Travel Guide: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Our little weekend get-a-way up to Sleeping Bear will always be one of my favorite trips. Being immersed in nature and forcing to unplug was such a magical experience. Tasso had been to the dunes several times with his family growing up, so he wanted to recreate the trip. I can imagine us with a family of our own some day, packing up the car on a hot summer day and road tripping up north to carry on the tradition.

Sleeping Bear will leave you feeling refreshed and full of wonder. If you’re looking for small-town allure, a rustic camp adventure, and authentic Midwestern charm, then I highly recommend this trip.

S T A Y / C A M P

D.H. Day Campground is perfect if you are looking for a more rugged camp experience. Reservations are on a first-come-first-serve basis so get there early if you want a spot (for reference, we showed up at the grounds at 4 a.m. and there were already 18 cars in front of us).

E A T S

If you start to get sick of camp fire hot dogs and s’mores, there are plenty of local restaurants that are an easy 5 to 20 min drive from the camp site. For breakfast, I loved Early Bird Restaurant. The Cove, Bluebird Restaurant & Bar, and Art’s Tavern are great options for lunch or dinner. Tip: If you’re in the mood for a top-notch burger than Art’s Tavern is the place. They only accept cash though, so make sure you have plenty on hand. 

W H A T  T O  D O

Exploring the hikes & trails are a must. Some favorites include the scenic Pierce Stocking Drive, and the Empire Bluff Trail.

You can’t come to Sleeping Bear without climbing the dunes . They are insanely gorgeous and humbling.

If you have time, head over to the nearby town of Leland to grab some Murdick’s Fudge and get a taste of some Coffee Barrel coffee at River & Main. (The coconut flavor is to die for!)

Canoeing down the Platte River is super relaxing.

W O R T H Y  P I T  S T O P S

From Chicago, Sleeping Bear is about 5 to 6 hours by car. If you decide to drive like we did, I recommend breaking up the drive by stopping in the quaint Saugatuck, MI. It was a good chance to stretch our legs and enjoy some ice cream as we browsed the local boutique stores.

Holland is also another great town to stop in. On the way home from our trip we took some time to visit the Big Red Lighthouse and walk along the boardwalk.

F O R  T H E  R O A D

Road Trippin’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a perfect tune to start your adventure.

I’m all about campfire ghost stories. Check out this podcast for some spooky fun 😉

W H A T  T O  P A C K

Some inspiration for your camping packing list…

  • Keep It Rad Throwback Relaxed Tee

 


 

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