Camping @ Sleeping Bear Dunes Part 1: Beach and Cherry Republic

I’m so excited to share with you our camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes in norther Michigan! We went for the 4th of July week over the summer and we were really excited to explore the area. We set out with big plans but ended up just taking it easy and playing it by ear.

We originally wanted to check out the Cherry Festival in Traverse city but having the dog with us, I didn’t feel great leaving her in the camper for more than 3 hours, even with AC. We did have a monitoring system set up that had both motion and sound detector that gave us reports of the temperature, in case the AC went out, but I still was unsure.

The drive took 8 hours from the Chicago area. Google maps says it takes 5.5 but we were towing our camper. We also had a trailer tire blow out when we were just an hour from the campgrounds. My husband is a life saver and was able to change the tire. This was our first blowout and it was a little scary being on the side of a busy highway with cars flying by us and shaking everything. Amazingly, the kids didn’t get too fussy and I broke into the marshmallow stash that we were saving for s’mores to keep them happy.

We arrived at camp in the late afternoon and once we set everything up we took a drive down the gravel path to Peterson Beach. It was 9:30 at night and it was still bright out! The water was cooler than I hoped but still beautiful and crystal clear.

The following day we took the RR grade trail from our campground -Platte River Campgrounds- to the beach. Dogs are allowed on this path as well as a portion of the beach. We camped in loop 1, which is the farthest from the beach, and it was about a 30-minute walk. The hike itself was only 1.25 miles but part of that is sand dunes and we also had a 3-year-old lagging. For most of the way we were the only ones on the path that was mostly wooded with lots of mosquitoes. PUT ON THE BUG SPRAY!

The reward at the end of the trail was a beautiful beach that we spent the entire morning and midway into the afternoon. That was also the only time we used the trail…lol

Cherry Republic

When I was first researching the area in preparation for our trip, I came across a video that highlighted the Cherry Republic in downtown Glen Arbor and I knew that was a place I wanted to visit. I fell in love with this place. From the different buildings to the property grounds. The moment you walk up it feels like you are transported to an enchanted garden with beautiful landscaping and flowers.

There is a cherry pit spitting "arena" for their cherry pit spitting contests. There are different sections of the property from outdoor garden areas to separate buildings for the shop, tasting and the restaurant. We started off in the shop where there was an enormous collection of cherry products from jams and sauces, candies and sweet treats, to beer and wine! There are little samples of the products and we fell in love with the slightly spicy and perfectly sweet Jalapeno Cherry Jam! We also strolled over to the restaurant where the kids were able to pick out one of the many different cherry flavored ice creams. Luis and I enjoyed an old fashioned cherry soda. There was also a tasting building for both adults and kids. Adults could test out the different adult beverages while the kids enjoyed some yummy treats as well.

Outside, there is also much to see. There was a cute little play garden for the kids and the makings of a beer garden area with a giant connect four game. I bet this place is hoppin’ in the evenings. I would definitely recommend visiting Cherry Republic if you make it up to Sleeping Bear Dunes!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Family Camping adventure to Sleeping Bear Dunes!!