Remember back in 2011 when the viewers ABC’s Good Morning America voted Sleeping Bear “Most Beautiful Place In America”? Lakeshore attendance skyrocketed the following year.

Now a new record stands. The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016, and what better way to kick off the centennial-year celebration than with a record-breaking announcement from Sleeping Bear.

In 2015, a record 1,535,633 people “found their park” at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This just exceeded 1,531,560 park visitors received in 2012 following ABC’s Good Morning America declaring the park the “Most Beautiful Place in America.”

“The staff here is proud of the work they do to preserve this special place and make coming here a wonderful experience for all visitors,” said Acting Superintendent, Tom Ulrich. “While we don’t set out to increase visitation every year, this record reflects that hard work.”

Ulrich noted the new record comes in spite of the severe August 2nd windstorm that closed areas of the park during peak season.

“I’ll bet we lost 50-100,000 visits due to storm closures,” he said. “Even so, great weather, low gas prices, and a lot of media attention on the National Park Service Centennial and the many offerings in the region combined to entice people here.”

Two other National Park Service sites in Michigan, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and River Raisin National Battlefield Park also broke records in 2015. The National Lakeshore anticipates that strong visitation will continue in 2016 as it celebrates the National Park Service Centennial (click here to find out more) with special events and programs designed for returning and new visitors.

For more in-depth information about upcoming Centennial celebration events check Sleeping Bear’s Facebook page and click the “like” button at, Instagram at and Twitter at

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