Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Camping Overview

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Beachgoers in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Beachgoers in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (courtesy, National Park Service)

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore Highlights

  • Claim a site at the large, developed D.H. Day Campground west of Glen Arbor for wooded sites and quick access to both the shore and the popular Dune Climb. Families should take advantage of the ranger programs offered in the evenings, which focus on local history and environmental issues.
  • Head to Leland, north of the mainland park, to catch the ferry for South and North Manitou Islands. The rugged islands across a historic shipping channel offer some of the best camping opportunities at Sleeping Bear.
  • Popple Campground at the north end of South Manitou Island may be the best campsite in the state of Michigan. Though banned campfires are a downer, the seven sites are well spaced-out and afford impressive views of Lake Michigan and North Manitou. All it takes is a ferry ride and a 3.5-mile hike.
  • Backcountry camping is the law of the land on North Manitou. Keep your distance from the trail and water sources, and abide by the fire prohibition. The area around Swenson's Barn on the island's west end offers the best lake views and water access.

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Platte River and D.H. Day campgrounds are open from spring to fall on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact the park for exact dates. D.H. Day has water and vault toilets. Platte River has showers, flush toilets, water, and some sites with electrical hookups. Camping is limited to 14 days. A fee is charged. Groups can reserve campsites at a group campground near Glen Lake Picnic Area or at Platte River Campground.

Backcountry camping is permitted at White Pine Campground along the Platte Plains Trail and at Valley View Campground north of Glen Arbor. Campers can obtain a free backcountry camping permit at the D.H. Day Campground Visitor Center or the District Ranger Stations.

North and South Manitou Islands, accessible by passenger ferry from Leland, provide extensive opportunities for hiking and backpacking.

To make a campground reservation, call 800-365-CAMP (2267).

Reservation Hours of Operation

Daily: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Time
Reservation Center CLOSED Christmas and New Year's Day

If you are calling from outside the U.S. or Canada, please dial 301-722-1257. The TDD number for the hearing-impaired is 888-530-9796.

The National Park Reservation Service (NPRS) and the National Park Service (NPS) have implemented a reservation window to make booking your camping reservations more convenient. On the 15th of each month, campers will have access to an entire month of available start dates—up to three months in advance—except Katmai National Park. You may book reservations as late as one day prior to arrival, subject to availability.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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