Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (30 miles from Traverse City) offers beginners and experts alike outdoor adventures on Lake Michigan and its beaches, amongst the spectacular dunes and throughout miles of Michigan hiking and skiing trails. Before you go, download the free guide, "10 Places Not to Miss in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore" from Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine editors, too. Plus, here are some of our favorite outdoor sporting adventures with options for beginners and experts alike. 

Kayak The Crystal River

Satisfy your craving for the backcountry beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes with a leisurely float down the Crystal River in Glen Arbor. Top off your trip with a gourmet pizza served up on the riverbank.                                                                           

Secret Sleeping Bear: Hike Alligator Hill

Give your legs, lungs and heart a workout they’ll love on this steep but beautiful walkabout. Particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset, so don’t forget to bring your camera.                                              

Pair a Leelanau Hike with Breakfast

Four spectacular hikes paired with outstanding breakfasts make these Leelanau County outings to Whaleback, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Leelanau Trail must-do’s on any list. 

Northern Michigan Color Tour at Port Oneida in Sleeping Bear Dunes

Northern Michigan fall color tour at Port Oneida in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, including hiking, historic farms, where to stay and eat. 

Reflections on Northern Michigan’s Platte, A Small, Familiar River

One fly-fisherman’s musings of Northern Michigan’s Platte River, a beautiful, blue-ribbon trout stream that flows quietly and dependably, without fanfare.  

Find the right hotel for your Sleeping Bear Dunes getaway in the MyNorth Northern Michigan Hotel Directory. Check out hotels in Glen Arbor, Leland, Suttons Bay, Frankfort and Traverse City.

Kayak Fishing Weekend in Sleeping Bear Bay for Legendary King Salmon

Kayak fishing reigns for one weekend each September as fishermen seek King Salmon in the Sleeping Bear Bay in Northern Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This weekend is not a competition; there are no prizes. It’s simply a celebration of salmon and kayak fishing. 

Watersports in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

From Lake Michigan to the Glen Lakes, from kayaking to charter boat fishing, getting on the water in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a breeze. 

Otter Creek Hike in Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore

Wander shaded pathways and a tree-lined lakeshore, find your own sandy swath of Lake Michigan beach then grab a good meal. 

Riding the Waves of Endless Summer at Sleeping Bear Surfest

Here’s a weekend-long camping event where surfers, kayakers and paddleboarders gather to test their skills in Lake Michigan’s breaking waves. 

Find everything from breakfast to fine dining in the MyNorth Northern Michigan Restaurant Directory. Check out restaurants in Glen Arbor, Empire, Maple City, Burdickville, Leland, Suttons Bay, Beulah, Frankfort and Traverse City.

Snowy, Cross-Country Ski or Snowshoe Getaway at Sleeping Bear

Miles of trails, drifts of fresh snow and some of the most breathtaking vistas in the Great Lakes await, so pull on your hat and gloves and head out to choose your trails. 

Kiteboarding Lake Michigan

Keegan and Matt Myers find inner peace and the world at large with feet strapped to a board and hands gripping a kite high above Lake Michigan. Kiteboarders delight in using Sleeping Bear Bay beaches to launch their days, sailing along the shoreline of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Breaking Ground

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a planned 27-mile, paved recreational trail through Northern Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The planned hard-surface trail will run from Empire to Good Harbor Bay, connecting the towns of Empire and Glen Arbor along the way. The trail will offer a myriad of opportunities for biking, walking, jogging, rollerblading, skiing and more.

Make the most of your Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore experience and find your Northern Michigan restaurants, your Northern Michigan hotel, rent a Northern Michigan cottage or find Northern Michigan events.

Photo(s) by Hannah Reel