Bordered by three freshwater lakes on several sides, Michigan’s shorelines are covered with dunes all over, giving the place a rather unique and breathtaking appearance. Tourists and natives alike take advantage of this wondrous geography by no other than riding dune buggies.
Dune Is Where the Fun Is
There are several areas in the Wolverine State where you can ride enjoy its sandy landscapes while inside a dune buggy. You have the option of riding along with your family and friends. If you are going solo, however, there’s a guided tour that’s going to bring out the best in your dune buggy experience.
Whatever your plan is, finding the best spots to drive your dune buggy should be the first on your list. Silver Lake State Park in Mears, MI offers the best options for people who love the adrenaline rush of driving along the dunes. The park allows people to bring and drive their ORV, which may range from dirt bikes and ATVs to UTVs and dune buggies.
Driving Dune Buggy at Silver Lake State Park: What to Know?
Though Silver Lake State Park covers around 3,000 acres of shoreline and wooded areas, only 450 acres are devoted to off-road adventure seekers, which is still considerably sizeable. The dunes are open from 1 April to 31 October daily. Below are the hours when the park accessible to the public:
- From 1 April to 1 May (Early Season) — 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
- From 1 May to 15 September (Peak Season) — 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
- From 15 September to 31 October (Late Season) — 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Before you go out on a dune buggy adventure, you will be wise to know what the requirements are if you want to experience (or re-experience) riding dune buggies in Silver Lake State Park. Some of the guidelines that should be observed are as follows:
- Drivers should carry an ORV permit/ORV trails permit, and a recreation passport.
- The maximum air tyre pressure for 4-wheel ORV should be 15 PSI. On the other hand, the minimum should be no less than 12 PSI.
- A safety flag should be displayed either at the front or rear bumper and should be no more than ten feet off the ground.
- Motorbikes and ATV riders are required to wear helmets and goggles. Also, the vehicles should be fitted with spark arrestors.
- To rent an ORV, you should be 18 and up, while individuals 16 and up are allowed to drive.
Are the Other Dunes State Parks in Michigan?
Hopping from one dune spot to another is nothing short of awesome, especially if you want to see the other dunes located within Michigan State. With a well-planned itinerary, you’re sure to enjoy your time near Silver Lake in Mears, as well as in other dune parks which are as follows:
1. Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Located a few miles south of Holland, right along the coastline of Lake Michigan, this state-owned park offers a 2.5-mile wide shoreline with dunes that go as high as 200 feet. Visitors get to explore the four different trails that range from 2.5 miles to 5.5 miles on foot. They can also experience hiking along a 10-minute trail that leads up to the beach.
The Saugatuck Dune Ride is one of the main attractions in the area. This tour operator offers 40 minutes of pure fun and adventure as passengers get to know more about the place, such as the lost lumber export town of Singapore, among others.
2. Sleeping Bear Dunes
Before it was designated as a national park back in 1972, the visitors experienced dune buggy tours in Sleeping Bear Dunes. However, the title prohibited ORVs throughout the place, both on the trails and dunes. Regardless, this former paradise for dune rides offers 100 miles of hiking trails to tourists and scenic beaches. The place also offers RV-friendly campgrounds and the likes.
3. Warren Dunes State Park
This state park covers about 1,952 acres of beach and has the highest dune formation which rises to 260 feet from Lake Michigan. With hiking trails that stretch for as long as six miles, this park provides visitors with lots of activities to do, such as bird-watching, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing, to name a few.
Despite the plethora of goings-on for the visitors, there are no dune buggy rentals located within the state park. Nevertheless, the Warren Dunes State Park is a place worth seeing.
There are several dunes along the coast of Lake Michigan that are worth noting. Because of their picturesque beauty, the Grand Sable Banks and Dunes at Grand Marais, Orchard Beach State Park and Nordhouse Dunes at Manistee, Arcadia Dunes at Arcadia and Ludington State Park at Ludington, are some of the most visited dune parks in Michigan. Though dune buggy rentals are located far from these places, these places provide a peaceful and tranquil spot for people who love to commune and reconnect with nature.
