Spring is beginning to emerge following a hard winter during our mid-May visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, situated on the northwestern shore of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Young green grasses are poking out from the drab browns of winter, trees are beginning to leaf out, and the warm sun cuts through the chilly air.
The weather is ideal for a drive through the park with maybe a short hike or two. We stop at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, Michigan, and discover that the 7.4 mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive will give us that exact experience. We’ll visit not only the dunes along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, but also smaller inland lakes surrounded by sandy dunes and grassy bluffs.
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So off we start, and wouldn’t you know it, we take a wrong turn before we even get to Stop Number 1. We end up at what is supposed to be one of the last tour stops, the North Bar Lake Overlook. But we stay, hike along the shore and up over a nearby sand dune.
As usual, we linger too long, time flies by, and we have to abandon our drive before it’s finished. We’re leaving for home that day, so we still have a five hour drive ahead of us. I’m not disappointed, though. It only means we’ll have to come back to finish what we started. Next time, though, it will be in the summer, when we can splash in the water instead of just taking pictures of it.
Be sure to check out our new road trip blog, U.S. Long Cuts.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes Philip A. Hart Visitor Center is located on M-72 just east of the intersection with M-22 in Empire, Michigan. Check the web site for details, including a Pierce Stocking Virtual Tour.
Disclosure: Our visit to Michigan was hosted by Traverse City Tourism. However, any opinions expressed in this post are strictly mine.
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