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Hey! We are two Michiganders with adventurous souls looking to explore the beauties and wonders of this spectacular world. Our mission is to provide you with budget-friendly itineraries that inspire and encourage you to get outside, eat delicious foods, and enjoy high-quality brews. Ultimately, there are three key ingredients to any amazing trip: 

Noms, Brews, & Views.

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  • Writer's pictureJ&L

7 Incredible Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Updated: Jul 7


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches


Below outlines 7 of our favorite beaches at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Whether looking for beaches with the best swimming spots, easy access points, seclusion, or incredible sunsets, we have the beach for you!


Table of Contents

Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

MOST ADVENTUROUS

Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

EASY ACCESS / FAMILY FRIENDLY

Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

MOST SECLUDED

Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

BEST SUNSETS




Most Adventurous


1. Sleeping Bear Dunes Beach


Accessing this beach is an adventure. Climb 1.8 miles through rolling dunes and an incredible biome via the Dune Climb Trail. This hike is unlike anything you may be used to as it navigates through such a unique biome of sand and flora. We do not recommend dragging a cooler & beach gear the entire way. Pack a light backpack with a towel and your favorite book.


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Spend some time at one of Michigan's most gorgeous beaches to reward yourself after this difficult hike. Without trees overhead, be prepared for sun the entire way. Protect yourself with UVA & UBV blocking sunglasses, sunscreen, & a hat. The parking lot of the Dune Climb Trail is home to one of Sleeping Bear's largest dunes. Kids & families picnic at the base of this dune and spend the day climbing and tumbling down without even attempting the hike to the beach. If you are up for the adventure, we highly recommend you experience this breathtaking northern Michigan beach!


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Tip: Protect yourself with UVA & UBV blocking sunglasses, sunscreen, & a hat


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

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2. Paterson Beach


Paterson beach has two different levels of adventure. The first is by taking the 1-mile gravel road down Paterson Rd to reach the road-side parking and minimal facilities. The second is when camping at Platte River Campground. The campground has several trails that lead to secluded beaches from the campground, both around a mile to access the beach. The views, like Paterson Beach slightly north, are incredible with picture-perfect white sand, beautiful stones and lovely driftwood.


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Tip: Easily accessed from our suggested lodging location at Platte River Campground


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Also Read: Pictured Rocks Kayaking Adventures


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches


Easiest Access/Family Friendly


1. Good Harbor Bay


With a long sandy beach, crystal clear waters, and a fully paved road leading right up to a large parking lot with facilities, this is probably the most popular beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Enjoy the view of the Manitou Islands while watching kids slash in the waters and collect beautiful stones. This beach is a great place to spend the day and end with a campfire at sunset. Good Harbor Bay Beach is located on the northern tip of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park off of Good Harbor Trail along M22.


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Also Read: Sleeping Bear Dunes Complete Guide


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

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2. Glen Haven Beach


Located in the quaint and historic town of Glen Haven, this beach is located alongside the Cannery Boat Museum (free entry!). With plenty of history and informational signage, this beach adds an appreciation for a historic village to your travels. With parking seconds from the beach and facilities available within the General Store, this is a family-friendly beach that is easy to access and enjoy.


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Tip: Free entry into the Cannery Boat Museum


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches


Most Secluded


1. Esch Road Beach


Located on the southern side of Sleeping Bear Dunes, Esch Road Beach provides views of the gorgeous Platte Bay. Esch Road Beach is at the mouth of Otter Creek, which allows for more adventures as you wade in the warmer waters and hike up the creek to see beautiful wildflowers. A wonderful swimming beach protected from higher waves in the Platte Bay, this beach usually has far less crowds than Glen Harbor and is still very family friendly with basic facilities and parking a short distance from the beach.


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Also Read: Mackinac Island Complete Guide


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

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2. Port Oneida Beach


Port Oneida Beach is located on the southern side of the park, just past Glen Arbor and on your way to Pyramid Point Trail. From S Port Oneida Rd, veer south on S Lane Rd and travel the dirt road 0.3 miles till the very end. With minimal parking and facilities, you could have Port Oneida Beach completely to yourself. Behind the fence, there is an adventurous way down to the beach requiring you to jump down a small sand dune. To the left of the fence, there is a short hiking path that will allow you to gradually descend to the beach. Head here to cool off after one of Sleeping Bear's northern trails and enjoy the peacefulness and seclusion of this hidden gem.


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Hidden Gem: You will likely have this all to yourself!


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

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Best Sunsets


1. Platte River Pointe Beach


Located at the southern tip of Platte Bay and the end of Lake Michigan Rd, Platte River Pointe Beach is far more than just a beach for catching rays. As the place where the Platte River feeds into Lake Michigan, you will find may tubers, kayakers, and canoers beginning their journey along the Platter River. This is also the location of a public boat launch for boaters heading out onto Lake Michigan. However, we found this location to be PRIME for sunset watching. With the ability to walk around the point and gain multiple angles & views of the gorgeous warm colors reflecting off of Lake Michigan, Platter River Ponte Beach takes the prize for the best Michigan sunset we have seen to this day.


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Also Read: Best Michigan Coffee Shops


Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

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Happy Adventuring!

J&L



Top 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes Beaches

Travel Planning Resources

Below are the resources we use to plan all of our trips, find great deals, and pack our bags with affordable gear. We received a small kickback whenever you purchase something through a link on our site. But rest assured, there is no additional cost to you. In fact, in some cases you even get a greater discount for shopping through NBV! A Win, Win!

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