So you’re planning a camping trip in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore!
There are 2 regular campgrounds in Sleeping Bear Dunes, and the DH Day campground near Lake Michigan is one of them.
First, some quick things to know about the DH Day campground that’s located in Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Then, a bit on how to make camping reservations.
Things to know about camping at DH Day Campground in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
1. The DH Day Campground is located on the Glen Arbor side (northern side) of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
You can consider Glen Arbor MI one of the gateway towns of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
2. There is a trail to a Lake Michigan beach directly from the campground.
You can also consider this practically a private campground for campers! This is a beach that’s a part of Sleeping Bear Bay, and one of the many Lake Michigan beaches in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You can go for a long walk on the beach from here.
3. You can go swimming at the Lake Michigan beach near the campground.
Lake Michigan in the summer is generally considered swimmable in terms of water temperature.
It’s also important to know that although Lake Michigan is just a lake, in many ways it can act like an ocean! Since the campground beach is in a bay, the waters are a bit more protected, but you’ll still want to take care when swimming! There are no lifeguards at the Sleeping Bear Bay beach, or any beaches in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Also, the beach near the campground is a little rocky, so you also might want to pack some water shoes for your Michigan camping trip if you want to wade in the water or go swimming!
4. You have a number of hiking options that are a short drive from DH Day campground.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes hiking trails near DH Day campground are next on the list!
5. It’s about a 2 minute drive to the start of the Alligator Hill Trail.
6. It’s about a 5 minute drive to the start of the Sleeping Bear Point Trail.
7. It’s about a 5 minute drive to the start of the Dune Climb Trail.
You can climb up the first hill of sand dunes only, or you can keep hiking across the sand dunes to Lake Michigan!
8. It’s about a 5 minute drive to the start of the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a one-way loop road in which there are many stops to make. Among the most famous is the Lake Michigan overlook.
9. The DH Day campground is for tent camping and RV camping.
10. There are campsites that come with a tent pad.
This is flat gravel ground to set up your tent.
11. DH Day Campground is a “rustic” campground.
As opposed to a “modern” campground.
12. There is no electricity at the campground.
There is no electricity at DH Day campground.
13. There are no showers at the campground.
There are no showers at DH Day Campground.
There are hot water showers at the other Sleeping Bear Dunes campground though! The easiest showers to use at the Platte River Campground may be by following the signs for the walk-in campsites since you’ll likely be able to find parking there.
14. There are basic no-flush toilets at the campground.
15. There are faucets at the campground for drinking water.
16. You can buy firewood at the campground.
Because of invasive species that could come with wood brought from elsewhere, it’s always best to buy your firewood locally. There’s a firewood “vending machine” located at the campground.
17. There is a trash dumpster for campers.
18. There’s an RV dump station.
19. There are bears in Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Sleeping Bear Dunes was not named such because there are bears. It was named because of a sand dune that looked like a bear. That said, there are bears in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! Although bear sightings are said to be rare.
It’s said that a fed bear is a dead bear. This means that once bears start to see humans as a source of food, they can become a threat to humans, and that means a potential threat to you! Once it’s believed by park rangers that a bear is a threat, it’s possible that it can be killed.
Currently, bears in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are generally not seen as a threat to people. But it takes everyone, including all campers, to keep it like that and to keep everyone safe while you’re camping, and to keep the campers that come after you safe!
Among the things, be sure to take care to pick up after yourself after you eat. You want to avoid leaving food in your tent, and be sure to store all food in your car. This also means it would be better if you didn’t eat inside your tent at all.
Another thing is to also try not to keep scented items inside your tent. Scented items can even include things like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and sunscreen.
Before you go camping, you can read up on bears in Sleeping Bear Dunes, you can read up on bears in Michigan (pdf), and you can also read more about hiking and camping with bears in national parks.
20. The DH Day campground is the site of the first Michigan state park.
D.H. Day State Park was named after David Henry Day. This is now listed as a Michigan historic site.
21. You can get on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail directly from the campground.
The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is a walking and biking trail that extends over 20 miles. This goes through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, along with the towns of Empire and Glen Arbor.
22. There is a basic self-service bike station at the campground.
You can find this right at the start of the trail to the beach.
23. You can kayak Lake Michigan from the beach near the campground.
Bring your own kayak!
