These steep slopes of sand rise as high as 460 feet above the blue waters of Lake Michigan. The dunes are among the largest in the world, matched only by those in Colorado, the Sahara, and Saudi Arabia. You'll huff and puff your way to the top -- it’s quite a climb -- but it's worth it to tumble, run, or cartwheel down the soft, sandy slope.
Enjoy a picnic lunch and relax after your climb. You'll probably spot some hang gliders who like to launch from the dunes' peaks. The waters of Lake Michigan are a very short walk from the bottom of the dunes and are a great place to linger for a swim or a picnic until you muster the energy to go up ... and down again.
While the dunes are a popular attraction in this protected area, the entire 35-mile stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands, are worth a visit.