If you are anywhere near these spots and would like to go to an off-road course for an adrenaline shock, Twisted Trails Offroad Park at Copemish is the place to go. This park is a 400-acre OHV spot that offers wooded trails filled with mud, sand, climbs, and mud bogs. If you brought a dune buggy with you, you’re in luck because Twisted Trails Offroad Park allows dune buggies in their motorized trails.
Dune Buggy Tours and Rentals at Silver Lake Dune State Park
If you don’t have a dune buggy but want to experience driving one across Wolverine State’s vast dune landscape, rentals are a practical way of having one. Renting a dune buggy is unsurprisingly easy and hassle-free so long as you carry all the requirements.
If in case you decide to travel solo, getting a guide is a perfect way to make the most out of your dune buggy experience. That’s because apart from having someone to teach you how to navigate the tricky areas across the dunes, you have someone whom you can talk to and share the experience with.
Having said that, plan your trip well and book ahead of time so you can take full advantage of this adventure. For instance, if you are with family or friends, you have the option to choose the type of dune buggy that you want, which is both practical and convenient at the same time. On the same note, it pays well if you do your research and it helps in finding the tour or rental that provides the amenities that you need.
Top 4 Silver Lake Dune Buggy Rental and Tour Operators
The dunes in Michigan State can get pretty packed because of the number of people who wanted a shot at riding or driving a dune buggy. Therefore, if you decide to go for a guided tour or a rental, you will be wise to choose an operator who can accommodate or attend to your needs, regardless of what your plans are. For that matter, some of the popular dune buggy tours and rentals that you can find near Silver Lake State Park are as follows:
1. Silver Lake Buggy Rentals
This rental operator provides a wonderful selection of ORVs in their roster, starting from the two-seater dune buggy to the Kawasaki Teryx, which is a four-seater recreational UTV. They also have a Yamaha 450 Kodiak for those who prefer a powerful, reliable quad, and a two-seater rover.
Silver Lake Buggy Rentals offer lodging accommodations for visitors. They have the Lakeview Drive cottage, which has a lot of amenities and can sleep up to 9 individuals. A downtown apartment, which can lodge up to six people, is also open for renting. For more information on their dune buggy and lodging rentals, you can check them out on www.silverlakebuggys.com.
2. Wild Bill’s ATV Rentals
Wild Bill’s has been in the rental business for nearly two decades. They’re one of the go-to places by ATV buffs who wanted to have their hands on the 2021 Polaris Sportsman, which is a 499-cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled quad. Apart from that, they also rent out the two-passenger XP 1000 EPS Polaris Razors for those who want to experience driving recreational buggies. Considering their years of service in the industry, they’re worth checking out. If you want to find out more about Wild Bill’s ATV Rentals, visit their website at www.wildbillsatvs.com
3. Mac Wood’s Dune Ride
This dune operator goes back to the 1930s when its owner, Mac Wood, opened a dune scooter business for people who wanted to view the dunes behind the passenger seat. Presently, Mac Wood’s Dune Ride offers a 40-minute tour on a trail that goes for 7 miles long. During the ride, passengers get to hear historical and environmental yarns from the drivers.
This tour ride caters for the entire family. Not only do they have affordable rates for children (infants aged 2 and lower are free), they also provide discounts and amenities to army servicemen and mobility impaired, respectively. For more information, you can check them out on www.macwoodsdunerides.com.
4. Razor J’s Adventure Tours
If you want to drive a powerhouse quad like the Polaris Ranger RZR across a 500-acre dune, Razor J’s can get you what you want. Indeed, the 800-cc, Polaris Ranger which packs a powerful 52 HP is far from a dune buggy, but the fun and thrill of driving across the Silver Lake Sand Dunes are no less the same. That’s what you will get when you head to this rental operator.
Experience Extreme Adventure Through Dune Buggies in Michigan
Whether you’re riding along with your family or going solo on a guided tour along the coastlines of Lake Michigan, driving a dune buggy is so electrifying and delightful an experience to forgo. Silver Lake State Park is one of the places that offer people this adrenaline-charged opportunity.
For that matter, some dune parks are off-limits to ORVs, people are still presented with various options that can make out the most in your excursion. People can go on tour rides, bird-watching, hiking, skiing, and more.