Filling you Parks Passport

By Tracey Stieb

Visiting Lake Michigan should include a trip to Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.  Depending on your time constraints your visit can be as simple as driving the Stocking Pierce Scenic Drive through the park or spending a few days exploring the corners of the park by climbing to the top of a sand dune, quietly watching the waves from a scenic lookout or rambling through trails in the forest.  

There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the lakeshore.  If you are seeking a more adventurous activity you may want to drive to Silver Lake State Park and enjoy a dune buggy tour or the opportunity to drive your own ORV in the dunes!  


Sleeping Bear offers free use of a Track Chair on The Bay View Trail for those with physical limitations.  This chair is provided by The Friends of Sleeping Bear and reservations are needed to ensure availability. 

Unlike many National Parks, Sleeping Bear does not have on site restaurants.  You should come to the park prepared with snacks and water at a minimum.  Most of the bathroom accommodations you will find are vault style toilets or port a potty style.  I would suggest carrying your own hand sanitizer and small baggies of toilet paper or a Kula Cloth (just in case).  The visitor center has flush toilets and running water.

Where to Stay

Overnight accommodations in the park include cabin rentals or rustic tent camping.  Just outside the park there are a wider variety of camping opportunities including rustic RV sites at D.H. Day Campground, Hipcamp locations or several local hotel options.  For those looking for a luxury stay, The Homestead is located a few miles from the park with a beautiful resort complete with on site restaurants and gift shops.  Enjoying dinner at Cafe Manitou while watching the sunset from front row seats is a great way to spend an unforgettable evening. If you are looking for something more casual, check out Art’s Tavern for delicious fish sandwiches. This is a cash only establishment so be prepared. If you were considering a picnic the local IGA grocery has everything you need!  

Tracey Stieb |Girl Camper Guide to Michigan

Connect with Tracey & her Girl Camper Group

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