Sleeper State Park
Located at the top of “The Thumb,” Sleeper State Park is a great beach to head to when you are in town for Cheeseburgers in Paradise. 7 miles down the road from Port Crescent State Park on M-25, Sleeper State Park has some similarities and differences. The shady parking lot and bathroom shelter are perched on a sand dune hill overlooking Lake Huron. Head down the stairs of the fort like cement structure, you will find a natural beach. At Sleeper State Park, I found the nicest state park bathrooms I have seen at a beach. If you are in “The Thumb” for the weekend, Sleeper is a good place to go swimming and soak in the sun.
Thumb Michigan, Lake Huron.
Saginaw: 67 miles (1 hour 22 minutes)
Flint: 93 miles (1 hour 46 minutes)
Port Huron: 108 miles (1 hour 57 minutes)
Detroit: 128 miles (2 hours 28 minutes)
Ann Arbor: 148 miles (2 hours 29 minutes)
Lansing: 148 miles (2 hours 30 minutes)
On the day I went to Sleeper, both the water and air temperature were about 75 degrees, making for a soothing and refreshing swim. There is also a slowly declining slope, that allows most swimmers to go out about 100 feet from shore before it gets deep. The soft sand continues out in the water with minimal rocks, making for happy feet. On the day I went, Lake Huron was calm with almost no waves. The beach at Sleeper State Park isn’t a cove, it’s out in the open water, so “sea” conditions can make for difficult swims on windy and rough days.
Sand and land conditions:
Sleeper State Park is a sand dune beach. Michigan is home to most of the only freshwater sand dunes in the world. On the one hand, the natural sand dune look is beautiful, on the other hand, because of the dunes the beach isn’t very wide. It might just be this year (2019), because the Great Lakes’ water levels are higher than normal. A friend of mine’s family has a house a few miles down the road and they have lost 30 to 50 feet of beach depth from previous years. On the dunes, you will see dune grasses and trees. The view from the water, about 100 feet from shore, is beautiful, looking back at the shore. The beach has a soothing, fine white sand that isn’t very rocky. The state park beach extends for about 1,000 feet.
Take in nature’s beauty of the wooded sand dunes and the ocean-like, Lake Huron at the mouth of the Saginaw Bay. As I mentioned in the previous section, out in the water the shore looks amazing. “The Thumb” region is a great place to see the stars because there isn’t a lot of light and the large lake surface. Some nights you can see Tawas’ lights on the other side of the mouth of the Saginaw Bay.
Sleeper State Park has some of the nicest state park bathrooms I have seen. State parks typically have cement floors and sometimes cement walls too and be questionable on their cleanliness and functionality. The bathrooms here have a door on both sides of the building, first when you walk in from the parking lot, and on the other side for easy from the beach. Inside, I found blue tile on the walls and the bathroom was very clean. In addition to toilets and urinals, there are a number of stalls with curtains for changing, I appreciate the privacy.
Cost / Parking:
Michigan residents with the Recreation Passport can get in for free. Are you getting it yet? You can get into amazing beaches in Michigan for $11 a year, unlimited visits. A day pass is around $10 a day. I went on a Friday and there was no one at the gate, so we got in for free anyway. The parking lot is among the trees and actually quite nice. The shade also helps keep your car cooler while you enjoy the beach.
Beach size: 3/5
Swimming Conditions: 5/5
Come to Michigan’s thumb for the weekend and spend the day at Sleeper State Park. If you live near Flint, Saginaw or anywhere in “The Thumb,” this is a great day trip beach.