Having lived in Michigan my entire life, I can't believe it took me this long to explore Silver Lake Sand Dunes located near Hart, Michigan. This tiny town built around Silver Lake, and nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, is the ultimate summer playground for all ages. The towering sand dunes are the real star of the show and there are so many ways to get out and explore them.
Disclaimer: Our trip was sponsored by Think Dunes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Where to Stay
Our home for the weekend was at Silver Sands Family Lodge. There was so much to love about this property including the pool, hot tub, playground and outdoor fire pits. However, the location really sold it for us. We were only a short drive away from all the best restaurants and actives we had planned throughout the weekend. The rooms were spacious and had nautical decor touches throughout. There was always plenty of parking (including extended spots if you're traveling with a trailer). The staff was so kind upon check in and were available to answer all of our questions and provide recommendations for the area.
Where to eat/Drink
Chicken Shack - You can't visit Silver Lake and not try the "best ever wings." We actually came here twice because we loved it so much. This restaurant is counter service and all seat yourself so don't let the lines scare you away - it moves very fast. You of course have to try their signature wings which come with a dry rub and the dipping sauce of your choice (and definitely live up to their name). We also loved the chicken chipotle dip. You can order drinks from their outdoor bar and enjoy them on the patio which overlooks the water at Craig's Cruisers. They also have live music on the weekends.
Golden Sands Bucket Bar - I know what you're probably thinking..a restaurant at a golf course?! But trust me, they are serving up some of the best pizza and garlic knots in the area. We tried the Pepperoni Ranch Twist which came with a drizzle of ranch on the pizza making my midwestern heart very happy. They also have a large drink menu with beer on tap and signature cocktails. Enjoy your meal on their large outdoor patio overlooking the golf course.
Whippy Dip - There is no shortage of ice cream joints to choose from in the area, but Whippy Dip is definitely worth the stop. They have a huge menu to choose from and are famous for their turtle sundae. I tried the glacier with blue raspberry slush which instantly brought me back to my college days. Behind Whippy Dip you’ll find Sippy Joes which was our favorite stop for breakfast serving up giant iced coffees and breakfast sandwiches.
Lighthouse Grill - Our Mac Woods Dune driver recommended this spot for lunch so we had to trust a local. Again, you might be surprised by the aesthetic of this restaurant as it’s located in a convenience store at a local campground. But they had great lunch specials and the fish sandwich and steak sub were both delicious.
Fox Barn Winery - Another fun stop if you’re looking for live music (on Friday nights). They have a great outdoor patio space with table service and lots of fruity wines and ciders to choose from. You can order a flight or by the glass. We loved the peach and cherry ciders!
Silver Lake Coffee Co. - A great place to fuel up before a long day of adventures. This walk up window is located near Silver Lake so you can enjoy your morning brew with a view. I’m all about iced coffee in the summer and they are famous for the Iced Silver Special which is served with chocolate, caramel, milk and whipped cream.
Where to play
Silverback Offroad Rentals - Rent ORVs for the ultimate thrill and rip through the biggest expanse of dunes east of the Mississippi! Silverback is located right outside the entrance to the State Park offering easy access to the dunes. They provide everything you need to have a fun, adventure-filled day including tips and tricks for beginners. Reservations are required by the hour and vehicles can fit 2, 4 or 6 people.
Mac Woods Dune Rides - For a more relaxed ride, head over to Mac Woods Dune Rides for a family-friendly adventure. This 40-minute, seven mile guided tour will take you over the dunes with views of Silver Lakeland and a stop at Lake Michigan to get out and dip your toes in the water. You’ll also learn a lot of unique history of the area from the guides. No reservations are required (except for groups of 20 or more) and tickets can be purchased on site mid-May through early-October.
Pedestrian Dune Area - Located between these two designated areas of dunes is the pedestrian section. Here you can climb up the dunes or sand board down them with rentals from the Sand Box. Great views and fun for all ages!
Little Sable Point Lighthouse - Built in the late 1870's this lighthouse stands tall along the shores of Lake Michigan. Open for daily tours you can climb to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the dunes and the shoreline. The lighthouse is easy to access from the dedicated parking lot on N. Lighthouse Drive (Michigan Recreation Passport required) and a short climb over the dunes. This is also a great place to catch a famous Pure Michigan sunset.
Wave Club Water Sports - If you're looking to get out on the water, Wave Club is the place to be. They are located right along Silver Lake with a dedicated parking lot offering rentals of ski and pontoon boats, wave runners, and stand up paddle boards. The staff here was so fun and they provide life vests and instructions so you feel confident heading out on the water. We rented a wave runner and had a blast cruising around the lake. You can also easily dock on the shores of the dunes to get out and explore or just relax and soak up the sun.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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