Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, MI: 8/23 – 8/26/21

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is located on the northeast corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It took us six hours to drive from Echo Lake/Camp 7 Lake Campground on the Upper Peninsula, over the Mackinaw Bridge into Mackinaw City, and finally to our next campsite in Traverse City State Park. Traverse City is a densely populated waterside city that runs along Highway 31. This huge state park has almost 500 RV sites, and it is located directly across from a free, public beach area. The traffic is a nightmare, making it difficult to pull out of the huge campground. It could take up to ten minutes to make a left hand turn out of the lot. We had to pay a $34 for a State Park Pass, which would cover our entrance into all of Michigan’s state parks for one year.

Traverse City RV State Park and Kenissee Grand River Campground

The following day, we set out for Sleeping Bear Dunes.

This is a land of legend, change, and survival – a masterpiece of ice, wind, and water. Over two-million years ago glaciers advanced from the north that were heavy, powerful, and up to a mile thick. Around 14,000 years ago temperatures warmed and the glaciers started to melt. The glaciers retreated, leaving behind ridges, glacial kettles, moraines, and other glacial landforms. The melt-water filled in the holes, creating the Great Lakes, smaller lakes, and wetlands.

The Legend of Sleeping Bear was too cute not to share…

Taken from park brochure
Taken from park brochure

We began our exploration at Pyramid Point, which was a short walk from the parking lot through forest land until you reach the dunes and the view of Lake Michigan.

The color of the water was unbelievable!
Our view from up top
Guess who wanted to to down?

We got back in the truck and headed east to Good Harbor Bay to relax, eat lunch, and go for a swim in Lake Michigan.

Scott on Paddle Board

The next day we headed back to Sleeping Bear Dunes to tackle the popular 3.5 mile Dune Climb hike. What fun!!! It was a perfect day for a hike in the dunes to be rewarded with a swim in the refreshing blue-green waters.

Parking lot at the beginning of the Dune Climb.

It was a beautiful, warm day with temperatures in the mid-eighties. Many tourists walked to the top of the hill and then turned back around. Only a handful continued almost two miles, repetitively walking up and down to reach the prize that awaited us.

Shoes off…getting ready to swim in the beautiful water of Lake Michigan.
We did it! Now to walk back 1.8 miles to the truck.

We definitely could have played some more in this beautiful area, and will definitely go back again some day. The next day it took us just over seven hours to drive south past Grand Rapids in central Michigan, and then east through Cleveland. We stopped for one night at Kenissee Grand River Camp and RV Park, located in Geneva, which is just east of Cleveland abutting Lake Erie. It was late in the day, but we drove about 15 minutes north from our campsite to a beach on Lake Erie. We were truly disappointed with this beach. It was not like the previous three Greats (Superior, Huron, Michigan) we had seen. The water was dark and not clear. The surf was loaded with small, hard rocks that hurt to walk on. The water temperature was also warmer than the others and not as refreshing.

Hard sand
Swimming in Lake Erie, the fourth of five Great Lakes!

Our next stop is Niagara Falls! Scott was there as a child, but this will be a first for me. The burning question is, “Will we actually swim in Lake Ontario?”

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