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Old 06-16-2021, 01:19 PM   #1
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Smile Michigan - First Visit - Where to Visit

End of July, we are starting a camping trip to Michigan, which we have never been, the UP. We really don't want to pull our TT through big cities. Love to explore little unknown, but great areas. Local history (we love to learn as much as we can about the places we visit), Civil War, fishing, hiking photography, golf, rafting, thrift shops, flea markets, yard sales and quilting are our interests.
Route suggestions, little known places of interest, campgrounds suggestion, where not to travel - all would be gratefully appreciated. Full hookup preferred. We are really excited about discovering this part of the USA!
Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-16-2021, 03:24 PM   #2
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Wow... Having lived my whole life in Michigan, I hardly know where to start... I have many favorite places to visit, but I keep discovering more. Trying to list all the different places in one post is an exercise in futility!

I would start by visiting some of the websites out there that try to provide tourism info for Michigan:
https://www.michigan.org/
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...-Michigan.html
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti..._Michigan.html

Throw in some websites that can help you find campgrounds:
https://www.uptravel.com/places-to-stay-2/campgrounds/
https://campmichigan.com/find-campground/

A couple of articles on favorite campgrounds:
https://rvlifestyle.com/campgrounds-in-the-up/
https://www.superiortrails.com/up-camping.html

I will note that the farther north you go in Michigan, the more difficult it will be to find full hookup sites. The camping season up there is quite short, so there are not a lot of fancy places. I happen to be a big fan of the Michigan State Park system, but most of those don't have full hookup sites. You will find, however, that the State Park system typically has some of the best locations in relationship to the places you want to see. That's not always true, but it often is.

I recommend staying at one of the two campgrounds in Sault Ste. Marie:
https://www.saultstemarie.com/member...ks-campground/
https://www.saultcity.com/aune-osborn-campground
These campgrounds are right on the St. Mary's river where all the Great Lakes freighters pass by on their way to and from Lake Superior. Sitting by the shore as the sun goes down watching freighters pass by is a really neat experience. These campgrounds are also close to the activities available in Sault. Ste. Marie, so it makes a nice base to operate from while you are there. Visiting the Soo Locks is a must. Take the boat ride through the locks for the full experience.

If you've never been to Mackinac Island, then that is a must see place. No vehicles are allowed, so only horses, bicycles and walking to get around. There are historical sites as well as tourist sites on the island, so plenty of things to do for a day.
https://www.mackinacisland.org/

There are plenty of waterfalls in the U.P., with Tahquamenon Falls being the most famous. I highly recommend visiting there. While in that area you could also visit Whitefish Point and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum:
https://www.michigan.org/property/gr...-light-station

Visiting the Pictured Rocks area is also recommended:
https://www.nps.gov/piro/index.htm
Taking a boat tour is highly recommended. If you can manage it, try to take the last tour of the day if it is sunny because the lighting of the rocks will be the best at that time of day.

If you like hiking, the Porcupine Mountain area has lots of places to do that:
https://www.porcupineup.com/

Michigan also has a place called Canyon Falls:
https://www.michigan.org/property/canyon-falls
The water flow is best in the spring, but even in the summer it's a nice place to go hiking and get some nice pictures.

Fayette State Park is a historical place to visit and is also very picturesque:
https://www.michigan.org/property/fa...ark-and-harbor

Here's a hidden gem that is worth a short visit if you are in the area:
Manistique Tourism Council - The Big Spring
This one is near Fayette State Park, so you could do a two-fer.

This campground is fairly new and near both of these. If you can get in, it would be a nice place to stay:
https://manistiquelakeshorecampground.org/
I would note that from this campground, you can make day trips to several other places in the U.P. easily enough. We have visited the Pictured Rocks area while staying in Manistique.

I happen to like spending time up in the Keweenaw Peninsula:
https://www.keweenaw.info/
Lots of history up there from it's heyday as a copper mining area. Plenty of great scenery as well. If you go up there, make sure to find your way to the top of Brockway Mountain. More info here:
https://www.keweenaw.info/keweenaw-p...copper-harbor/

If you like lighthouses, Michigan has a bunch:
https://www.michigan.org/lighthouses...le=Lighthouses

Don't forget about taking a few minutes to marvel at "The Bridge":
https://www.mackinacbridge.org/
While in Mackinac City, you can stop at Mama Mia's Pizza and visit the bridge museum upstairs:
Bridge Museum in Mackinaw City

If you want to visit some places in the Lower Peninsula, there are plenty of things to see there as well. Sleeping Bear Dunes being among the most highly recommended. All along the west coast of Michigan are quaint little towns tucked in here and there.

I guess that's enough for now. Hope this helps!

