I’m about a month delayed in blog posts, here are some of our adventures from around August 25, 2015. For real time updates – follow us on Instagram!
After getting our fresh water tank fixed in Grand Rapids we felt like we had a new sense of freedom! We no longer needed a water hook-up which meant we could venture back into the state parks. We immediately headed north to Interlochen State Park. We picked this park because it was close to the popular Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – both were on our list to checkout!
We got to Interlochen State Park on a Saturday and it was packed with locals. But the crowds didn’t bother us – we had been used to those in the private RV parks we’d been staying. I was just happy to be surrounded by mature trees that smelled like NATURE. Ahhh, the stress just melted away.
As soon as we got settled in our spot we had a park employee come by and invite us to a kid’s program down at the camp office. A park volunteer read a book about a lightning bug and then everyone got to make a glow-in-the-dark lightning bug to take home. The parks we’ve visited have had some amazing kid’s programs – all available for free.
While at Interlochen State Park it felt like it was our first chance to slow down and relax. We had been moving so quickly to get to Grand Rapids for the repair appointment that we were excited to spend a solid 5 days in one spot for the first time in awhile. The first couple days we did a lot of homeschool, hiking, grocery shopping and laundry.
After resting up those first couple days we headed to nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline. What an beautiful place this is. Huge hills (bluffs) covered with the softest white sand. It was spectacular to see.
We stopped at the Dune Climb and we immediately kicked off our shoes at the base of the hill and climbed up. The kids ran around like it was nothing – back and forth, up and down – for the adults it was a little more of a laborious journey. 🙂 But we climbed as a family all the way to the viewing spot. Running down was our favorite part. The kids rolled, jumped and slid down the hill – with smiles the entire time. We were there on a cool summer day so the sand wasn’t hot and the breeze made the trek up and down even more comfortable.
The view from the first plateau, the parking lot is just on the other side of the steep decline of sand. . .
The clouds had an ominous look to them, but it never did rain on us. We had such an amazing time playing in the dunes. Each one would have the same caption, “having a blast at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline. . . ”
This bench is one of the highest spots on the Dune Climb, about 450 feet up from the parking lot. It has peek-a-boo views of Lake Michigan.
The view from much higher up. The water was a magnificent color! We could have stayed here all day. The kids especially loved it.
After the Dune Climb, we headed to Glen Haven Historic Village and toured the working blacksmith shop, a general store and a cannery boathouse. At the blacksmith shop you can watch a blacksmith make metal parts, the general store has some fantastic exhibits inside and the cannery boathouse now serves as a museum of historic Great Lakes boats and maritime history.
The Glen Haven Blacksmith presentation was very impressive – the volunteers and staff were very knowledgeable about the trade and engaging to listen to.
Just down the road from historic Glen Haven is the Maritime Museum. You’ll find exhibits on the U.S. life-saving service, the U.S. coast guard and history of the Great lakes shipping industry.
Every day, during the summer, at 3 p.m. there is a re-enactment of an old-time shipwreck rescue using ropes and buoys called Heroes of the Storm. Both the kids volunteered to participate in the program. Liam was on night watch with his lantern. The crew to far left was out to sea needing to be rescued!
Ranger Sarah did an amazing job organizing the kids to conduct a rescue using ropes, buoys and primitive techniques to pull the stranded to safety. The kids LOVED it.
After everyone cleared out from the demonstration, the kids stuck around and got their Junior Ranger badges from Ranger Sarah. They had done so much to earn it – toured the Visitor’s Center, climbed the dunes, toured the museums and the historic village and participated in a ranger program!
Both Liam and Hadley were given certificates for being Honorary Surfman for their participation in the Ranger Program, Heroes of the Storm.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was amazing. Like nothing we’d ever seen before. The dunes were so much fun, especially for our kids who saw them as a huge playground/sandpit. This lakeshore is definitely worth the trek to northern Michigan – I’m so glad we included it in on our route.
The next day we explored Traverse City, Michigan. We drove out to the Mission Point Lighthouse, had Cherry Pie (and cherry-flavored coffee!) at Traverse City Cherry Republic location, enjoyed some local fudge and enjoyed the charming downtown shops!
This won’t be the last of the fun we have in Michigan, from here we head to Mackinac Island. . .
Have you been to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or Traverse City? We’d love to hear about the fun you had here!