At the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor’s Center in Empire, Michigan, a sign welcomes visitors to the most beautiful place in America. Dusty Schultz, Park Superintendent, reiterates this message in the park newsletter.
When I first read this, I kind of snickered. There is no way this off the radar National Lakeshore in Michigan is as or more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, or Yosemite.
This proclamation comes from Good Morning America. Last year they narrowed down the ten most beautiful places in America and had viewers vote on the winner. Sleeping Bear Dunes took first prize. Check out the video.
After spending two days hiking over twenty miles of trails, I began to see the designation as something not so ludicrous. The deep blue of Lake Michigan, the golden sands of the dunes, the green sedge grass, the deep dark forests, the inland lakes and rivers, and the gorgeous Manitou Islands definitely makes an impression.
I would not say this park is more beautiful than the Grand Canyon or the Great Smoky Mountains, but with scenic beauty it can be difficult to quantify and qualify. A picture from the South Rim in the Grand Canyon would certainly merit a ten as would any canyon in Zion. So too would a picture from Sleeping Bear with beautiful Lake Michigan in the distance with sand dunes in the foreground.
If the park, Good Morning America, or anyone else want to call it the most beautiful place in America, I will not disagree. In fact, this photo essay may cause some to agree and may also cause others to want to visit to see if it really is the most beautiful place in America.