Sleeping Bear Dunes

Four relaxing days camping and exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes plus a day trip to Traverse City.

Day 1: Arriving at Sleeping Bear Dunes

We didn’t have too much trouble getting to the Platte River campground, thanks to Google maps showing us a way to bypass downtown Traverse City. We checked in and dropped off the trailer, then headed over to get firewood. We got lucky; the guys were there loading up the vending machine (yes, a firewood vending machine!), so we bought it straight from them and they helped us load it. Then we went up to the canoe rental back at the main road for ice.

Probably the easiest leveling of the trailer ever, since it was on asphalt that was almost perfect to start with. We then drove down to check out the beach. Pretty much like I remember it. The Platte River flows into Lake Michigan right there at the beach. There was a school group there, so it was pretty noisy.

We drove to Beulah to find a grocery store but there wasn’t one, so we ended up eating at the Cherry Hut, an old landmark restaurant in the area. Cherry pork BBQ with mashed potatoes, veggies, soup, salad, dinner and cinnamon roll, and dessert (cherry pie a la mode and cherry chocolate brownie with ice cream and hot fudge). Way too much food, but it was good! Bought creamer and an onion for soup at the market next door. The woman knew exactly why we needed the creamer!

Day 2: Empire Bluffs hike and Sleeping Bear sightseeing

We went hiking, after finishing our cherry pecan bread for breakfast. We did the Empire Bluffs hike, which was very nice and not terribly difficult.

We followed that with the Pierce Stocking scenic drive, which offered additional views. We stopped to look at the dune climb, but didn’t climb it, because been-there-done-that, and drove up to Sleeping Bear Point. We’d planned to do the trail there too, but the road was closed.

At one overlook they had signs clearly stating not to climb down the dunes, which really are steep. We don’t know if these people down at the bottom missed the signs, but we didn’t like their chances of making it back to the top since they look they’re struggling and they’ve barely started. (If you zoom in on the last photo you can see them down near the shore.)

So we drove over to Glen Arbor looking for groceries. We decided it was too hot to do soup, so we bought hotdogs and expensive ground chuck, along with more IPA, because we were out. So tonight we’re doing the Perrin IPA flight, only full size.

Stopped off at camp for swimsuits and went down to the beach. We waded around and Steve immersed himself. I sat in the shallow water. It was much quieter than yesterday when the school group was there. Steve was complimented on his stone-skipping skills.

Day 3: Traverse City

We drove into Traverse City for the day. We did some shopping and walking around and hit Sleders for lunch to see if it was the way Steve remembered it. It was.

Day 4: Relaxing at the beach and in camp

On our last day, we got firewood to make sure we had it, then went back down to the beach for a while first in the sun and then in the shade. We got bothered by the flies for a little while and enjoyed the plovers on the beach. There were a lot more people there but still not too crowded. We went to the store in Honor and bought some beer and burger and lunch meat so we have lunches for today and for the drive home tomorrow. The store had a great selection of beer, one of the best ever, and prices were more reasonable than Glen Arbor. Then we came back to camp and just kind of sat around for a while. We hooked up the trailer so it was ready to go and one less thing to deal with tomorrow when we head for home!


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We love this campground. And so does everyone else, so book early! This is a national park campground. Nice paved sites for trailers, yet still plenty of space for a tent or screen room. Short drive to a nice beach where the Platte river enters Lake Michigan, and to the rest of Sleeping Bear dunes. About 30 minutes from Traverse City. 


There aren’t many dining options nearby other than The Cherry Hut but there are plenty in Traverse City.

The Cherry Hut
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Entrees can be ordered dinner style (with soup, salad, dinner roll, cinnamon roll, entree, vegetables, potato AND dessert) or lunch style with fewer options. Cherries are featured, of course!
Sleders Family Tavern
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Charming old place with good wet burrito and nachos. I've had better meals but the atmosphere is hard to beat. Not far from downtown.


There is no public transportation in the area. We were towing our trailer so we had our own vehicle.