Dynamic Variation:

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Are there mountains in northern Michigan? You bet! We lightheartedly refer to them as “mountains of sand” otherwise known as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This is one of the top things to do in the Traverse City area. 

The lakeshore is also known as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and it's been part of the park system since 1970. It is one of America’s most profoundly beautiful landscapes with sweeping vistas, freshwater beaches, forested wilderness islands, and miles of hiking trails. There is also the paved Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, a multi-use pathway that runs from the northern end of the park to a point just south of Empire. 

If you need suggestions on planning your visit, browse our itinerary, check out the Benzie county section of the park and take a look at tour options with Up North Tours. For the trail veterans out there, check out our list of lesser known and secret spots in the area!

Stay in Traverse City

Plan Your Trip



Frequently Asked Questions


What is there to do at the Sleeping Bear Dunes?

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the most popular single attraction in the Traverse City area, and it’s only a short drive from downtown Traverse City and the surrounding counties. A year-round attraction, the park provides outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone. Here are some recommended activities:

Discover more things to do at the Sleeping Bear Dunes

Can you swim at the Sleeping Bear Dunes?

Yes! The Lake Michigan beaches within the National Lakeshore are some of the finest freshwater beaches in the country. Some recommendations for beaches include:

View more beaches near the Sleeping Bear Dunes

Where should I stay when visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes?

Located in Leelanau and Benzie counties, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a short drive from Traverse City and surrounding port towns. Discover nearby lodging options in Traverse City and Benzie County.

View more hotels in the region.

How much does it cost to get into Sleeping Bear Dunes?

Park Entrance Pass - $25.00
Per private vehicle (valid for 1-7 days from date of purchase)

Park Entrance Pass - Motorcycle - $20.00
Per motorcycle (valid for 1-7 days from date of purchase)

Per Person Entrance Pass - $15.00
Visitors 16 years of age or older who enter on foot, bicycle, or as part of an organized group not involved in a commercial tour.

Learn more about the Sleeping Bear Dunes