Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is Most Beautiful Place in America

Posted Aug 18th 2011 12:30 PMUpdated Aug 18th 2011 01:10 PM




Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a relatively unknown national treasure located on the northwest corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, earned the title of "Most Beautiful Place in America," according to Good Morning America.

What was once a heap of glaciers that melted over centuries to reveal 64 miles of blue beaches surrounded by colossal sand dunes, now draws visitors with its picturesque landscape and small town charm. The 26 inland lakes and two islands at Sleeping Bear are the cherry on top (and speaking of cherries, the area boasts the title of largest cherry growing region in the world).

GMA's search, which began in June, called for their viewers to nominate the most beautiful places online. Also in the running were Cape Cod; Aspen; Lanikai Beach, Hawaii; Newport, R.I.; Point Reyes, Calif.; Sedona, Ariz.; Destin, Fla.; Asheville, N.C.; and Grand Teton National Park, Wyo. Tens of thousands of GMA viewers were seduced by photos and stories of Sleeping Bear's beauty and took to the polls, voting it the clear winner.

Grand Rapids, Mich., resident Jim Madole nominated Sleeping Bear. In his GMA submission, he wrote: "It is peaceful and serene, a place for gazing out into the world, night or day, and realizing that the universe is truly a magical, majestic mystery, and humans are just a very small part of it all. Here at Sleeping Bear, I sit in awe and wonder at the perfection of Mother Nature."

Even celebrity chef Mario Batali is a fan, spending his summers there to escape the New York hustle.

"I spend my entire summer here on Lake Michigan because it's beautiful, because it has farmers, because it has great food artisans," Batali tells ABC News. "It has great products. It has magnificent fresh water."

All of that fresh water provides a plethora of activities for Lakeshore visitors to choose from, including paddle-boarding, fishing, or simply taking a swim at one of the many beaches. Those who opt to stay dry can climb the colossal sand dunes or hike through the forest.

It looks like Midwesterners finally have something on East Coast and West Coast dwellers.

WATCH GMA's big reveal below:

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Sorry, I happen to live in the most beautiful place in America. I am the camp host at WillowPark. 50 acres of campsites and pinic areas. Catfish and white bass fishing on the Jordan river which runs along the park. Lots of wildlife. You can see some photos at We live here year around and right now the deer herd is visiting us. Tonight we had a magnificent sunset.

November 02 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Wabbsters 's comment

I am surprised that no one has mentioned, Camden New Jersey, East St. Louis Illinois, or Detroit Michigan, as America's most beautiful places.

May 26 2012 at 8:54 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jnrentz's comment

Ah yes, beauty is the eye of the beer holder

May 28 2012 at 8:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

wa, that are worth to go to!Sunmer is the good time to travle ! Open eyes!

July 20 2012 at 7:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

Sounds like an advertisement to me.

July 27 2012 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Handsome's comment

I recommend downtown Flint in the middle of February. Beautiful town, with friendly locals.

September 17 2012 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

the same to me)

January 22 2013 at 3:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

Sounds like a great place to spend a week or two!!!

October 12 2011 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jlbs4's comment

Thanksgiving will be coming to, first I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. But do not know the gift you selected it? Quicklylogin nike jordan website: ,Soccer shoes website:
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November 12 2011 at 11:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Nicely said Beautiful.

September 18 2011 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Right on Jen,You made a great point.(Smiling)

September 18 2011 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with you Karen,I have a place on crystal lk. It is a beautiful area & so much to do. Jeff I know alot of places,Depends what you are looking for. & yes labor day is the end of touist season. Beulah or Honor is oneof the nearest towns/cities.If you want e-mail or im me sometime,Can help you a little more with info.

September 18 2011 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We have been traveling to Michigan each year for a family getaway with all the kids grandkids grandparents etc for 30 years. We stay at Chimney Corners resort at Crystal Lake close to the Dunes, Traverse City, etc so access to hiking, golfing. small town festivals or big city nightlife. We explore other areas of the US on other vacations. I have to say Michigan and sitting at Point Betsie at sunset with a cup of coffee or picnic snack, or Frankfort lighthouse early as the sun rises or the Dunes for the 4 mile hike to the lake is still the most amazing times we have had. Beautiful yes. The water is so clear you can go neck deep and still see your feet. We especially enjoy early fall the last week of september first week of october. Platte Lake area is beautiful and great for Petsokey finding. klk

September 11 2011 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to karen's comment

Totally agree - I live in the Washington, DC and love to venture up to that area - Mackinac Island is pretty awesome too.

January 20 2013 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I live on Long island in New York and would like to visit here(drive up). Anyone have any recommended s of places to stay? I'm assuming , as where I live, tourist season ends on Labor Day? Prefer to go off season.
What is the nearest city? Will GPS info. Thanks in advance.

September 08 2011 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jeff's comment
cb in austin

Frankfort is fabulous with a rich history and great restaurants. Traverse City is larger with more amenities.

November 03 2011 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
EBob Gee

-- Jon DeWitt regarding reply:

Are you kidding? That's pretty presumptuous. Wow, psychic? Actually, I have spent considerable time traveling around the midwest (I agree about the kindness of the people) and I am enthusiastic about the beauty -especially around the great lakes.

I don't understand how any one can thumbs down what was said-- I only stated facts (perhaps when I said "not many" I should have said "the majority of people who make lists like this" or something akin to that). These lists ARE a dime a dozen (with different results usually on each list). I BELIEVE the recognition is good for Michigan. That said, I personally prefer a couple other parts of the country and for that matter much of Wisconsin over much of Michigan (uh-oh).

The point to my post is, people got so upset about their own picks not taking the prize and that is just silliness due to the facts I already mentioned. Good for Michigan, and we've all got our opinions (thank goodness)!

To be fair, I might be on here complaining if anywhere in the S.W. had received it (including Sedona) for me, much of the S.W. and especially Arizona is about as much the opposite of "beautiful" as scenery gets... For many friends it is about as close to "beautiful" as it gets. Again, it is all about opinion.

All I am saying is that folks shouldn't get too upset because their personal pick didn't take this particular title in this particular list. What's to thumbs down? Easy there -- but then I guess everyone IS entitled to his/her opinion :-).

September 05 2011 at 11:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Not only is it a beautiful place, but Midwesterners are the nicest people!

September 04 2011 at 12:16 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Even celebrity chef Mario Batali is a fan, spending his summers there to escape the New York hustle....even! nice place to visit and enjoy the beach

August 29 2011 at 1:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bianca's comment

Bianca, Pizzeriaschzmaggy is not even in the United States. This article was also not about chefs or restaurants. It was about the most beautiful place in America.

February 11 2012 at 11:52 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cgretsch's comment
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