Seven Exciting Activities to Enjoy at Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Photo courtesy of Facebook fan Bruce Edwards

Photo courtesy of Facebook fan Bruce Edwards

The temperatures are rising and we’re thinking ahead to long days spent soaking up the sun in Pure Michigan. Today, guest blogger Andrea Hekkema from Hart Visitors Bureau describes seven exciting activities to enjoy in the Silver Lake Sand Dunes area.

Located on the coast of Lake Michigan is a sandy paradise called Silver Lake Sand Dunes. The landscape is unique to anything else in Michigan – sand dunes tower hundreds of feet into the air and the sounds of all-terrain vehicles buzz in the distance. Silver Lake Sand Dunes often attract off-roading enthusiasts who test their abilities on the challenging terrain. The dunes are also a fantastic travel destination for visitors looking to take advantage of adventurous activities and unique attractions. For anybody traveling to the west coast of Michigan, these seven activities near Silver Lake Sand Dunes deserve a stop on the itinerary.

Photo courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes - Hart Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Todd and Brad Reed Photography

Try Sandboarding on the Dunes: Sandboarding is the summer equivalent of snowboarding. Riders either rent a board or bring one from home and ride the monstrous sand dunes as a unique way to experience the terrain. Those interested can rent a board and safety equipment from The Sand Box and Wave Club Watersports Rentals.

Take a Driving Excursion: Own a dune buggy, quad or a 4×4 vehicle? As long as it meets requirements such as an ORV sticker and a 10-foot orange flag, it is good to go. A better alternative for most visitors is to rent an off-road vehicle specially equipped to handle the unique challenges of driving on sand. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are the only sand dunes east of the Mississippi River where pedestrians are allowed to drive a private motorized vehicle from April 1st through October 31st.

Tour the Dunes with Mac Wood’s Dune Rides: Another way to explore the dunes is on a guided tour with Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. This option allows visitors to enjoy the dunes firsthand, riding with a driver who understands the history and environment of the constantly changing sand dunes.  The ride is approximately 40 minutes and follows a 7 mile route through the dunes and a quick stop at Lake Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes - Hart Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Visit the Sable Point Lighthouse: The Little Sable Point Lighthouse is the perfect place to stop for a picnic on the beach or catch a magnificent Lake Michigan sunset. Located in Oceana County, the Little Sable Point Lighthouse was built in 1874 and is open to the public for a small admission fee. Spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area are visible from the top of the light.

Catch Some Rays on the Golf Course: For a traveler who is looking for something more relaxing than trekking through the dunes, there are other options too. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes area is home to four great golf courses for the beginner and experienced golfer. The courses feature rolling hills and perfectly green fairways that are sure to please. The area around the dunes also features family activities such as go karts, mini golf, bumper boats and a zip line.

Photo courtesy Silver Lake Sand Dunes - Hart Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Take the Family to a Local Festival: There’s always something fun going on in the Silver Lake Sand Dunes area. New this year is the Blues, Brews & Dunes Festival on May 31 featuring live music from Big Boss Blues, and Hank Mowery and The Hawktones. Local foods and Michigan beers will be on hand during the festival. Other events this summer include the Blessing of the Duners, National Asparagus Festival and the Apple & BBQ Cook-off Fest in September.

Discover Local Treasures: Silver Lake is home to some small-town favorites that visitors must try. Hansen Foods is locally known for having the best brats and hot dogs while the Fox Barn Winery has a unique Asparagus Wine. The Country Dairy has a $1 endless cup of milk to quench a thirst after a long day.

Everyone has an inner-adventurer who is waiting to head to Silver Lake Sand Dunes. For more information on planning a trip to this area, visit ThinkDunes.com for travel ideas and local destinations.

Have you visited Silver Lake Sand Dunes? Tell us about your experience!

Six Stunning Marquette County Beaches

Marquette County is home to dozens of beautiful beaches. Today, guest blogger Jesse Land highlights a few of his favorites.

Black Rocks Beach at Presque Isle Park

Black Rocks Beach

Located within Presque Isle Park, this rock beach is a unique find treasured by rock collectors for it’s huge and vast collection of smooth Lake Superior stones. Nestled between two cliffs, Black Rocks Beach is a scenic spot all on it’s own. However, if you happen to visit on a warm summer day you’re likely to see the young (and young at heart) cliff diving off the Black Rocks rock formation right in front of the beach!

