9. Sleeping Bear Dunes Beach
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore isn't just one beach, it's a 35-mile stretch of stunning Lake Michigan shoreline blessed with some of the clearest water in the state. In fact, the water clarity here is often compared to the Caribbean! This national lakeshore offers two main swimming areas:
- Glen Haven: This area features a wide, sandy beach with shallow waters perfect for families with young children. The Glen Haven Pier juts out into the lake, offering stunning views and a popular fishing spot. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season.
- Empire: This section of the beach is known for its dramatic sand dunes, which tower over the shoreline. The water here is a bit deeper and can be wavy, making it ideal for more experienced swimmers and surfers. There are no lifeguards on duty at Empire, so swimming caution is advised.
Beyond the swimming, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a wealth of other activities to enjoy. Hike or bike through the dunes, climb the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive for breathtaking views, or explore the charming towns of Glen Haven and Empire.
Here are some additional details to consider when adding Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Beach to your list:
- Amenities: Both Glen Haven and Empire have restrooms and changing facilities. Glen Haven also has a concession stand.
- Getting there: Glen Haven is located about 25 miles northwest of Traverse City. Empire is about 10 miles further north.
- Parking: Parking fees are in effect at both Glen Haven and Empire during the summer season.
- Accessibility: The Glen Haven beach has a paved path leading to the shore, making it accessible for people with disabilities.
Tips for your visit:
- Arrive early, especially on weekends and holidays, as parking can fill up quickly.
- Be prepared for crowds, especially in the Glen Haven area.
- Pack plenty of sunscreen, water, and snacks.
- Leave no trace – pack out all your trash.
With its crystal-clear water, stunning scenery, and endless activities, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a must-visit for any beach lover visiting Michigan. So grab your swimsuit and towel, and head to this slice of paradise!
Read also: Best Family Beaches In Florida