Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
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Introduction

Towering dunes, sandy beaches, lush forests, ancient glaciers - you'll find everything you need in an adventurous vacation at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Situated along 35 miles of the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, as well as its two Manitou islands, this park offers a plethora of summer and winter activities that will keep you occupied well past your visit.

Sleeping Bear Dunes offers stunning views from any point in the park, whether you're kayaking, hiking or biking. Coupled with the rich culture and heritage of the nearby towns, you will never run out of things to do. Pets are welcome on leash, but are only permitted in certain areas of the park due to wildlife and preservation risks. Make sure to check online or with a ranger before you start exploring with your furry friends.

Park Alerts (1)

[Information] D.H. Day Campground closed for winter

D.H. Day Campground is closed until spring.

RV Rentals in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Transportation in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Driving

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is split into several separate parts on both mainland Michigan and the North and South Manitou Islands. The majority of the mainland areas are accessible by M-22 or the M-109 loop beginning 2 miles north of Empire. These are main roads, so you should have no problem getting your rig through all the sights.

If you're interested in heading to either of the Manitou Islands, however, you'll have to ditch the vehicle and book either a private boat or ferry through Manitou Island Transit in Leland, MI. It's recommended that you reserve the ferry ahead of time. If you're going to the islands, make sure you're equipped with food and water as there are no services, and be prepared to hike! It's recommended that you reserve the ferry ahead of time.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Campsites in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Reservations camping

D.H. Day Campground

D.H. Day Campground is one of the most popular campgrounds not just in Sleeping Bear Dunes, but in all of northern Michigan. From the campground, you'll have easy access to the iconic Dune Climb and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Plus, it's only two miles east of historic Glen Haven and the museums in the historic village of Glen Haven and two miles west of the restaurants and shops in Glen Arbor.

It is more rustic than Platte River, with vault toilets, picnic tables and fire rings. There aren't any hookups for RVs, but there is a sanitation dump at the entrance to the campground, water spigots and a firewood vending machine. Generator use is allowed only in the first thirty sites in Loop 1, and they can only run from 9 am to 6 pm. The campground is open from April through November, and campers may make reservations up to six months in advance for campsites between May and October. The rest of the time, the campground is first-come, first-served.

Platte River Campground

Platte River Campground is located along the southern end of Sleeping Bear dunes, about 10 miles south of Empire. It is open year round, and campers may make reservations up to six months in advance for campsites between May and October. The rest of the year, the campground is first-come, first-served.

This campground has a wide variety of sites - from back-in and pull-through RV sites, tent sites, and even some hike-in sites. There is electrical hookup for the RV sites at three out of the four loops, potable water, and a sewage dump station at the entrance to the campground. Water spigots are located throughout the grounds, and each loop has restrooms, dish washing sinks and hot showers. Generator use is prohibited here, so head to D.H. Day Campground if that's something you'll need.

From Platte River Campground, it's a quick 10-minute drive to Peterson Beach, and each loop in the campground has a trailhead that will also take you to Platte Bay.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Spring

Summer

Kayaking/Paddling

Whether on river or lake, you'll have plenty of opportunities to get out on the water at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Bring your own canoe, kayak or tube - or you can rent one in the area - and head out to the waters to experience incredible views that you wouldn't be able to access from land.

If you're interested in paddling or tubing, head to the Platte or Crystal River. You'll have a peaceful ride as you float through the crystal clear waters among the wildflowers, and you might just see a Great Blue Heron nibbling on some grub in the river.

In addition to the rivers, there are plenty of inland lakes that you can launch yourself into - however, the ultimate kayaking destination in the park is along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. From there, you'll be able to see the pristine beaches, towering dunes, and maybe even some glaciers!

Fall

Winter

Sledding

When it snows at Sleeping Bear Dunes, those sandy dunes become blanketed with a light layer of snow, making them the perfect places to go sledding! That harrowing Dune Climb is transformed into the go-to spot for winter sleds, toboggans, snowboards, and even inflatable tubes.

Cross-country skiing

In the wintertime, what used to be the multi-use Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail turns into a groomed cross-country ski trail. Additionally, while the park's more popular hikes are closed for the winter, there are a large number of trails that become designated ski trails. As always, check in with the rangers or park office for the trail conditions before you head out.

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