We recently traveled to Michigan with our family for the summer. Here is our Sleeping Bear Dunes engagement session. Traverse City and the surrounding area is one of the most magical places in the summer. It truly is a national treasure.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
According to Sleepy Bear Dunes website: Sleeping Bear Dunes, “With over public 100,000 votes, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named the “Most Beautiful Place in America” on ABC’s Good Morning America.” I can’t disagree. This summer, we traveled all over the United States and Sleepy Bear Dunes is breath taking. If you haven’t been, plan your next summer vacation there.
Sleeping Bear Dunes is located in the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It is about 25 miles west of Traverse City. Traverse city was incorporated in 1895. It is known for the annual National Cherry Festival and one of my all time favorite locations. The fun summer activities in Northern Michigan are some of my families favorite. There is nothing better than renting a boat and tubing on Glen Lake or tubing down Lake Michigan.
The weather in July is around high 70s during the day and low 60s at night. I recommend bringing a light jacket if you are there to watch sunset. We are from Florida, so 60 is freezing to us. When you arrive, like any national park, there is a fee to get in unless you have a pass. Passes cost $20 per vehicle. There address is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Maple City, MI 49664. From Empire, go on M-22 north for 2 miles to M-109, next go left on M-109 for 2 miles. The phone number is 231-326-4700.
According to the National Park Website,
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
Hours: Open May through mid-November, weather dependent, 9:00 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset.”
Once you arrive make sure to take the map at the entrance. The scenic drive has 12 trails and the speed limit is about 20 MPH. You will be on a 7.4 mile very scenic loop road. You will overlook Glen Lake, Lake Michigan, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes along the drive. Once you go forward, you can not go back. During winter, trail 6 and 9 are unusable. There are restrooms along the way. You also want to make sure you leave enough time to get to the correct trail for sunset.
When we arrived for sunset we had two cars, our car and our clients’. There was seriously only two parking spots available. We are lucky we arrived when we did.
Walking the Dunes
The top of the Sand Dune is about 450 feet from Lake Michigan. You are able to walk all around at your leisure but, I do not recommend going to the bottom of the bluff. You will have to walk back to the top. There are no easy stairs or escalator to take back up. There is also a picnic area at the bottom if you do decide to walk down. It will take you about 3-4 hours, so plan your time correctly. The sand can be very hot, so make sure to wear the correct foot wear. You can bring a pet with you to certain parts as well, but they must have a leash on them. I also highly recommend bringing drinks and snacks with you if you plan to stay there for some time.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes Engagment Session
Our couple is getting married in South Florida, however since we travel so much, we sent them our travel dates in case they wanted to do an engagement session in a unique location. If you have been following us for a while, you know we typically leave Florida with our family for the summer to photograph weddings in other parts of the country. You can find out our travel dates by filling out the contact form or calling us directly at (561) 247-4439. Also, if you are one of current awesome brides, just ask, and we can send our travel dates to you as well.
When we first started chatting with Elizabeth and Curtis they mentioned that they would be in Michigan at the same time as us. We told them about a location we had in mind and they were excited as well. They traveled about two hours to meet us for their Sleeping Bear Dunes engagement shoot with their wonderful family. It was like a small adventure on a beautiful late July day.
We stopped at about 3 to 4 trails before arriving at the sunset location. They were troopers and hiked all over the dunes with us. It was well worth it. When you look at the pictures of our Sleeping Bear Dunes engagement shoot below, you will understand how beautiful the location is. We think it’s spectacular. We decided for our photo session to stay at the top of the Dunes at trail nine and ten. The weather was amazing and luckily we were treated to a breathtaking sunset.
We love this locations so much and can’t wait to go back next summer. To see more of our engagement sessions click here: Danny and Michelle or click here Wedding planning tips if you are looking for tips when planning your wedding. You can find out if we’re available to photograph your wedding or engagement session by filling out the contact form or calling us directly at (561)247-4439.