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All along the Michigan side of Lake Michigan is hundreds of miles of Sand Dunes. These sugar sand dunes reach hundreds of feet high and if you’ve ever tried to climb them, you know it’s like climbing two feet and sinking one. (It’s a great workout!)
The sand and sand dunes along Lake Michigan are my favorite beaches in the world. It soft, free of shells and rocks and makes for great sand castles. Recently, we had the opportunity to take a dune buggy ride along the sand dunes in Silver Lake, Michigan. The Mac Wood’s Dune Rides is one of only two places along Lake Michigan that you can drive on the dunes. And while I lived in Michigan for 20 years and visited every year since, I had never visited Mac Wood’s or drove on the dunes.
The Dune Buggy
The Dune Buggy is a wide jeep vehicle that takes you all-terrains from the Mac Wood’s location to the two tracks to the soft dune sands. Each row seats about 4 people and has one seat belt for the whole row. While the ride is bumpy, I never felt like I was going to bounce out. If you have small children, I’d advise setting them in the middle.
Out of curiosity, I asked the driver how fast she drives and she told me she never goes faster than 35 mph. While it feels faster, you are in an open air vehicle. She also told me she judges her passengers and adjusts accordingly.
The Sand Dunes
The Sand Dunes are simply breathtaking. While I’ve grown up around dunes, this was a view I’ve never experienced before. The photos simply do not do the expanse of sand justice. It’s more than just a long stretch of beach sand, but mountains (albeit small mountains) and hills of soft white powder. Interspersed in the sandy hills are trees and sea grass. Our guide informed us part of the area used to be a forest but was cut down to provide lumber after the great Chicago fire. Some petrified logs and trees still remain.
The tour was incredible. And truly the best way I can describe it is sharing a video.
Little Sable Point Lighthouse
Since we were so close to a lighthouse, we took a side trip based on the recommendation of our driver, to Little Sable Point Lighthouse. This was a delightful little bonus. We climbed the 139 steps and enjoyed even more incredible views for the day.
Overall, we had an amazing day. It’s exciting to be a tourist in my former home state and enjoy new adventures. The kids had a ball driving on the dunes and Gloria’s response, “Why haven’t we done this before?” Mac Wood’s Dune Rides provides a unique hidden gem experience in Silver Lake Michigan and one that we will visit again.
Tickets for the sand dunes ride are $18 for adults and kids 3-11, $12. While the ride is safe for babies, and the drivers do take that into account, I would recommend ages 3 and up for full enjoyment.
To climb the lighthouse, tickets are $5 for an adult and $2 for children 11 and under. It’s a lighthouse, so if you’re not okay with spiral stairs or heights, just admire it from the outside.