Located near Traverse City, Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The recreational area beckons visitors with its 60-plus miles of beaches, coves and inlets, and its towering sand dunes.
The anniversary festivities got underway in January with the Hibernation Celebration and will continue throughout the year. A number of special events, programs, and panel discussions are in the works leading up to the founding date in October.
During a visit to the park, travelers can explore everything from the iconic lighthouse and the 400-foot dunes to lush forests and inland lakes. They can go on tours of on-site farmsteads and a historical maritime village, which detail the lives of the area’s early residents.
Another popular option is the park’s astronomy programs that take place monthly from April through October. The stars shine bright over the coastal dunes, and park rangers and members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society educate attendees on the mysteries of the night sky.
The winter months offer a different experience, with the featured program being snowshoeing tours. The guided walks are available on Saturdays from January to mid-March, and separate sessions are offered for beginners and experts.
The 71,000-acre site draws about 1.1 million visitors a year, and it welcomed its 50 millionth visitor in August 2019.
For more information, go to nps.gov/slbe.
Top photo: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Photo by Flickr/Dustin May: bit.ly/36CfLEm