Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI
Open: 24hrs / Cost: $15 per vehicle
This is one of Michigans most popular if not the most popular destinations. Located about 3.5hrs North of Detroit, its near the summer destination town of Traverse City. The park is filled with many trails for hiking, camping destinations, and notably the dune climb. Its a mostly dog friendly park, but some areas are off limits for pups. Make sure to check before you go! The hiking ranges from strenuous on the dune climb, to pretty easy for the rest of the trails.
Our trip started off after work on a Saturday. Andrea and I both work crazy long weeks so this really was our only option. Driving in to spend the night allowed us all day at the dunes and only the drive back home after. We stayed in the Holiday Inn West Bay Beach due to their pup friendly rules. It was a really nice place and cheap probably because we went there while it was still winter and freezing. Ive been told the prices will double or even triple for the short summer season.
Cool dock found right behind the hotel. We didn’t have much daylight upon arrival but we still made the most of it. There are a ton of food options within walking distance of the hotel but after the long drive from Lansing, we called it an early night.
First day out on the dunes. Our first trail was the first dog friendly one we came across. The trails are well marked even in the harsh winter conditions. The no dog areas are also well marked.
Snow was everywhere! It made for a fascinating other worldly view. The wind plus the cold did have its challenges, luckily we were no strangers to a Michigan winter.
Endless negative space. I was in a photographers heaven with the starkness of it all.
Close up of sand and snow mixing together
Family photo on the iconic overlook. Pretty easy hike from the parking lot, and this time of year, not crowded!
Our happy pup in the snow
Point Betsie lighthouse on the South end of the park. We actually had no idea what it was, just saw a sign for a lighthouse and I said hey lets stop. Turns out its kind of a Michigan landmark.
Frozen lake views. Hard to believe this massive lake is really that frozen solid. Ice formations were just unbelievable.
Andrea never backs down from a dare!
Plants are somewhere under all that ice.
Our last stop of the day was this random park not part of Sleeping bear. We had followed the road along the shoreline south and just decided to pull off for the sunset. It turned out to be the most strenuous hike of the day!
After that grueling hike we called it a day and made the 3hr drive home. Tired and content. I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of a snow covered sand dune but it was pretty interesting. Bring lots of layers if you decide to try it out in the winter!explore, mi, michigan, midwest, puremichigan, roadtrip, sleeping bear, sleeping bear dunes, travel, us, usa