Last Updated on May 5, 2023

The state of Michigan is home to many incredible sand dune systems and national parks which are especially popular with trail hikers.

Imagine a place where the horizon stretches for miles and the sand is so deep it feels like you are sinking into it. That’s what makes dunes such amazing landscapes – they are always changing, adapting to the shifting sands and winds.

From small hills covered in bright golden dunes to huge expanses of bluish gray cliffs, Michigan has some of the most beautiful sand dunes in North America.

There are over 300,000 acres of sand dunes in the state, mostly in the sandy beaches around Lake Michigan, and most of them are worth a visit.

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore site offers some of the most beautiful dunes in North America and attracts thousands dune climbing enthusiasts every year, while the Silver Lake sand dunes and Warren dunes are two of the best spots for sand surfing in Michigan.

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List of Sand Dunes in Michigan

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes – Empire

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a United States National Lakeshore Park located along the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan in Leelanau and Benzie counties near Empire, Michigan.

The Dune Climb is a main tourist attraction, with people attempting to climb the dune in order to reach a spectacular view of Glen Lake.

Unfortunately, sandboarding is not allowed at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, but you can sled down the dunes in winter when they are covered in snow.

Access to the park costs $8 for a day pass.

Dune Climb - Sleeping Bear Sand Dune Michigan

Silver Lake Dunes – Mears

Silver Lake State Park is a public recreation area covering 2,936 acres (1,188 ha) that bordesr Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, four miles (6.4 km) west of Mears in Oceana County, Michigan.

It is a popular spot for hiking, camping, sand duning and sandboarding.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes - Lake Michigan

Read more: Sandboarding at Silver Lake State Park

North Ottawa Dunes

Wonderful hiking trails for nature lovers, filled with sand dunes, forrests, stair paths and breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. The North Ottawa Dunes dunes are covered in vegetation and get covered in snow in winter.

North Ottawa Dunes Lake Michigan

Warren Dunes State Park – Sawyer

Warren Dunes State Park is a 1,952-acre (7.90 km2) Michigan state park, located along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in Berrien County.

The park’s large sand dunes and lakeshore beaches make it one of the most popular of Michigan’s state parks with an average of about one million visitors annually. It is a popular destination for adventure sport seekers thanks to the easy access to its dunes.

Warren Dunes State Park

Read more: Sandboarding at Warren Dunes

Saugatuck Dunes – Saugatuck

Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a public recreation area covering 1,000 acres (400 ha) on the shore of Lake Michigan between Saugatuck and Holland in Allegan County, Michigan. The park also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping and fishing.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Grand Sable Banks and Dunes – Munising

These Michigan dunes are an example of what is known as a perched dune system, which are dunes formed atop an existing bluff (the Grand Sable Banks).

The best place to view the Grand Sable Dunes is from the trail that begins at the west end of the Sable Falls parking area.

This trail leads through an old field, then crosses a bridge over Sable Creek. It then ventures into the forest and dunes transition area for approximately 1/4 mile. Wayside exhibits are located along the trail.

Grand Sable Banks Log Slide - Sand Dunes of Michigan

Arcadia Dunes – Arcadia

Part of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Arcadia Dunes, GTRLC’s largest preserve, includes over 15 miles of trail to explore dunes, forests and many other landscapes. Visitors will find countless varieties of plants and animals, as well as spectacular views of Lake Michigan.

Arcadia Dunes - Sand Dunes of Michigan

Sand Dunes Beach – Moran

The Moran Township is located in the Upper Peninsula on the shores of Lake Michigan, where Sand Dunes Beach is located.

The public beach is suitable for swimming and spans approximately 1 mile along Lake Michigan’s northern coast. There are no facilities nor parking available at the site.

Sand Dunes Beach Moran

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