Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive // Our Favorite Places
There might not be a Northern Michigan landmark more famous than the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore dune climb. But just a few minutes south is a more contemplative, subtle way to appreciate our state. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive takes you through diverse landscapes and dense woods, with stops along the way to a grand finale: a massive dune overlooking Lake Michigan.
Whether you’re from here or not, it’s hard not to feel that deep, human attachment to water from up here. It just feels intimate, personal, no matter how many people are around.
That’s not to write off the beauty of the drive itself! The stops along the way take us through protected parklands, beautiful hills, ancient trees, and a covered bridge. So many opportunities to stop and get a unique portrait.
And then you get to overlook number nine and it’s like. Oh. My. God. So much space just for wandering.
With all of the sloping dunes and tall grass, and it looks timeless— as beautiful in spring and fall as it is in summer. When we’re looking through old photos, it’s hard to tell when we shot.
It’s not just sand and water, either— there are plenty of spots tucked away with big, leafy foliage where you can duck in and get a cozy close-up.
The lookout is one of our favorite parts of #9, and not just because it has a stunning view of Lake Michigan.
And there are all sorts of other secret, solitary spaces to get away and capture some of the essence of the park.
Oh yeah, did we mention, this whole place is DOG FRIENDLY?
That’s right, and it’s basically pup heaven. For them, there’s nothing but sand, sticks, and chipmunks galore. Just… make sure they watch out for poison ivy.
And man, those sunsets, though!!
You will never find silhouettes like this anywhere else. Our side is simply the best side— apologies to Wisconsin.
If you’re like us, you won’t be able to resist staying out here until after dark. Don’t limit yourself with a strict shooting schedule! Lean into it, embrace it, enjoy it. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is one of the most beautiful spots in the country, and nothing is better for your health than staying an extra hour or two.
Take a look at a full session from Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
Take a look at the NPS page to gather details on how to enjoy this beautiful park