Sand Dunes

Area Status: Open

Sand dunes are a scenic part of the Michigan landscape, and can be found close to the present and past shoreline of the Great Lakes. To camp among the dunes, check out Lake Michigan Campground.

Passersby on the highway are treated to a view of Lake Michigan on one side, and tall sand dunes on the other side. As you admire the enormous dunes, imagine what the area looked like when lake levels were that high!

One particularly attractive dune area is found on the Hiawatha National Forest in the St. Ignace Ranger District, 8 miles west on US 2, from Pte. Aux Chenes to beyond the National Forest boundary.

Where to Park?

For your safety and the safety of other drivers, park only on the water-side of the highway.

Be Safe in the Water:

On a hot summer day hundreds of people use these beautiful sandy beaches, but please know there are no lifeguards and swimming is at your own risk.

  • Children must be accompanied at all times.
  • Please be aware of dangerous rip currents along the beaches.
  • There are educational signs on numerous access trails leading to the beach and lifesaving stations located along a 6 mile stretch of the beach equipped with life jackets, throw ropes and lifesaving rings.
  • Never swim alone.
  • The Great Lakes can be very cold, even in late summer; beware of hypothermia.
  • Check the weather often, it can change fast.

Important Reminders:

  • Stay on marked paths. Do not walk on sensitive plants.
  • Pack it in, pack it out, leave nothing behind.
  • Remove all trash from shore.
  • Glass of any kind is prohibited.
  • All pets must be on a leash.
  • Maintain control of your pet at all times.
  • Clean up after your pet.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Since dunes are so fragile, the Forest Service has a policy prohibiting motor vehicles and off-road vehicles (ORVs), from operating on these dunes. Your cooperation as an individual is essential to preserve them in an attractive, natural state both for us and for future generations to enjoy. Please, tread lightly on the dunes.
Closest Towns: St. Ignace

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information




Miles of sandy beach are available along the shores of Lake Michigan.

When the wind is in the south or southwest, large waves crash onto the sandy shores.

Riding these waves can be exciting and a lot of fun for all, but please remember there can be dangerous rip currents when the winds are high.

Lifeguards are not present.

Children, as well as adults, should be warned and watched carefully.

Children should always be accompanied by an adult.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities



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