Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Those Are Some Big Dunes

One of my favorite parts of our trip last week was our visit to Sleepy Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - 35 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline in north-western Michigan. This was part of our day to celebrate our 3 year anniversary. We decided to make a day out of it and do a few active and tourist things to enjoy the area! It's an absolutely gorgeous place, perfect for anyone who loves (or even mildly likes) the outdoors. The bluffs are 450 feet above Lake Michigan, providing for amazing views and pictures!

Within the vicinity of Sleepy Bear are several small Northern Michigan towns too, including Empire (where the visitors center is), Glen Haven (a restored logging village with two historical museums), and Glen Arbor (a super cute resort town, home to Cherry Republic and the Great Lakes Tea & Spice Company, and a great place to rent a kayak for a lazy day on the river).

Since it is a National Park, a park pass must be purchased at the visitors center, but it is well worth the cost of admission. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive takes visitors through the park via their car, with many turnouts to see incredible views and take short 'walks' through the bluffs and dunes. Since we've done the drive several times in our lives, we decided to head off the well worn path and head to a hike a little north of Glen Arbor and on the outskirts of the park - Pyramid Point. The description lists the trail as an advanced 2.7 mile trail including forest, bluffs, and a meadow plus a bit of two track road at the end. There were also included a few very steep hills! It turned out to be the perfect length hike we were looking for and led to an amazing view! Another great thing about it was that since it wasn't directly on Pierce Stocking, there weren't as many families and tourists, and we only shared the view from the bluff with a few other people, and one super athletic dog!

After our hike, we made our way to the Dune Climb! This is one of the biggest attractions of the park and we were going to do it. I think I tried to climb it once or twice when I was young, and probably got to the top of the hill, but not much farther. We had somehow missed the fact that the trail is 3.5miles round trip. Might not sound bad at first, but then take into account that it is all sand and starts with a pretty steep climb. When we first arrived, we were sharing it with families and local school groups:

(that's Woody running down)

It was a great morning and like I told Woody, if we lived there, or were going to be there longer than a week, I'd be at Sleepy Bear a lot! It's a great place to get a good workout and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. I loved seeing so many families, school groups and groups of friends climbing the dunes and taking advantage of the park.

Afterwards, we stopped by Cherry Republic for lunch and dessert! We split a pulled pork sandwich (with cherry bbq sauce, of course) and a salad. Their ice cream is delicious, if you're not full from sampling their wine and cherry products in the store.

All I have to say is: delicious!

And that was only half of our day!!

Do you have a favorite State or National park?
workout stats -
15.5mi bike
3x12 cable pull twists
3x12 overhead tricep extension
3x10 tricep kickback
3x10 tricep dips
100 crunches


Lizzie said...

That place sounds wonderful. Happy Anniversary! Stopped by from SITS to say hi.

Life with Kaishon said...

That looks like a very steep hill! So glad you had fun. The ice cream looks delicious for sure!

misszippy said...

Looks fabulous! I'll bet the weather was perfect too. So far, Joshua Tree is my favorite, but I have so many more to explore!

ALFIE said...

it all looks so wonderful! glad you had a good time! michigan really does have some lovely lovely spots :)

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

That looked like fun and the food look yummy!

Julie @ Pickley Pear said...

Northern MI is the best. Your trip looks fabulous!

Tricia said...


Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said...

Wow...that is beautiful! I love those pictures!

Ali said...

My favorite State park is Wakulla Springs! haha - maybe it's just on my mind because I was just there for vacation :)