Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Sees Boosts In Visitors

A big boost in visitors for a big time Northern Michigan tourist attraction.

The warmer weather is bringing more people out to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The park has seen nearly 50-percent more visitors at the park this April compared to last April.

Ryan Greaves is one of thousands taking in the Sleeping Bear Dunes this month — during what is considered the off season.

“It’s a national lakeshore and national treasure,” said Greaves. “We’re always like to get outside of the city when we can.” 

And he came prepared.

“We brought our bikes, nicer shoes, suns glasses– ready to see the sight,” said Greaves. 

Last April, the park saw more than 1,000 visitors.

This April that number just about doubled– to more than 2,200 visitors.

And the increase in tourism is definitely helping businesses in Empire like Deering’s Market.

They’ve seen a nearly 30-percent boost in sales.

“Last year there was still a lot of snow on the ground and a lot of ice on the water. We did not see a lot of sales,” said Nick McCreedy, Deering’s Market employee. “This year is better for the store, it’s better for Empire— it’s a good thing.”

But other businesses are not quite ready for the busy season.

Cynthia Taggart owns The Secret Garden.

She had to put a closed sign on their door while they prepare for their opening on May first.

“People were seeing us in here working and they would just come in the front door,” said Taggart. 

Ready or not, here they come.

“We are going to try to find a beach, look for some Petoskey stones and enjoy a nice April day,” said Greaves.