Few places in Michigan have the expansive view of the Lake Michigan overlook on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It’s 450′ feet down to the water, so remember that freedom comes at a price!
Warren Dunes State Park has three miles of shoreline and six miles of hiking trails on nearly 2000 acres. It is open year-round, and the centerpiece is the dune formation that rises 260 feet above the lake and offers spectacular views. It’s also our busiest state park!
More about Edward K Warren & Warren Dunes on Michigan in Pictures.
USA Today has a feature on Hang Gliding Sites in Michigan that says (in part):
Most individuals will need lessons in hang gliding from a certified instructor prior to their first flight. Hang gliding schools provide instructions, gear, permits and safety equipment. The Draachen Fliegen Soaring Club is located in Cloud 9 Field between Detroit and Lansing, with instructors offering “tandem discovery” flights lasting from 15 minutes to one hour. Gliders drift in air space up to two miles high, in tandem with an instructor. Individuals with proven experience and certifications may rent gliders for solo flights. Traverse City Hang Gliders offers full programs of training and instruction in both traditional powerless hang gliding and “the Mosquito” powered hang gliding harness.
Hang gliding enthusiasts can enjoy practicing the sport at national parks within the state of Michigan, including Sleeping Bear Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Several spots within the park are approved for powerless flight. Hang gliders can take off and land at Empire Bluff, Pyramid Point and Lake Michigan Overlook on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, as well as Dune Climb in the months of November through March. Powerless flight permits are required and can be obtained free of charge at the Visitor Center Information Desk. Launch sites within the park require proficiency ratings established by the U.S. Hang Gliding Association. Gliders must also follow safety and federal regulations. Warren Dunes State Park also issues permits for hang gliding along the coastal dunes, about 14 miles from the state border with Indiana. Favorite launch and return sites within the park include Tower Hill and New Buffalo.
In the 1970s, Elberta Beach and the adjacent city of Frankfort, in Northern Michigan, were popular spots for what was then the new sport of hang gliding. Once referred to as the “Sail Plane Capital,” the area is still a magnet for gliders today. Just south of Frankfort, gliders can experience the thrill of soaring over sand dunes at Green Point Dunes. The Green Point Flyers Association, established in 1978, is a club for both hang gliders and parasailers, with a main flying site that is a sand dune stretching for three miles at a height of 370 feet. Licenses are required to fly at Green Point, and certified instructors are available. Pilots at Green Point also have access to hang gliding sites inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, as well as the bluffs of Elberta. Visitors can also team up for a ride with members of the Northwest Soaring Club, which is located in Cadillac, Michigan. Flights depart from the Wexford County Airport, then cruise over Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac.
If you’d like to get a look at the process, here’s a video of aerial photographer Jim Anderson taking a flight from the Bluffs!
The Alpena CVB’s page on Rockport State Recreation Area says:
Rockport State Park, Michigan’s 100th State Park and an official Dark Sky Preserve, has over 4,237 acres of land located on the shores of Lake Huron north of Alpena. The property includes a deep-water protected harbor, an old limestone quarry of approximately 300 acres, a unique series of sinkholes, Devonian Era fossils, the Besser Natural Area, and a broad range of land types, vegetative cover, cultural resources and recreation opportunities. At the harbor the DNR has a boat launch facility, and there is a small park with picnic areas.
If you click through, they have a nifty guide that includes more information on the offerings including the fossils and sinkholes! You can get a map and more info from the State of Michigan’s page on Rockport Recreation Area.
Many more Michigan parks on Michigan in Pictures!
Here’s a shot from high atop one of the many dunes in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from August 1, 2012.
The small lake below is North Bar Lake. The name describes how the lake formed: it is ponded behind a sand bar. At times, the sand bar builds up and separates North Bar Lake from Lake Michigan. At other times, a small connecting channel exists between the two lakes. North Bar Lake occupies part of a former bay on Lake Michigan. This ancient bay was flanked by headlands on both sides: Empire Bluffs on the south and Sleeping Bear Bluffs on the north. Shorelines have a natural tendency to become straighter with time. Wave action focuses on the headlands and wears them back, while shoreline currents carry sediment to the quiet bays and fill them in. Deeper parts of the bay are often left as lakes when sand fills in the shallower parts. The same process that formed North Bar Lake also formed many of the other lakes in northern Michigan: Glen, Crystal, Elk and Torch Lakes, for example.
…North Bar Lake is one of the most popular beaches in the Lakeshore because it has shallow, clear water over a sandy bottom makes for warmer swim than in Lake Michigan. But for those who like the refreshing cool water and wave action of the big lake, you can walk across the low dunes that separate the two lakes in just a couple of minutes. The beaches of pure sand and the small outlet to Lake Michigan is ideal for the kids to play.