Summer Thrills

Summer means “vacation” to many, and memories of family road trips along with the familiar mantra Mom and Dad grew weary of hearing: “Are we there yet?” I remember traveling to the Detroit Zoo and the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village back in the ’60s when speed limits were more of a suggestion than law. Dad was known to occasionally hit 100 mph-a great thrill for a young lad!

Today, I still enjoy a thrilling ride with my family while taking in some of the most panoramic Lake Michigan views, thanks to Mac Wood’s Dune Rides in Mears, MI.

A fourth generation family business, Mac Wood’s began operating in 1930 when Mac started looking for ways to entertain guests at a nearby resort he managed. Mac built the first four-passenger ‘dune scooter’ from a Model A Ford and charged 25 cents per ride.

Things were less restricted back then and like my Dad, with Mac behind the wheel, many described the trips as ‘thrill rides.’ Mac’s granddaughter, Shelby Olson, described a time when “there were no rules. It was a go-anywhere, full-speed fun ride.”

Though times have changed, the dune rides are just as exciting today as they were 84 years ago. Between climbs and descents through some of the most beautiful dunes in the state, you’ll stop along the way to enjoy views of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake while learning about the ecology of the dunes.

Today’s dune scooters seat more folks more comfortably (a feature your backside will appreciate!) so bring a few friends along for the ride. Working every summer since she was a child, Shelby emphasized the dune rides were all about family, friends and fun.  “Visiting Mac Wood’s is a unique experience that everyone in the family can enjoy from babies to grandparents!” She also says that many former guests are now bringing their kids and grandkids to ride, commenting about riding the dunes “when they were little.” Ah, those family memories. You gotta love em.

There is plenty of time left to enjoy a Pure Michigan summer. Comb the shores for beach glass, dip your toes in one of the Great Lakes, or simply soak up the sunshine. Family memories await just over the next dune. All you need is a map and the spirit of adventure. Enjoy and look around this pleasant peninsula!