Top Things To Do in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes Attractions: There is more to this National Park than just the dunes! Check out our list of some of our favorite things to do in our home, voted "The Most Beautiful Spot in America" by Good Morning America.

Spend a Day on the Water

Spend an entire day on the water soaking up sunshine and Northern Michigan fresh air! Glen Lake Marine offers pontoon and deck boat rentals for as little as a day and up to a week. These boats are built for pleasure and relaxation, so invite family and friends aboard to cruise big Glen Lake. As one of Northern Michigan's smaller inland lakes, the water will be warmer and calmer than Lake Michigan, making it a perfect place for swimming or floating peacfully in a classic summertime intertube.

For more information, call 231.326.5666 or visit glenlakemarine.com

Stock your Picnic Basket!

It is essential to bring provisions when you are planning on spending the day on the water. Prepare for your cruise by packing a picnic with essentials from Anderson's Market–a grocery store which carries a large selection of locally grown and produced products. We firmly believe that no picnic is complete without Northwood's Soda, Stonehouse Bread, Leelanau Cheese and of course dessert from Leelanau Pie and Pastry- who claim to put 2 pounds of fruit in every pie!

Find Anderson's hours and address at andersonsiga.com

Good Harbor Bay Beach

Spend a sunny afternoon at Good Harbor Bay Beach, part of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and one of the most beautiful stretches of sand you will ever see. This quiet bay is a local favorite, and has preserved a little more of it's slightly wild Northern Michigan charm than it's Traverse City cousins. From the Traverse City area, head north on County Road 651 through Cedar, before coming to Good Harbor Trail. Once at the beach, lounge in the warm sand where you can see both the crest of Whale Back Dune to the north, and the tip of Pyramid Point to the south. Younger visitors will enjoy a small creek and freshwater spring far down the south end of the beach–perfect for exploring.

Taste some Good Harbor Wine

After you've soaked in enough rays for the afternoon, pile into the car and take a short drive up Manitou Trail to Good Harbor Vineyards.  Run by the Simpson family–a three generation fruit growing Leelanau dynasty–Good Harbor Vineyards was opened in 1980 as the fourth established winery on the Leelanau Peninsula. Today they tend to over 65 acres planted with various Vitis Vinifera and French hybrids. In keeping with the "Good Harbor" theme of the day, try the Harbor Red or the Fishtown White.

For more information visit goodharbor.com or call 231.256.7165

The tasting room hours of operation are: May 20 – November 1 Monday – Saturday 11-5, Sunday 12-5

Climb the Dunes

It seems like everyone is talking about the Sleeping Bear Dunes; voted "The Most Beautiful Spot in America" by Good Morning America, the "Bear" has become something of a celebrity.  This week, see what all the gossip is about. Strap on a pair of running shoes, or borrow a page from a childhood's book and take on the Dunes barefooted. At the top of your climb, you will be rewarded by a panorama view of Little and Big Glen Lake, the rolling green hills of Leelanau County, and unending blue skies–so remember to pack a camera. And the best part of this entire venture? The run down the Dune, with sand flying behind you and the wind in your face; you've never felt so fast.

Recharge and Recaffeinate at Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co.

While a trip up the Sleeping Bear Dunes is beyond rewarding, it can also be somewhat tiring! Energize for the rest of the day with a coffee drink at the Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co., in Glen Arbor just a short drive from the Dunes. Founded in 1993, the Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co. was created by Steve Arens, who was inspired by his childhood trips to Northern Michigan. Years later, Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co. has grown to include a cafe, outdoor patio and garden, and large roasting facilities (which you can tour, if you call ahead.) A baked good and a latte on the patio is the perfect way to conclude a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes, where you can go back over snapshots of "The Most Beautiful Spot in America."

Click here for cafe hours and directions!

Hike the Empire Bluff Trail

Right off of the famed road M22, lies a trail that will bring you to one of the most awe inspiring views in Northern Michigan! This isn't an overly strenuous climb, but we still recommend at the very least close toed shoes. The trail which is a 1.5 mile round trip hike will take you through some lovely woods and up and down small hills until you reach the top of the trail which is pretty unassuming… however in the next 15 seconds it will all become clear as to why this was voted "Most Beautiful Place in America." We're not about spoiling a surprise so take the trail yourself and see what the fuss is all about– We promise you won't be disappointed!

Eat at Joe's Friendly Tavern

After you have taken in the view and trotted back to your car if you are hungry the perfect solution lies less than 5 minutes away! Drive into the village of Empire and park in front of Joe's Friendly Tavern (you literally can't miss it!) Walk in and you will know where they got the "friendly" part of their name. We highly recommend the Sweet Potato Nachos— they have blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, onion and cherry salsa and are absolutely divine! If the sweet potato route isn't your thing though, they make a delicious burger or fresh fish sandwich!

Conquer Pyramid Point

Located further north than Empire, Pyramid Point has another must see view. If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge hike wise, then Pyramid Point has your name written all over it. If you do the entire loop it's about a hilly 2.7 miles long, but like the Empire Bluff trail, the view at the top is worth it. It's a Northern Michigan favorite to take some stellar shots at the top, so don't forget to bring your camera with you!

For more information and a map of the trail click here

Relax with a Sweet Treat

Cruise into Glen Arbor and soak up the summer environment! Go to the Pinecone for a quick ice cream cone and then wander down to the Lake Michigan and dip your toes in the sand or walk around Glen Arbor, taking it all in.

For more information about the dunes go to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore website.

For more things to do in Sleeping Bear Dunes check out MyNorth.com!

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