Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

In A Nutshell

Getting Around

Most visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore arrive and travel through the Park by car, RV, or motorcycle. You can easily get to all attractions by driving on M-22 through most of the Park and then taking the M-109 loop about 2 miles north of Empire. You can take M-109 to the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, the Dune Climb, Glen Haven, and D. H. Day Campground and then back to M-22 in Glen Arbor.

Download a Map of the Park or stop in the Visitor Center and pick one up.

Planning to visit North or South Manitou Island? Get a reservation with the Manitou Transit (231-256-9061) for the ferry ride. Remember there is no food available for sale on either island, so take it with you.

Access to South Manitou Island is by private boat or by passenger ferry service operated by Manitou Island Transit. The ferry service operates from the Fishtown Dock located in Leland, MI. The ferry operators have been servicing the islands for many generations and the company is still run as a family business.

Between June and August, the ferries for each island leave daily from the Fishtown Dock in Leland at 10:00 AM. Reservations are recommended. Plan to arrive at the Fishtown Dock 45 minutes prior to departure. Leland is located 27 miles north of Empire on M-22.

The boat trip can be cool even in summer, so plan ahead and bring a jacket. In case of rain, bring rain gear. Wear comfortable hiking boots. Mosquitoes are common in summer. Poison ivy is abundant. There is no food service or store on the island. Bring a lunch. Be sure to return to the dock in time for the boat departure.

Visitors to the islands are also required to secure an entrance pass to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Park Passes are available at the Fishtown Dock during the summer months from 8:30 am to 10:00am, or at any fee collection station within the park.

Accessibility

Park brochures are available in Braille, and most public facilities within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are wheelchair accessible as are the overlooks found along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Each campground has handicapped accessible campsites.

The Duneside Accessible Nature Trail is located at the Dune Climb. The trail (0.9 miles round trip) begins at the north end of the picnic area and parking lot. It is level and made of packed graded crushed limestone, so it is easy to walk on or to push a wheelchair. You will find several interpretive signs and benches along the trail. Click here for a trail map and more description of the trail.

Sand wheelchairs are available at the Maritime Museum boathouse and at the Dune Climb to enable handicapped individuals to enjoy the dunes and beaches. The sand wheelchair at the Dune Climb is kept at the Dune Center. The wheelchairs must stay in the area where they were loaned.

Weather

Sleeping Bear Dunes is located in northern lower Michigan. You want to come equipped for any condition that may present itself as lake-borne weather patterns can change quickly. The well-advised visitor dresses in layers, prepared for a variety of conditions.

Summer days have highs ranging from upper 70's to 90's with lows typically in the 50's to 70's. Winter days have highs ranging from 20's to 30's and lows in the 10's to 20's. Snow is usually on the ground from late November through March.

Click here for Current Weather Information.