Spread over 2,000 acres, Silver Lake Sand Dunes of Michigan. The USA is equally famous among adventurous thrill-seekers and nature lovers.
The dunes of Michigan are one of the largest freshwater dune systems in the world. The formation of which began during the Ice Age. These active dunes keep moving, a reason their size and structure change continuously.
Millions of tourists flock every year to see these acres of honey-colored beauty.
1. Things to Do in Silver Lake Sand Dunes
The middle section is reserved for hikers & bike trails. Mac Wood Dune Family Rides reserve the southern area of the park for people who don’t like to adventure.
A dune ride or hiking in Pentwater, Hart, or Mears after a long day of hiking are great ways to relax.
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.
1.1. 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 hard but scaling these vast golden-colored expanses is worth the effort.
The well-marked hiking trails 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.
1.3. 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 on the glittering sandy beach.
1.4. 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)
2. Popular Local Spots to Wine and dine
Any vacation is incomplete without trying out the local cuisines. So here are some of the popular & delicious ones.
2.1. BC Pizza, 2327 N. Comfort Dr., Hart, MI
Reputedly known amongst locals as “Hometown Handmade Gourmet,” BC Pizza has been 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, and 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.
2.2. 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 fresh.
If you want to have a truly authentic experience, don’t forget to try it.
2.3. 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.
2.4. 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.
2.5. 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, and apple fritters from scratch.
Pick up their specialties of homemade jelly & jams, and local maple syrup to enjoy at your home.
2.6. 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 the 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.
3. Vanishing Sand Dunes of Michigan
The extreme weather conditions 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 in Silver Lake dunes. All of these West Michigan dunes are never going to be replaced.
4. Closing Thoughts
So, when you plan your next trip to Silver Lake 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.
Other places you can check out near the Silver Lake area are; Lake Michigan Beach, miniature golf, Mac Woods dune rides, and the 107′ Little Sable Point Lighthouse is located in the Silver Lake State Park, and it is open for tours from late May to late September. Rolling dunes, camping, hiking, fishing, and acres of forest make this park a vacation paradise, and even family-friendly off-road dune buggy rentals at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.