Sleeping Bear Dunes: Family Review

2 07 2010

One of our favorite family places in Michigan is Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. Last weekend, we had the chance to go again and create some great family memories. There is a lot to do and see up there, but here’s few of the Kade Family Favs!

1. Best Beach: Platte River…Right before it enters Lake Michigan.  The water is warmer than Lake Michigan and a great place to play. Bring some tubes and have a family member drop some of you off up the river and float down the river to where you are.

2. Best Kayaking: Crystal River in Glen Arbor. We’ve kayaked the Platte River as well, but our entire family said the Chystal was a much better experience. We HIGHLY recommend THE RIVER for Kayak rental. It’s a local family owned business. Two of kids had never kayaked alone and the owner Mike Sutherland was great at calming their nerves and giving them confidence. And they have the sweetest car in Glen Arbor.

2. Best Movie Place: Cherry Bowl Drive In. Honor, MI. It’s fantastic. The do the total 50s experience, complete with freshly popped popcorn, swings at the base of the screen, oldies music and CLASSIC commercials that will crack you up. Bring a blanket,  camping chairs and pull your van in backward for a memorable family experience.

4. Best Hike: Forget the walk to the shore on the Dune Climb. Our family thinks that’s hot and boring. We love the 2.8 trail at the end of Sleeping Bear Point (Past the Coast Guard Museum).  When you walk though Ghost Forest, everyone in the family has to press a tree over their head. Start to the right. It’s the best trail in the park.

5. Best Ice Cream: Frankfort.  Take a  walk out to the breakwater lighthouse and then back in to enjoy the quaint downtown.

6. Best Sunset Place: The top of the 450′ hill overlooking Lake Michigan (on Pierce Stocking Drive). Get there an hour before sunset so you have time to run down the hill 450′ and feel the complete burn in your legs coming back up. Emily’s holds our family record with a time of 8 minutes up from the water to the top. It takes me 30-45 minutes to get back up.

7. 2nd Best Sunset Place: Empire Beach. In addition to the great beach, there are great swings, a cool play set and some very interesting locals playing basketball.

I hope that Sleeping Bear brings as many wonderful memories for your family as it does for ours. Have an amazing vacation!

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