Dock leading out onto Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Community Spotlight: Sleeping Bear Dunes

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a natural wonder that we are so fortunate to have surrounding us. Less than a 10-minute drive or bike down the Heritage Trail, the park offers endless adventures on the bluffs above Lake Michigan. The park’s spectacular sugar-sand beaches and many, many trails attract visitors from all over the world. In fact, the park had a record 2020 turnout of over 1.7 million visitors.

At Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages, we love to support the community groups that work toward maintaining the natural splendor of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Every time you stay at the Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages, a portion of your payment is donated to support local community philanthropic efforts, including these three outstanding non-profits that make your visit so unforgettable.

Wooden Bench next to wooden path with golden brown sand and blue skies

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes

Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes is a group of passionate volunteers that care for the dunes west of Glen Arbor. Among many other services, the volunteers properly dispose of trash, keep trails open and clean, and build infrastructure to improve the park. In the winter, they groom trails for snowshoers and Nordic skiers. In the peak of the summer, on the other hand, their Ambassadors stay posted at the top of the Dune Climb to ensure visitors know the challenges of trekking across the dune and down to the lake. Thanks to their efforts, visitors are more cautious about crossing and sliding down the towering sand. As a result, emergency calls have reduced by 90% in the past few years.

Barn in foreground with foggy woods behind it and lush bright green grass in the foreground

Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear

The area surrounding Sleeping Bear Dunes acts a living remnant of 19th century agriculture and maritime activities. The region exists today thanks to the efforts of Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear. The Rural District of Port Oneida, within the park, is protected by this nonprofit organization.

During your trip to Glen Arbor, take a scenic drive past rural homesteads, barns, and older buildings. The nonprofit preserves these structures to keep their unique identity. Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear offers historic tours of many of these buildings that provide a glimpse of a simpler life. In the spring and summer, you’ll find rolling green hills teeming with wildflowers. Then, in the fall, you’ll find pumpkin patches, spectacular color, and festive Halloween decorations.

Wooden Structure Gate entrance to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Gateways Council 

The National Lakeshore stretches across 35 miles of Northern Michigan coastline, and the park itself lies within 3 counties. The Sleeping Bear Gateways Council includes members of the community impacted by increasing visitors to the area. In addition to local donors such as the Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast, this committee received new funding from the recently-enacted Great American Outdoors Act. The Gateways Council works with the National Parks Service to anticipate future needs to protect both the lakeshore and the surrounding communities.

When you book a stay with us, you are supporting incredible community organizations that keep the Sleeping Bear Dunes pristine. From Laura’s gourmet breakfasts to the inn’s proximity to the dunes, you’ll love experiencing Northern Michigan at inn and cottages. Check out our experience page to find more exciting things to do around Glen Arbor.