First Camping Trip of the Year - Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, Michigan


Welcome to one of the most beautiful natural areas in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Come and enjoy 35 miles of Lake Michigan's coastline, explore North and South Manitou Islands, and of course climb the dunes! As you look around, you'll see that you've chosen to visit a very unique corner of the United States. The Dunes offer visitors sightseeing and recreational and educational opportunities in all seasons of the year. In spring, summer and fall, swim and picnic at sugar sand beaches; canoe, kayak or tube on crystal-clear streams. Wintertime provides a much different view; snowshoe, cross country or downhill ski, snowboard or venture into the wilderness. Your only company will be the Dunes' year-round residents - its natural wildlife.

Trip Description:
Because of the travel distance (about 6 hours from Chicago), this trip is planned for three nights from Thursday, May 20 through Sunday, May 23.

Please note that the group campground sites are considered rustic and do no have shower facilities on-site. I will be bringing a portable shelter and battery operated shower pump. In addition, no pets are allowed at the group campsites. The average highs and lows for this area in late May are in the 60’s during the day, but can get into the 40’s at night. We have a discussion posted on the site about cold weather camping, I suggest you consider this before you RSVP. This reservation is for 20 people and is a pre-pay event using Amazon Payments.

Link to the National Park Services website for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore:

D.H. Day Group Campground
W. Harwood Drive
Empire, MI 49630
(Google Map search to S Dune Hwy and W Harwood Drive, Empire, MI)

Note that the D.H. Day Group Campground is located at a different location from the D.H. Day Campground. It is just north of the Dune Climb on M-109 (S Dune Hwy) then turn west on W Harwood Drive.

The cost per person for this event will be $25. Your fee includes:
- Group site fees
- Dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and breakfast on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
- Firewood for the weekend
- Miscellaneous plates, plastic flatware, cups, cooking fuel, etc

This event is pre-pay for you to be able to RSVP YES. If your plans change and you need to cancel, you must request a refund NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, MAY 14 AT 7:00 PM to receive a full refund. If you cancel after this time or are a no-show, you will lose your entire payment. Please note that the automatic Waitlist does not work for pre-pay events, so if the event is full please just RSVP “No” and put the date and time you left the RSVP in the "comments".

Food Arrangements:
Everyone should bring their own food for all lunches and snacks. All breakfasts and dinners are included in your fee. Complete details on meals will be sent to the group prior to the event. If you have any meal suggestions, you can email them to me. Please feel free to bring any side dishes, condiments, etc you would like to eat with meals. Although it is not required, if you are planning to bring something to share with the group, you may indicate this in your RSVP to minimize duplication. Also indicate in your RSVP if you are a vegetarian or have any food allergies so I can plan accordingly. ALL beverages - alcohol and non-alcohol - is BYOB. Michigan State Park Vehicle Permits and Carpooling:
An entrance pass is required per vehicle at $8 per day or $29 annual for non-residents. The pass can be obtained at the visitor’s center, scenic drive or dune climb.

Due the distance of this trip, I highly suggest carpooling. If you are willing to carpool, please use the "comment" field in the RSVP and indicate where you are leaving from and how many you can take along in your car. Miscellaneous Reminders:
- There are No Pets Allowed on this camping trip
- Sleeping Bear Dunes is a 6 hour drive from Chicago and further from the north and west suburbs
- This is an adult only event. Please no children/teens.

I will be emailing final details about the group site, directions, and breakfast/dinner menu options the Monday before the event. In the meantime, please feel free to e-mail me with any questions. - Melissa :-)

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  • Andres

    This trip really was something special. This is a trip most of our members should try to make next year .The view at the camp grounds was spectacular with the dunes in the background. We had one full day of hiking, half a day of kayaking and a night hike. And the food well can' t ever start to tell you how great Malissa and Matts efforts were at the camp grounds and before the camping trip with all the prep work. A really BIG THANKS to you.

