Michigan is GORGEOUS!! We were so happy to have a chance to spend a few days at Sleeping Bear Dunes a few weeks ago. In classic form, Ryan stopped at any and all fruit stands we passed along the way.
We had a roadside picnic lunch at a rest stop in Mesick on our way north. The kids loved that they got to wash their hands with water from a pump before getting back on the road.
We got to our motel in Empire with enough daylight left to explore some lookouts. The first one we stopped at had a view of Lake Michigan in one direction and Glen Lake in the opposite direction. Amazing!
The girls were good little dune climbers.
The beach in Empire was the perfect place to watch the sunset. The kids frolicked around in the sand until way past their bedtime. Vacations are fun.
The next day we did more exploring – starting with a trip to North Bar Beach. It’s off the beaten path enough that it’s typically not crowded. We got there early and had the entire beach to ourselves for 2 hours! It was picturesque and perfect in every way.
We had to hike quite far from where we parked to access this beach… walking around North Bar Lake and up and over a sand dune. Ryan dragged/carried our huge cooler all the way so we could eat lunch on the beach. In retrospect we would’ve left the cooler in the van and skipped lunch all together. The walk to get there was so worth it – the beach is unlike anything I’d ever seen. Ryan and I just kept saying, “Can you believe we are in Michigan right now?!?!”
Ruby made a collection of lake rocks which she strategically placed in a heart-shape in the tall dune grass by the beach. Northern Michigan is seriously one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been. There were some places in Australia that are comparable… but that’s kinda far away.
We changed out of our swimming suits and into some hiking clothes so we could check out Pyramid Point. The girls collected wildflowers along the trail.
It was only 2.7 miles, but pretty steep, so most of the hike was spent with no more than 4 of our 10 feet on the ground. I had Ruby on my back and Ryan carried Charlie in the backpack and held Clara at the same time. We were feeling adventurous and we knew the view from the top would be worth it!
I’m not usually a nervous nelly, but having toddlers running around at the top of this cliff turned me into one. I simply did not want to have to rescue whichever one threw herself over the edge… I will say it was super cool to look out and see North and South Manitou Islands in Lake Michigan.
Some clouds rolled in while we made our way back down the dune and we were so hot and filthy we decided to take a dip in Big Glen Lake before dinner. We found a cool little park with a public access dock. The northern water temperatures didn’t stop my crew from jumping in.
After grabbing a quick dinner in Glen Arbor we went back to the beach. This is vacation you know.
Have I mentioned how amazing the sunsets are at the beach in Empire?
Ruby, Clara and Charlie swam in their clothes, raced down the beach, splashed in the surf and rolled around in the sand until it was dark out.
This last picture is a perfect end to our vacation. Ryan carried our soaking wet children back to the van while they giggled their heads off. Our little trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes was one of the best times we’ve ever had as a family. I’m so thankful for Ryan, for our little family and for the amazing time we had together.