9922 Front St., Empire, Michigan
The most spectacular feature of this beautiful 71,000-acre park on the Lake Michigan shoreline is the Sleeping Bear Dunes area, readily seen from the 7.6-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Dr., which overlooks South and North Manitou islands. The lake views from here at sunset can be surreal, and the inland views to the east of ridges, valleys, and lakes are no less beautiful.
A nine-mile trail also crosses the dunes; it’s easy to get lost here, and no drinking water is available. At Glen Lake, just west of the dunes, there is a lovely picnic area. The nearby village of Glen Haven hosts the Coast Guard Station/ Maritime Museum.
The park also includes the Platte Bay and Pyramid Point sections to the north and south and North and South Manitou islands. Canoe rentals are available at the Platte and Crystal rivers, and there are hiking trails throughout.
In the Pyramid Point section there is a hiking trail, beach access, and picnicking at Good Harbor Bay. Both South Manitou Island and the primitive wilderness of North Manitou Island can be reached mid-spring to mid-fall by a ferry from Leland.
Park open year-round. Pierce Stocking Scenic Dr. open May–Nov., road conditions permitting.