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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Swim with Bears!

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by Dylan

This was a busy week because Meghann just moved into a new place.  Sorry for getting this post out to everyone a day later than scheduled!  To make up for the delay we have new up north videos just for you!  If you are interested in Sleeping Bear Dunes then also check out this post for Glen Arbor and another for Fishtown, which is just north of the national park headquarters and D.H. Day Campground.

Learn How Videos for Learning to Camp

  1. How to Set up a Hammock and what to bring for the campfire
  2. How to set up the inside of your tent
  3. How to prepare for camp cooking
  4. How to pack up your tent

1. Go to Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore!

There is an official dune climb near the park's visitor center but I would not recommend spending any time there.  If you really want to experience a dune climb (pictured above) go to Pyramid Point.  Take M22 just north of Glen Arbor a few miles and head east towards Lake Michigan.  It is 300 feet to the water and steep!

Swim in Lake Michigan, enjoy the Maritime Museum, which we featured in a Glen Arbor post earlier this month.

National parks require a separate vehicle pass since they are not funded by the state park pass you may have already purchased with your Michgan license plate renewal.


2. Camp at D.H. Day Campground a mile south of Glen Arbor MI on M22

D.H. Day Campground is not a day camp, that is a guy's name, which is a little confusing for campers.  The camp location is perfect, situated a mile from Glen Arbor, the Vistor's Center, Glen Lake, Glen Haven and the campground is on Lake Michigan!  The grounds are well-maintained with campground hosts.  The bathrooms are nasty.  Do not camp within 5 sites of a bathroom.  When you need to freshen up, go to the Maritime Museum, which is part of the national park, at 10am when they open.  There are clean, indoor bathrooms there with running water and real toilets.  They also have changing tables for babies.

All of the campsites are half mile walk to Lake Michigan.  The beach is hard-packed and great for running.  Flies will hatch at certain times of day and "bug" you but come back an hour later and they should be gone.  The beach is really private for a park.  Campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. $5 bundles of wood are sold from a vending machine that takes singles or five dollar bills.  

3. Eat Dinner at Boone Docks

Boone Docks is in downtown Glen Arbor, just a few minutes north on M22 from the campground.  Food at Boone Docks is your standard American bar food.  We ate outdoor on the deck under the giant gazebo bar.  It's the type of place to like to roll into around happy hour with a band playing cover songs to an upbeat crowd, drinking wine out out plastic cups and slugging back fried foot an appetizers in baskets.

Boone Docks is a tourist trap, but it's just the kind I don't mind getting caught in!  After dinner cruise across the street the Pine Cone and grab yourself a hand dipped ice cream cone.  Get it... Pine CONE... ice cream cone!

4. Check Out the Secret Local's Lookout Spot

AHead north out of Glen Arbor and turn right on Overby Rd.  Take the first right into a new subdivision which is full of empty lots for sale.  The road winds around to the top of this beautiful overlook.  If you watch the slideshow at the top of this page you will see a slide with the address on Ridge St for the lookout and Nap Rock that Meghann is sleeping on!

View Swim with Bears! on Google Maps

What Do You Think about Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan?

Adventure Rating: B

Climbing the dunes at Pyramid Point is the real deal.  You are going to get, sweaty, tired and thirsty.  Bring bug spray, sunscreen and water.  The climb will take five minutes to get down to Lake Michigan and 30 minutes to get back up to the trail.

If you are looking for a water oriented adventure, try Paddleboarding on the nearby Crystal River.

Locals Tip

Cell service is really spotty around Glen Arbor. Tmobile service was better than Verizon but not great. We were suprised not to have access to cell networks so close to Traverse City, which we usually rely on for Google Maps on our phones and Yelp to find new great restaurants.

Grab a deliciously flavored iced tea from the Tea & Spice shop on M-22 next to the Pine Cone ice cream shop! Cruise up M22 to Leland for Fishtown or drive out to Stocking Pierce.

up north michigan poster

"You can do yoga anywhere, even on the beach in Lake Michigan!" Meghann "I like seeing the awkward space between to men on the same jetski.  Just don't do it.  Just like motorcycles, there is an unwritten one guy per jetski rule." Dylan

Geocache Winner

No one has claimed the gift certificate for Western Avenue Grill!  Send a photo or two of yourself paddle boarding in Glen Arbor to meghann@weareupnorth.com to win the $25 gift certificate to the WAG. 

Our newsletter subscribers receive the geocache or photo hunt location a full day before we post it on the site. Sign up today so you can be an insider on the weekly treasure hunt!

The coordinates for the gift card are: 

N 44.898687, W -85.982158

Every week we add a photo hunt or new geocache (pronounced "geo cash") somewhere in the northern wilderness with the hope that we'll give other Up North explorers a reason to leave their couch and enjoy the inspiring beauty, history and excitement Michigan has to offer.

Learn a bit about geocaching over at Wikipedia