In 2011 The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named most beautiful place in America by Good Morning America. All it takes is one view from the top to see why. The Dune Climb offers plenty of pure, wind-blown sand for your climbing pleasure. There is a picnic area at the bottom and you can climb up the dunes for a view of Glen Lake. For those who have extra time and a lot of energy, take a hike through the dunes all the way to Lake Michigan. This may take as long as 3-4 hours, so take lots of water.
A visit to Glen Haven, the small village on the Lake Michigan shoreline, is a step back to a time when small villages and docks supplied fuel to steamers along the Great Lakes. Glen Haven is the best preserved cord wood station on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and perhaps the entire Great Lakes. Glen Haven was a company town and eventually diversified into farming, canning of fruit, and tourism. Besides the maritime museums, you can walk the Lake Michigan beach and search for Petoskey stones. Glen Haven has several hikes with stunning views and one entrance to the Heritage Trail.
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a hard-surfaced, non-motorized, multi-use trail planned to span 27 miles from the northern end of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at County Road 651 to the Leelanau/Benzie County line at Manning Road south of Empire. Currently the trail runs almost 22 miles between Empire and Bohemia Road, connecting to park attractions and the town of Glen Arbor along the way. Most of the trail is asphalt, but a 3-mile section which goes through the Port Oneida Rural Historic District north of Glen Arbor is crushed stone.
Empire Beach is a popular place to take children to the play area and to walk and sunbathe on the sugar sand. Several restaurants are nearby in the Village of Empire
The largest city nearby, 22 miles, Traverse City has a beautiful bay, beaches, activities, restaurants and shops in the downtown. Big box stores and malls can also be found there.
These small towns each have their own charm with shops, restaurants and beaches. There is a grocery store 4 miles away in Glen Arbor as well as kayak and bicycle rentals.