Life’s A Beach: Announcing Pure Michigan’s 10-Day Instagram #BeachChallenge

Photo by Instagram user @jmwuokko

Photo by Instagram user @jmwuokko

UPDATE: Congratulations to Gina Ferwerda, winner of our Pure Michigan Instagram #BeachChallenge! Read about Gina’s winning entry and see 14 other photos that will get you dreaming of a perfect Pure Michigan beach day here.

From sparkling blue waters to the chance to reconnect with friends and family, Michigan’s beaches are as as diverse as they are beautiful!

As the summer beach season kicks into high gear, we, along with our partners at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), are excited to announce the launch of our 10-day Instagram #BeachChallenge!

We’re challenging our fans to share photos of their favorite Michigan beaches on Instagram to showcase the great variety of activities that travelers and residents can enjoy during a day at the beach in Pure Michigan. For each day of the 10-day challenge, fans will be asked to share photos that represent that day’s challenge topic.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow @PureMichigan on Instagram. If you don’t have an Instagram account, get started here.
  2. Take a photo of your favorite Michigan beach. Share your photo with us @PureMichigan using hashtags #PureMichigan #BeachChallege. Post your photo using Instagram, Twitter or our Pure Michigan Beaches gallery, and tell us the location of your photo in the caption! (On Instagram, be sure to include the hashtags in the photo description and not the comments section).
  3. Follow the link provided in the auto response.
  4. Complete the entry form and view your photo in the gallery.
  5. Check the challenge topic schedule below and get ready to share your next #PureMichigan #BeachChallenge photo.
  • June 20 – Favorite Beach to Catch a Sunrise or Sunset
  • June 21 – Favorite Dog-Friendly Beach
  • June 22 – Favorite State Park Beach
  • June 23 – Favorite Beach to Fly a Kite
  • June 24 – Favorite Beach for Watersports
  • June 25 – Favorite Beach for Fishing from a Shore or Dock
  • June 26 – Favorite Beach to Experience Clear Waters
  • June 27 – Favorite Beach to Take a Long Walk
  • June 28 – Favorite Beach to Hang Out with Family and Friends
  • June 29 – Favorite Beach to Watch Fireworks
Photo by Facebook Fan John McCormick

Photo by Facebook Fan John McCormick

All entries tagged with #puremichigan and #beachchallenge will be populated into the gallery on michigan.org. For each challenge topic, we’ll choose one daily winner to be featured on our Pure Michigan Instagram page and receive a Personal Sun Care Kit from the Pure Michigan Store.

At the end of the challenge, we’ll choose one grand prize photo from all entries received. The grand prize winner will have their photo featured across Pure Michigan social channels and receive an “Ultimate Pure Michigan Beach Day” prize package that includes a 24 oz Pure Michigan Water Bottle,  Beach Towel,  Tote Bag, Fire Pit,  Tackle Box, Fishing Lure Kit,  Ice Berg Cooler,  Fun Bucket with Shovel and Personal Sun Care Kit.

The grand prize winner will be announced during the week of July 1, 2014.

View the official contest rules here.

Happy Instagramming! We’re so excited to see our fans’ spectacular photo submissions!

Where is your favorite Pure Michigan beach? 

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.