Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses a total area of about 71,000 acres of land located in both Benzie County and Leelanau County in the state of Michigan. The closest urban center to the National Lakeshore is Empire. To get to the park, you can use several highways including US 131 through Grand Rapids, US 31 along Lake Michigan, and the I-75, which runs the length of the state into the Upper Peninsula.
Once you get to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you will get to experience lots of attractive features that include diverse landscapes comprised of 35 miles of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, rugged bluffs that are about 460 feet above Lake Michigan, white sand beaches, massive sand dunes, beech-maple forests, birch-lined streams, and clear lakes.
The area is also home to two offshore wilderness island’s (North and South Manitou) that offer additional seclusion and serenity. Besides these attractions, there are several recreational activities that you can enjoy when you are at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Some of the activities include swimming, scuba diving, camping, hiking, boating, kayaking, fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snorkeling, campfire programs, ranger-led walks, and auto touring.
Amenities within the park to facilitate these activities include a picnic area, restaurant, restrooms, campgrounds, bathhouse, museum, visitor center, boat rental, boat ramp, and a self-guided tour/trail. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore management allows you and your dog to enjoy the park resources as long as you respect plants, wildlife, and other visitors in the park.
If you choose to bring your pooch along to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you must ensure that you observe the managements strict rules. Some of the more important rules include ensuring that you always maintain immediate control of your pooch and that you keep your dog either secured in an enclosure or leashed at all times.
You must also collect your dog’s solid waste and ensure that you are aware of the areas of the park that you can and that you cannot visit. Some of the no-dog/pet areas include most trails and campgrounds like the Platte River Campground or Railroad Grade trail north to Peterson Road and areas like the Glen Lake Picnic Area.