• Looking out at the lake

    Sleeping Bear Dunes

    National Lakeshore Michigan

Beaches

Esch Road Beach and Bluffs
The sandy beaches of the Lakeshore are some of the best swimming and picnicking beaches in the U.S. Some get crowded during the busy summer season, but with 65 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan, a short hike can almost always bring a visitor to their own quiet little swimming area. Lake Michigan’s water can be a bit chilly in June, but is a welcome relief during the hot parts of July and August. The water clarity has greatly increased over the past 10 years, probably due to the incredible filtering capabilities of the zebra mussel which have invaded the Great Lakes. You will find their shells on most beaches now, and care should be taken as these can cause a nasty cut to the bare feet of swimmers. The zebra mussel has benefited the Cladaphora algae, which can now be seen growing out into the deeper water and which often piles up along the shore due to wave action. At times, this algae can be a nuisance right at the beach edge, but is not a problem out in most of the swimming areas. This small distraction is soon overcome by the sound of the waves, the building of sand castles, the great breezes for kite flying, and the warmth of the sand after a swim.

Did You Know?

Inland Lakes

There are 21 inland lakes within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Explore one of these small lakes for a close-up view of some of the birds, mammals, and wildflowers protected there. By the way, the fishing is usually great! More...