24. You can take in the sunset at the beach.
Sunset beach yoga?!
Although… you may be better off wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants when you’re here! I couldn’t handle the biting flies and it was enough to chase me away from the beach. 😜
25. It’s about a 2 minute drive to the Glen Haven historic village from the campground.
You can explore a historic street, and there’s also a picnic area around Glen Haven Beach for another Lake Michigan beach option near the campground.
26. It’s about a 5 minute drive to Glen Lake.
You can find another picnic area at the Glen Lake Beach Park. It’s called a “beach” park but there doesn’t seem to be much of a beach. Still, you can enjoy lake views as you eat your picnic lunch.
27. It’s about a 10-15 minute drive to the Port Oneida historic village.
Port Oneida is another area of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore that you can explore the history of the area. The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail goes along here so you can bike around here. You can also hike the Bayview area trails to come across some old buildings. And then, you can also drive straight to some of the sites too.
28. It’s about a 15 minute drive to the start of Empire Bluff Trail.
29. It’s about a 15 minute drive to the start of the Pyramid Point Trail.
30. It’s about a 3 minute drive to the small town of Glen Arbor.
You’ll be able to find a number of restaurants and shops in Glen Arbor.
Be sure to see about going to the Cherry Republic for Michigan-made cherry products and food. They have a store that sells all things cherry, and they also have a restaurant with outdoor seating. They sell cherry ice cream too.
Tart cherries are considered anti-oxidants with anti-inflammatory properties aka tart cherries are good for you!
31. Summer days are long!
In June and July, there are days when sunrise is before 6am and sunset isn’t until after 9:30pm in Glen Arbor MI!
That means time for lots of outdoor activities!
Read the reviews of the DH Day campground.
Here's some info on Michigan vacation prep! Top Michigan vacation spots:
- Best of Michigan's national lakeshores
- Best of Tahquamenon Falls State Park
- Best of Porcupine Mountains State Park
- Michigan waterfalls road trip
- Lake Superior lighthouse road trip
- Best of hiking in Pictured Rocks
- Get a waterproof phone case if you'll be heading out on the water!
- The perfect type of shirt for swimming in Michigan
How to make camping reservations at DH Day Campground
The official website for making a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore camping reservation through the National Park Service is recreation.gov.
You can type in DH Day Campground for the search, and then go from there.
You can also see the individual campsites that are available. If you click on an individual campsite, it will also give you the basics of the campsite. If you have flexible dates, you can also search the availability by date. This can also help you determine if you should book soon or not, based on the availability of the campsites. If you’re looking to camp in the summer, then book sooner rather than later!
There are also DH Day Campground reviews you can read on the camping reservation website.
For reference, here is the DH Day campground map, where you can find the campsites that are closest to Lake Michigan.
Cost of camping at DH Day campground
The cost of camping at DH Day campground is around $20 per night. See here for updated camping fees.
There is also a national park fee for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. If you have an America the Beautiful national park pass, that will work in Sleeping Bear Dunes. Otherwise, a 7 day Sleeping Bear Dunes park pass will be around $25. See here for current fees.
Checking in to your campsite
Then, once you are in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park and approaching the campground, you’ll start to see signs for the DH Day campground. You’ll then stop by the campground office to check in and get your camping “permit”!
Then off you go to find your campsite!
And that’s a bit about camping in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at DH Day campground!
More kind of nearby the campground outside of the park:
- DH Day to Traverse City: 40 minutes
- DH Day to Clay Cliffs hike: 30 minutes
- DH Day to Grand Traverse Lighthouse: 1 hour
See about camping at the other Sleeping Bear Dunes campground – the Platte River campground.
Continue your Michigan road trip from DH Day Campground:
- DH Day to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: 5 hours (see Twelvemile Beach campground)
- DH Day to Mackinaw City: 2 hours 45 minutes
- DH Day to Tahquamenon Falls: 4 hours (see Lower Falls campground)
- DH Day to Whitefish Point: 4 hours
- DH Day to Kitch-iti-kipi: 4.5 hours
- DH Day to Porcupine Mountains: 8 hours (see Union Bay campground)
- DH Day to Keweenaw Peninsula: 8 hours
HAPPY CAMPING AT D.H. DAY CAMPGROUND!