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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Hit the Peninsulas in Traverse City


5. Oddball Day

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park features an unspoiled beach on Lake Michigan.  

Take a break from eating and drinking to experience the area’s natural beauty. Start the day downtown with handmade croissants, quiche, and lattes at family-run 9 Bean Rows Bakery. Then drive northeast to Leland, a small town near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park ($10 for a vehicle pass), a pristine 35-mile retreat with hiking trails, deserted beaches, and enormous sand dunes. Wander the weathered fishing shanties of Leland’s historic Fishtown, and pick up boxed lunches ($8.50) the Village Cheese Shanty. Next, drive south on the 7.4-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which offers a perfect overview of the park. Along the way there are various stopping points with great views of Glen Lake, towering sand dunes, and Lake Michigan. After a lunch break (there are picnic tables throughout, but you’ll have to carry your trash out of the park), take a hike on the hilly 2.8-mile Sleeping Bear Point Trail over sand dunes and through the woods, and if you time things right, you’ll make it to Pyramid Point before sunset. Make your way out of the park and finish your day in Suttons Bay at Martha's Leelanau Table, a cozy restaurant where, following the area’s ethic, everything is made from scratch using local ingredients.

Published on Sep 27, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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