It's been awhile since we've posted in this space.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, as with much of the world, we've been in quarantine at home over the past five months. No travel adventures to report here. We've postponed our much anticipated trip to Prague, Czech Republic that was booked for this past spring (hopefully to be still be rebooked for 2021) and, given the uncertainty of things to come, paused planning our dream trip to the Galapagos Islands next year. We hope everyone is staying safe and looking forward to the time we can travel internationally again.

After being at home all summer, we were desperate for a mental break / change of scenery and ultimately planned a weekend visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which is located within our home state of Michigan. This park stretches about 35 miles along Lake Michigan's eastern coastline and is known primarily for its forests, beaches, and (you guessed it) spectacular dunes. The park also includes the North and South Manitou Islands, a historic lighthouse, and other visitor attractions.

We spent our time here hiking to Empire Bluff, taking in the views along the Scenic Drive, and exploring a few of the many beaches while observing all the safety precautions and guidelines issued by our state government. We felt so renewed.

Accommodation: Cedar Ridge Cabins

Adventures: Empire Bluff Trail, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, Empire Beach, Esch Beach, Peterson Beach

1) Lake Michigan is both expansive and impressive.
2) The Scenic Drive met our craving for a dune experience without having to attempt the strenuous Dune Climb.
3) One of us could still remember The Legend of the Sleeping Bear from her childhood.
4) Michigan weather is unpredictable.

Notes on Beaches:
  • Empire Beach Village Park - Most convenient. This park is close to town and has easy beach access. Beach space is limited and rocky. There's a parking lot, which requires a small hourly fee. Picnic tables and bathrooms are available. Bring water shoes.
  • Esch Road Beach - Our pick. This beach is located further outside of town. There is easy parking along the road with a short walk to the area. The beach is spacious and sandy, but it's rocky along the water's edge. Bring water shoes.
  • Peterson Beach - Best views and beach / Least convenient. This is a secluded and sandy beach with beautiful views of Sleeping Bear Point and Empire Bluff. It's  located far outside of town and down a long, unpaved road. A short hike through dunes is required to reach the beach space. Limited parking. No water shoes necessary.
  • Other beaches available, but not visited, include Good Harbor Bay Beach, Bohemia Beach, Platte River Point, and Glen Haven Beach, among others.
Memorable Moments:
1) Getting caught in the rain on the Empire Bluff Trail.
2) Those panoramic views!
3) Watching people from the Lake Michigan Overlook struggling to climb up the bluff.
4) Walking along Esch Beach and skipping rocks.

Restaurant Picks:
163 S Benzie Blvd
Beulah, Michigan 49617

Jomo's Ice Cream
11539 Honor Hwy
Honor, MI 49640

1) Check the park website for alerts in effect.
2) Wear sunblock.

Next Time:
1) Trek other hiking trails and consider The Dune Climb.
2) Swim at Esch Beach.
3) Explore the Manitou Islands.
4) Paddle or float down the Platte River.


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