Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

While the legend behind the name made tears come to my eyes, we were completely blown away by this park. There are many, many things to do including swimming, biking, hiking, museums and car tours. The scenery is completely breathtaking and you find yourself continually trying to remember this is not an ocean. The vast waters are the most beautiful shades of blue, the sand perfect and the forests lush.

We stayed two days at the D.H. Day campground (named for D.H. Day – an incredibly intriguing character who was a mastermind in helping shape the area to what it is today). The days offered stark contrasts for us in weather conditions; windy and overcast the first, calm and sunny the second. The park staff was incredibly helpful and Ranger Leah even hailed from Chattanooga!

When we arrived, the kids could not wait to get in the water. The waves were crazy and the wind howled. Ethan wanted to attack, Wren danced and presented herself to the water while singing. Both so uniquely adventurous!

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Day two we started with the Dune Climb. When we had passed the day before we remarked that all the people looked like little ants . . . being that it was much steeper than in seemed from a distance! The views were amazing and we could see the inland lakes, Lake Michigan and the surrounding farms. It was awesome. Next, we took in the visitor’s center and drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (stops 9 and 10 were not to be missed!). That night we attended a Ranger talk and the kids were able to receive another JR Ranger badge. We definitely realize why this has become a national park area and are so very thankful those who sought to put it into place did so.

If you find yourself in Northern Michigan and looking for a great adventure – this area offers so much. This was definitely as surprise highlight of our trip.

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