McCarty’s Cove

There’s a reason McCarty’s Cove is one of the most popular (and most photographed) beaches in the Upper Peninsula. With it’s rock islands, sand point, proximity to the Marquette bike path and view of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse from anywhere on the beach, this beach is tough to beat.

Pebble Beach

Another popular spot for rock hounds, Pebble Beach is located a little north of McCarty’s Cove (just past Picnic Rocks). This beach is has quite a bit of sand but the sand gives way to smooth stones where Lake Superior meets the land. The pebbles continue into the water so if you plan on wading here, I’d recommend that you bring your water shoes.

South Beach on Marquette's southside

South Beach

This wide, flat beach is located on Marquette’s south side. It’s locally known to be one of the more “kid friendly” beaches, as the water near the beach is very shallow. Playground equipment dots the section of this beach near the lifeguard stand, while the section further south is wide open, dog friendly and not watched by a lifeguard.

Sunset Beach

One of the best beaches for sunset watching near Marquette, this five mile stretch of pristine Upper Peninsula beach is dog friendly and, because it’s a little out of town, often not very busy. A sandy bottom greets you as you wade into Lake Superior. And due to the expansiveness of this particular locale, this beach is blessed with a better than average view of Lake Superior and the surrounding area.

Teal Lake Beach

This small but pleasant beach is located in Negaunee, just a few miles away from Marquette. A shallow, sandy entry makes this a kid friendly beach and it’s distance from Marquette means it’s often less busy than some of the other beaches. Also, because Teal Lake is an inland Lake, its water is often a bit warmer than Lake Superior!

Teal Lake Beach

Details about all of these beaches, plus photos, and a map to twelve waterfalls and thirteen scenic views are all included on the Marquette County Waterfall Map. Get one for free by calling the Marquette Visitor’s Bureau at (906) 228-7749.

This post was written by Jesse Land on behalf of the Marquette County Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau.

Five Places to Discover Amazing Sand Dunes in Michigan

It’s no secret that Michigan is home to some beautiful places – from sandy beaches and amazing forests to crisp, blue water and massive sand dunes! Michigan has more than 300,000 acres of sand dunes that offer breathtaking views or thrilling experiences across the state, some of which have been getting national acclaim for their beauty.

Take a look at the roundup below and watch the Dunes in Michigan video from our summer video series to learn more about some of the many sand dunes across the state. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Empire
Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore encompasses a 60 km (35 mi.) stretch of Lake Michigan’s eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park was established primarily for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations and ancient glacial phenomena. Named by Good Morning America as “The Most Beautiful Place in America” and voted one of America’s Top 10 Family Destinations by Family Fun magazine, the Sleeping Bear Dunes are a must see destination. More information about tours, trails and more can be found here.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Saugatuck
The Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a day-use park along a secluded strip of Lake Michigan shoreline, Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers 2.5 miles of shore line. The park has fresh water coastal dunes that are over 200 feet tall. The park’s terrain varies from steep slopes to rolling hills. Visit the website for more information.

Grand Sable Banks and Dunes
Munising
Located about one mile west Grand Marais; the best place to view is from the trail beginning at the Sable Falls parking area. Another access point for the dunes is from the North Country Trail, one-quarter mile east of the Log Slide. Please stay on the trail as the dunes vegetation is fragile. Five square miles of Grand Sable Dunes are perched atop the 300-foot high Grand Sable Banks. Left by enormous glaciers, the Grand Sable Dunes dwarf comprehension. A portion of the Grand Sable Dunes is set aside as a Research Natural Area. For more information visit the website here.

Warren Dunes State Park
Sawyer
Warren Dunes has three miles of shoreline, six miles of hiking trails and is open year-round. It also has a dune formation that rises 260 feet above the lake with spectacular views and 1,952 acres of recreational opportunity. We have 221 modern & rustic campsites and three modern mini cabins. Visit the website for more information.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Hart, Mears and Pentwater
The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are a beach paradise! These massive dunes are nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake —the only sand dunes in Michigan where you can drive your own ORV—and miles of pristine shoreline beaches designed for pure family fun. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes encompass the towns of Hart, Mears, and Pentwater making it the perfect spot for a family vacation with miles of tree-lined bike trails, historic towns, a lighthouse and more. Spend the morning on the dunes, the afternoon in the water and finish the day in one of the charming villages for a relaxing dinner at a locally owned restaurant. Visit the website to plan your trip.

Where’s your favorite place to visit the dunes in Michigan? Share with us below and learn more on michigan.org.