    May 25, 2010

  • Linda L

    Excellent weekend. Everyone had a great time. Hiking, kayaking, dune climbing, eating, eating and more eating, Blackhawks game, Scrabble and shaking it at the bar- couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Thanks Melissa & Jenn for all your hard work.

    May 24, 2010

  • Birt H.

    It was a great weekend. I got to spend time with old friends, and got to know them even better. I found new friends and I'm looking forward to sharing time with them at future events. Trinda showed me a better way to make camp coffee, and Linda showed us all how to bake a decadent chocolate dessert without an oven. Melissa's organizational skills kept us well fed with outstanding cuisine all weekend, and Andres' quartermaster skills kept us supplied with everthing we needed to stay dry and entertained during time in camp. We all had a great time watching the Hawks win on Friday, and the weekend came to a perfect end when I got home in time to see them win on Sunday. The only disappointment came when no one took any pictures while I was taking a bath in the river.

    May 24, 2010

  • Jenn

    AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!! Weather perfectly worked out in our favor. From hiking several dunes until I cried and wanted a helicopter to save me, Karaoke Friday and Blackhawks game, Kayaking and relaxation! It was one of the best camp trips I have experienced. Definately rate this 5 tents! Melissa's dinners are awesome! Martha Stewart doesnt come close to Melissa's dinners. Again she over did herself. She needs to relax on the next trip. 5 Tent Rating!!! A+++++++++

    May 24, 2010

  • Penny

    Never made a more memorable spontaneous decision then this last minute camping trip - it was truly incredible! Kudos to Melissa for thinking outside the norm and securing this place in the dunes of the U.P. My first trip up there and will definitely go back. Thanks to Melissa, Matt and Jenn for all their assistance with this great weekend! Thanks to all for making it memorable!

    May 23, 2010

  • Melissa

    We had a small but enthusiastic and super fun group of campers. The campground was very nice and the dunes were amazing plus we even found a nice local tavern for the Blackhawks game. Thanks everyone for pitching in and making this such an excellent first campout!

    May 23, 2010

  • Matt

    A great trip and great group of people. Thanks to all that helped which was everyone. A big help for when we broke down and started packing up, lots of great help whenever it was asked for. Melissa does so much for this group that is seen and unseen, thanks for all you do. =)

    May 23, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    I enjoyed a lot. Everybody was very friendly and the organization was perfect.

    May 23, 2010

  • Penny

    In receipt of all the info and thanks much!

    May 19, 2010

  • Matt

    I emailed you Melissa's final email, (not sure if there will be one more), and I sent you the email I sent out about potential hiking and some things to bring. If you have other questions let Melissa or I know. =)

    May 19, 2010

  • Penny

    Thanks, I'm really looking forward to it! And I'll be assured not to leave my chair this time. ;-) Can you send the details to me?

    May 19, 2010

  • Matt

    So glad you can join us Penny =)

    May 19, 2010

  • Matt

    Melissa emailed the menu for the dinners out to the Yes's and it reads like a five star restaurants menu. =)

    May 17, 2010

  • Melissa

    I spoke with the rangers office today at the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. The closest showers to our campgsite are at Platte River Campground about 14 miles away. Please note, I will be bringing a pop-up shower shelter and battery operated shower pump. Right now the weather forecast looks amazing - highs into the 70's during the day and low of 50 at night!!

    May 14, 2010

  • Jenn

    Anyone bringing their bike?

    May 14, 2010

  • Matt

    Sandy from Oak Lawn is looking to carpool, if others are open to carpooling please use the Talk About This Meetup section to see who you can carpool with. You can also email other Yes RSVP people to see who you can carpool with. Some people may go only if they can carpool so we hope campers set up carpools and help get us up to 15 people or more. =)

    May 12, 2010

10 went

Your organizer's refund policy for First Camping Trip of the Year - Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, Michigan

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 6 day(s) before the Meetup

Additional notes: This event is pre-pay for you to be able to RSVP YES. If your plans change and you need to cancel, you must request a refund NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, MAY 14 AT 7:00 PM to receive a full refund. If you cancel after this time or are a no-show, you will lose y

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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