Nature May 18, 2017
9 Incredible Sand Dunes Every Michigander Must Explore
Few natural sites are as stunning as a sand dune. Towering mountains of soft sand seem to appear out of nowhere, giving way to gorgeous views of the waterfront. Here in Michigan, we’re lucky to have access to all sorts of beautiful dune land. We’ve compiled a list of nine areas in the Great Lakes State that you simply must explore as the weather warms up.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Sleeping Bear Dunes (Empire)
This one is a no-brainer. When it comes to gorgeous dunes in Michigan, Sleeping Bear might just be the ultimate. Venture along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and stop to admire breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from atop the dunes. At their highest point, the dunes rise 450 above the lake — and you can even run to the bottom of the hill if you’re feeling adventurous. Be forewarned, though: the journey back up to the top is rather strenuous!
2. Silver Lake Sand Dunes (Mears)
This stunning natural area is a hotspot for Michiganders and out-of-state visitors alike. With over 2,000 acres of gorgeous sandy land to explore, there’s no telling the sorts of adventures you’ll find at Silver Lake. Take photos of the dunes’ otherworldly beauty, try your hand at a dune buggy ride, or head down to the waterfront for a dip in the cool waves. There’s something here for everyone.
3. Warren Dunes (Sawyer)
While Warren Dunes are slightly lesser known than some of their counterparts, they’re no less beautiful. Venture to this outdoor wonderland in Southwest Michigan for a magical day on the shoreline, complete with multiple hiking trails and a dune area that towers over 250 feet above the waterfront. When you’re done exploring the dunes, settle in for a relaxing day along Lake Michigan. What’s not to love?
4. Saugatuck Dunes (Saugatuck)
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Saugatuck Dunes is the place for you. With over two miles of waterfront access to enjoy, it’s the ultimate Lake Michigan beachfront locale — and its stunning dunes are just the icing on the cake. Follow fourteen miles of hiking trails throughout the dune land, enjoy beautiful views of the water, or take part in some unique birdwatching. Once you arrive at this beautiful park, you’ll find it difficult to leave!
5. Grand Sable Banks and Dunes (Grand Marais)
As one of the most marvelous spots in the Upper Peninsula, the Grand Sable Dunes are sure to impress. Check out the scenic Log Slide Overlook for breathtaking views of Lake Superior or simply stand atop the dunes and marvel at the shoreline 300 feet below. No trip to the U.P. is complete without a stop at this one-of-a-kind natural locale, and you’ll find yourself absolutely amazed.
6. Laketown Beach (Holland)
This small beach near Holland features lovely dune land that can easily be accessed via a set of stairs that stretches up the hillside. When you reach the top, take a moment to rest and appreciate the sweeping views of Lake Michigan that surround you. If you time your visit right, you can even catch a breathtaking sunset from atop the dunes at Laketown! During warmer months, be sure to venture downward and cool off with a dip in the water below.
7. Nordhouse Dunes (Manistee)
Located inside the Manistee National Forest, Nordhouse Dunes can only be accessed via a short hike from one of two nearby parking areas. But trust us: the views and natural wonder you’ll find here are well worth the trek! Dune grass, soft sand, and delightful views of Lake Michigan make Nordhouse Dunes a must-see on your next outdoor adventure in the Great Lakes State.
8. Ludington State Park
A trip to Ludington State Park is so much more than just your typical day at the beach. Sure, you’ll enjoy all kinds of family fun as you splash in the Lake Michigan waves, but the surrounding dunes add a whole new level of beauty to your excursion. Take a break from your waterfront fun and get in a quick workout by climbing the neighboring dune, then race back down to the beach. You’ll want to return to this enchanting spot time and time again.
9. Arcadia Dunes (Arcadia)
The views you’ll capture from your journey to Arcadia Dunes will stick with you for a lifetime. Check out the hike to Old Baldy Dune and spend a while marveling at Michigan’s unfailing beauty from the very top — can you believe how lucky we are to live in such a magical place? Lake Michigan seems to stretch on forever, and you’ll be in awe of the natural wonder that surrounds you at Arcadia Dunes.
Which of these dunes is your favorite to explore? Did we leave any of your favorite spots off our list? As always, we would love to hear your suggestions and see your photos in the comment section below.