Sleeping Bear Dunes-Empire, MI

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore


As a child I heard the legend of Sleeping Bear multiple times. A mother bear and her two cubs were in Wisconsin trying to evade a raging fire. The Mother bear and her two cubs reached the shore of Lake Michigan, and being powerful swimmers, they decided to swim across Lake Michigan. As the Mother reached the shore she saw her two cubs struggling in the water. She watched as one was overcome by the waves and the second one. The mother rested on the dunes for days watching where her cubs had died. Moved by this sadness Gitche Manitou raised two islands where the cubs perished, North Manitou and South Manitou.

What Is There To Do?

Today, the Sleeping Bear Dunes is a place that attracts travelers from all over the world. In just my small three day trip there, I met families from Italy, Germany, and China. Being from Michigan, we hold great pride in our state’s history and legends, passed down from generation to generation. It was apparent this weekend, as I remembered the legend of Sleeping Bear while standing on the shoreline. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has a little something for everyone. For the hikers there are several dunes to climb. The Heritage trail is great for a short stroll or a longer bike ride. Is physical exertion not your forte? (Believe me, I get it). Well, there’s the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive that can be done in your vehicle. There are several turnouts to park and take photos.

What else is around there?

If you prefer the small town feel you are in luck, just a simple Google search will lead you to several small towns to visit and stay. Traverse City  is a 40-minute beautiful ride away from the park, where you will have your picking of activities to explore.


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