Detroit. We would come up every year and do the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping-in-pajamas day in Glen Arbor, which starts at 5 in the morning, and then do the dune climb after. And one of our kids said, “It would be cool to have breakfast up here in the summer, at sunrise.”

So that’s what we did. One day each August we pack a big cooler and hike up the dune climb at Sleeping Bear, as far as we can get before the sun rises, and then eat breakfast. We do a nice job with it, like egg fritatta, things like that. Then, when the sun comes up, the kids start jumping up and playing, and we take a bunch of pictures. You know, we all talk about the sunsets up here, but we sometimes forget about the sunrises.

One year, just as the sun came up over Glen Lake, and it got all glittery on the surface, my daughter said, “That’s the fishies taking pictures of us.” I always liked that.

You’d think we’d be having to drag the kids out of bed for this—now they’re 14, 12, 11 and 9—but they are really enthusiastic. Plus we wait till August, so the sunrise isn’t quite so early. If it’s getting into August and we haven’t done the dune breakfast, the kids start asking, “When are we doing it? When are we doing it?”

Now, even though we live near Traverse City, we rent a cottage on Glen Lake and make a weekend of it. We’ll drive down to Frankfort, maybe eat at Fusion, which the kids really like. Or maybe go north and check out the beaches along Good Harbor Bay, then continue north up the coast to Leland.

nps.gov/slbe, 231.326.5134

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