Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes, "America's Most Beautiful Place," boasts good golf too
When I posted on my Facebook page that Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was in the running for “America’s Most Beautiful Place,” one cranky old friend sniped it might not be among the five most beautiful places in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Shame on him. Maybe because he lives closer to the dunes than most people I know has jaded his perspective. He obviously doesn’t appreciate their specialness.
Good Morning America viewers don’t share his cynicism, voting the dunes – a 35-mile swath of breathtaking Lake Michigan coastline, towering sand dunes, sparkling waters, deep forests, islands and wildlife – the winner in the competition. ABC interviewed celebrity chef Mario Batali, who vacations on the Leelanau Peninsula, to trumpet the wonders of the dunes. A shortlist of destinations—among them, Cape Cod, Mass.; Aspen, Colo.; Sedona, Ariz.; Lanikal Beach, Hawaii; and Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.—inspired more than 100,000 people to cast votes.
“To be singled out is an incredible honor, especially when you consider the competition,” says Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitor’s Bureau spokesperson Jamie Jewell.
I’ve only been to the dunes three times in my life, and each visit was a magical discovery. I can’t wait until my children are old enough to make the arduous several mile hike over the dunes to the shores of Lake Michigan. Right now, trudging through all that sand is just too much for their little legs.
Golfers can enjoy these mammoth sand traps, too. The Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor features multiple golf experiences in the heart of dune country: a Dave Pelz Scoring Game School, a scenic par-3 course called Mountain Flowers and the newly renamed and revamped Manitou Passage Golf Club in nearby Cedar. The former King’s Challenge, an Arnold Palmer playground, has been restored to its former glory.
The Homestead’s wonderful shoreline playground (see below), complete with tennis courts, a pool and hottub and narrow sandy beach, showcase the beauty of the region.
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