Spread over 2,000 acres, Silver Lake Sand Dunes of Michigan, USA, is equally famous among adventurous thrill-seekers and nature lovers.
The dunes of Michigan are one of the largest freshwater dunes systems in the world, which started forming during the Ice-age. These active dunes keep moving, a reason their size and structure change continuously.
These acres of magnificent honey-colored beauty attract millions of tourists across the world every year.
Things To Do in Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Silver Lake Sand Dunes are sandwiched between Ludington and Muskegon across the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Its three sections are designated for various recreational activities.
The northern section is designated for dunes rides. These include ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles) rides, UTVs (Utility Terrain Vehicles) rides, motorcycle rides, and sandboarding.
The middle section is reserved for hikers & bike trails. The Mac Wood Dune Family Rides reserve the southern area for those who aren’t up for adventurous rides.
Towns enclosed by it – Pentwater, Hart, and Mears- are perfect for relaxation after a long day of hiking or enjoying dune rides.
Open for tourists between April 1st to November 1st. There are more than enough activities available to keep their adrenaline level high and make their stay memorable.
1. Dune Rides
Tourists are allowed to bring their ORVs (off-road vehicles), or they can rent them here. Rides for adrenaline junkies are – ATVs rides, UTVs rides, motorcycle rides, and sandboarding.
For tourists who want to admire the vista, 7-miles of Mac Wood Dune buggy rides are available for 40 minutes. Accessible for both mobility-impaired people & pregnant mothers, this is perfect for the panoramic ride.
Hiking through the sand is obviously hard but scaling these vast golden-colored expanses is worth the effort.
The hiking trails, which are well marked, will take you through the dunes and Lake Michigan to the historic Sable Point Lighthouse. From there, you follow back your trail to reach the original point.
3. Water Activities
Silver Lake is the hub for water activities such as – jet-skiing, surfing, parasailing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing, powerboating, etc. Or soak up the sun by the glittering sandy beach.
4. Festive Activities
Several annual festivals are organized from April to November when Silver Lake Sand Dunes opens. A perfect way to relax with yummy food after trekking and dune rides.
Choose your visiting month by aligning with these wonderful & exciting events to make your vacation extra- special.
Some of the standouts are –
- Local lighthouses open for tours (May)
- Offshore Classic Fishing Tournament, Ludington, (July)
- Ludrock Music Festival, (July)
- West Shore Art Fair, Ludington, (July)
- National Asparagus Festival of Oceana County, Shelby & Hart, (June)
- Oceana County Fair, (August)
- Apple BBQ Cook-Off Festival, Silver Lake (September)
- Octoberfest, Ludington (September)
- Oktoberfest, Pentwater (October)
- Manistee Ghost Ship, (October)
- Fall Events, (October)
- Ludington “Aglow on the Avenue” Christmas Parade, (November)
Popular Local Spots To Wine & Dine
Any vacation is incomplete without trying out the local cuisines. So here are some of the popular & delicious ones.
1. BC Pizza, 2327 N. Comfort Dr., Hart, MI
Reputedly known amongst locals as “Hometown Handmade Gourmet,” BC Pizza is making these cheesy delights since 1988. You can choose from many dining options like dine-in, order take-out or drive-through.
Besides their gourmet pizza, they also have other dining options such as – pasta, subs, appetizers, desserts. They also serve specials like pizza bowls, quesadillas, Calzones, and wet burritos.
So knock yourselves out with their delicious Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Carnivore’s Feast Pizza, and drink of your choice.
2. La Probadita Mercado & Taquerta, 19 S. State St., Hart, MI
This food joint is a hidden gem famously known for its Gorditas (a Mexican dish made with corn masa and fillings of your choice). All their ingredients come really fresh.
If you want to have a truly authentic experience, don’t forget to try it.
3. Chicken Shack, 8301 W. Hazel Rd., Silver Lake, MI
Love your wings! You won’t like to miss their best wings.
Enjoy your helpings at their outdoor sitting area while enjoying the live music. They organize it every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For drinks, they also have a full bar.
4. Whippy Dip, 591 N. 18th Ave., Silver Lake, MI
Whippy Dip is a famous landmark located near MacWoods Dunes Rides. Enjoy their popular burgers and offerings such as – soft & hard ice cream, subs, coney dogs, and sandwiches before or after your MacWood rides.
5. Woodland Farm Market and Bakery, Shelby, MI
Who doesn’t love baked goodies! This family-run bakery should be a must-stop on your list. They make everything from their donuts, award-winning pies, apple fritters from scratch.
Pick up their specialties of homemade jelly & jams, local maple syrup to enjoy at your home.
6. Fox Barn Winery, 500 S. 18th Ave., Shelby, MI
Located 1.5 miles south of Silver Lake Sand Dunes, this farmland has been in the family for 5 generations. But winery was only established in 2008.
Enjoy wine flights with their barn bites platter of cheese, crackers & meat. You have the choice of opting for their antique barn indoors or the outdoor patio. They also organize Live Music every Friday.
Vanishing Sand Dunes of Michigan
The extreme weather condition in which Michigan’s Sand Dunes has been formed during the Ice-age will not return. So if these dunes keep depleting, one day, it will be all gone.
The main cause of this ecological depletion is Mining. Quartz in major proportion in the dunes is essential for making car moldings, airplane & railway parts, and glassmaking.
Michigan stood at 3rd rank in industrial sand mining. The mining rate was reduced considerably in 2020. However, relentless mining, even on a small scale, would leave Michigan with a lot fewer dunes.
Exactly 79,915,114 tons of sand have been mined between 1978 and 2020. All of these dunes gone are never going to be replaced.
So, when you plan your next trip to Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Michigan, don’t forget how they came into existence. Respect that and enjoy an unforgettable stay in the sprawling lap of the golden-colored beauty.