Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Most Beautiful Place in America

Deciding on the most beautiful place in America is quite subjective, but Good Morning America did vote Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes as number one back in 2011. Having been there a number of times myself, I'd have to say it's definitely tops when it comes to natural beauty. There aren't many places, if any, like it. Seeing the giant dunes climb out of a big blue lake is pretty amazing. Describing these places can sometimes be difficult for me, so I hope the pictures help a little.

Sleeping Bear Dunes on a misty August afternoon

After all the years of being with my husband, we'd still not taken the time to see Sleeping Bear Dunes during any Michigan trips. I'd always wanted to take him, so we made sure to visit on our trip this summer. Plus, we purchased a National Park pass back when we visited the Grand Canyon in May. We had no excuses to not see it this time around, and I wanted to stamp our son's National Park passport as well. He's already racked up an impressive number of stamps, and it's something that will be fun to continue over the years.

My dad joined us on our trip to the dunes. We left somewhat early in the morning for the drive to Empire, Michigan. It's a little more than 2 hours from the town where I grew up, so it's an easy day trip. Thankfully one of my good friends lent us their hiking pack for the week we were in Michigan. It made for the perfect ride for our little guy. We tried him in a pack before, and he hated it. Thank goodness he actually really enjoyed riding around in our borrowed pack. We're going to have to get one for hikes in Arizona!

 panoramic shot from above the dune climb

taking a break and eating a few snacks

While everyone else took a little rest, I decided I would tackle a taller dune and try to get a glimpse of Lake Michigan. From the dune climb area, it's quite a hike if you want to get all the way to the great lake. I did get a peek at it through the mist from atop a tall dune. It was a long ways away, but I saw it. The best part of climbing these dunes is running down them so quickly that your legs can barely keep up with your body. It's fun; I promise! I must have a thing for dunes, because back in 2010 I insisted on climbing the Great Sand Dunes in Alamosa, Colorado as well. Climb on, I say!

my dad and us... glad we brought some sand toys

no joke... this is a very steep climb

After visiting the dune climb, we took a drive around Pierce Stocking scenic drive. From there, you can park in a pull off and it's a short walk to a dune that directly overlooks Lake Michigan. If you're short for time, this is a perfect spot to quickly experience some incredible views and get some pictures. We did just that.

 someone won't wear sunglasses... or hats

Pure Michigan

One day I hope to return and maybe even camp somewhere nearby. There's so much to see and do all around the Sleeping Bear Dunes, that a few hours hardly scrapes the surface. We really enjoyed our day at the dunes.

blue skies, green trees, and lots of sand

Do you have a favorite outdoor park? Even just a local one? I love getting outdoors. I think it's great for renewal and getting grounded again. Sometimes it's so easy to forget that we have these incredible places right out our front door. I'm looking forward to exploring more of Arizona, and I can't wait to return to the Sleeping Bear Dunes again!


  1. Wow, what gorgeous pictures! That sounds like such an amazing place! And so cool that your son has a National Park passport, I love that!

    1. Thank you! Sleeping Bear Dunes is such a special place. I hope we get to go agin. Yeah, I had no idea about the NP passport, but found it while browsing a gift shop. I think it's such a fun idea.

  2. I really need to make a point to make it up to Michigan... it is right above me, after all. And clearly, beautiful!

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