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What's "The Most Beautiful Place in America"? GMA Viewers Pick Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore


Top photo: Dune climb from the Cottonwood Trail.Bottom: North Bar Lake overlook at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. NPS photos.

A recent series on Good Morning America invited viewers to choose the "most beautiful place in America." After producers narrowed the field to 10 finalists, nearly 100,000 votes were cast on the program's website. The winner, announced on August 17, was… Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis responded to the news by saying, "It's great that a park like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which is a little off the beaten track in northern Michigan, is being recognized for its exceptional beauty."

The Director went on to note, "Six of the ten areas nominated are associated with national parks, and they represent some of the variety of special places saved by the American people in our National Park System."

National Lakeshore Superintendent Dusty Shultz was thrilled by Sleeping Bear's selection. "I am honored and feel privileged to have served at this wonderful place for ten years, and still every day reveals a new aspect of its beauty and the remarkable natural and cultural resources entrusted to our care. We thank the viewers and staff at Good Morning America for this national recognition of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore."

An ABC News spokesperson noted, "The competition was fierce, as you might imagine, but in the end, it appears those who cherish the towering dunes, sparkling waters, and deep forests of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore mobilized to best the other praiseworthy candidates."

"I think because the beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes is so accessible to people, it makes it more real to them somehow," said National Lakeshore Deputy Superintendent Tom Ulrich. "Those who visit this place develop a very personal connection to it, and those deep feelings lead people to demonstrate how much they care."  

You can view video of the announcement of the winner at this link. Information to help plan a visit to the area is available on the park website.


I love Sleeping Bear Dunes and have gone there frequently, but really???  We are in the midst of a Yellowstone/Teton trip and can't imagine the dunes beating Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon.

I live in MI and The Dunes are beautiful, but I have been to the Grand Canyon, The Tetons, Arches, Rocky Mt. NP and I am sorry no comparison.

No.  It isn't.

Each Earthly Landscape has its own special Beauty not to be
demoted in Value simply because many citizen voters are near its shores.
A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature.
It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures
the depth of his own nature.

from the chapter "The Ponds" in Walden

Grand Tetons,Bryce Canyon are my two favorites along with the Grand Canyon. Bear Dunes wouldn't make my top 10!

Ditto...NO, it isn't.

...can't imagine the dunes beating Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon.

I haven't been to the dunes but have been to those other places and also can't imagine it being better...

GMA must have a strange viewer demographic. For starters, they don't travel much.

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