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The Sleeping Bear Dunes are located about 30 minutes west of Traverse City, Michigan. It is a site which is designated as one of the 380 National Park Sites and is maintained by the National Park Service (NPS).
The Sleeping Bear Dunes are a sight to behold. Almost out of nowhere, miles and miles of sand dunes appear after the drive through thick forest. The sand dunes sharply drop into the vast expanse of Lake Michigan.
The legend of the sleeping bear states that there was a mother and two cubs who were driven to the shore by a forest fire. The three then swam into Lake Michigan to escape and tried to stay afloat for hours. The mother bear eventually swam to shore and climbed a steep bluff to wait for ther cubs. The cubs tired and eventually drowned. The Great Spirit Manitou made two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and a sand dune for the Mother bear.