EDIT: I should have mentioned that getting campground reservations is highly recommended! I know in the lower peninsula there are many people complaining about not being able to find places to stay on the weekends. I'm not sure if it's as much as a problem in the U.P., but it wouldn't surprise me.
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Old 06-16-2021, 03:37 PM   #3
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Oh, if you are still in the U.P. on the second weekend in August, perhaps you would be interested in checking out the antique boat show in Hessel, MI:
https://www.lciboatshow.com/event-sc...-brochure.html

It's really neat to see, but it's typically kinda' crowded. The town isn't that big, but the show usually attracts lots of people, so parking and what not is in short supply.
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Old 06-16-2021, 03:44 PM   #4
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We almost always stay at ďTwin LakesĒ about 45 minutes south of Houghton/Hancock. My main gripe is that it does not have full hook ups, but is very close to DW family.
Porcupine Mountains are a great place as long as the flies arenít bad (some years it has been awful!) Visit Lake of the Clouds which is just off the highway (donít pull your TT to Lake of the Clouds)
Copper Harbor is good!
Pictured Rocks is on my short list to camp (we stopped once for a day hike)
We stayed in Paradise one year (and had the obligatory Cheeseburger!)
Visit Brockway Mt WITHOUT YOUR TRAILER!!! It is a gorgeous view at the top. We usually stop on our way to other places (like Copper Harbor) since there are more than 1 way in/out it makes for a great detour that only adds a little time to the trip.
Taquaminon (not sure how to spell it) is another great spot.
Mackinac is another great day trip (bring your bike, no automobiles allowed)

If you find a good spot with full hookups let me know (especially near Houghton)
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Old 06-16-2021, 04:06 PM   #5
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The City of Houghton RV park has full hookups, but I'm guessing you might have a hard time getting reservations there if you don't work plenty in advance:
https://www.cityofhoughton.com/rv-park/
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Old 06-16-2021, 04:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daxinarian View Post
Visit Brockway Mt WITHOUT YOUR TRAILER!!! It is a gorgeous view at the top.
I should have mentioned that we typically do NOT do the touristy things while pulling our RV, so my suggestions were all made with the thought that you would be just driving your tow vehicle. We usually park the RV for a few nights and do day trips to see the sights. And yes, do NOT try to pull your RV up Brockway Mountain...
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Old 06-16-2021, 04:25 PM   #7
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I agree with all of the above suggestions!

I love Copper Harbor. Ft Wilkins is usually where we go. The west loop is the older part, it's smaller, and has more and bigger trees. The fort itself is pretty cool too. There's a private campground in town, I believe they have half a dozen full hookup sites, but nowhere near as remote feeling. Estavant Pines is a good hike, also the rocket base near high rock bay is fun to hike. You can drive a portion of the way there with a normal car. After that, walk or bring better wheels....

X2 on canyon falls. Great day hike, keep following the river past the falls....

The copper mine tours are fun too. Delaware mine in the Keewenaw, Quincy mine in Houghton Hancock, the Ontanogan adventure mine was my favorite. The advanced tour there included rappelling 20 ft from one level to a lower level. Kind of freaky, but super fun!

Pt. Abbey is a great place to spend an afternoon and stare at the lake and the Keweenaw in solitude. Drive to the parking spot within a mile of the tip, and walk the rest.

There are quite a few falls to see. The west end of the porkies to ontanogan has quite a few. We spent a whole day just hiking to around 5 of them at the west end.

Copper Peak ski jump in Ironwood is awesome....take a ski lift up to the base of the old jump, then take the elevator 18 stories up, and climb a few more to get to the top and see some cool views! We were there just after the fall colors started. It was cold and very windy at the top, but worth it! You can go down the way you went up, or they let you walk down the jump. Crazy to think about skiing it! The gift shop explains the history of "ski flying", and why this jump exists.

The Iron Mountain iron mine tour was fun too. There's a train that takes you into the mine, and there's a staggeringly large cavern that has way less ore in it than mother nature originally left.

I grew up in the UP, and have continued to visit and camp for decades. We still find new places and fun things to see and do. I hope you enjoy it!
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:26 PM   #8
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Agree with all the above but no one mentioned Marquette! There is a campground called "Tourist Park" then you can explore the town which has rich mining history and the worlds largest wooden dome. Its really cool if you can catch a lake freighter loading at the upper ore dock. Lots of local craft brews too..if your into that.
+1 for kitch-iti-kipi (Big Spring) its really cool to see in person.
Also +1 for Mackinac Island its almost a must do and you could get a decent experience with just a one day visit.

The lower has Traverse City which is a popular vacation spot. Down the Lake Michigan coast is Silver Lake State Park and you could rent various ORVs and ride on the dunes. Only place you can this side of the Mississippi. Or take a Mac Woods Dune ride and they explain the history of the area.
Further down the coast is Holland with a dutch village and windmills.

In short you really cant go wrong visiting Michigan...lots to see and do.
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Old 06-17-2021, 01:11 PM   #9
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Most of the good spots have been mentioned - Taq falls, copper Harbor, Sault Locks - if near Newberry try Oswald Bear Ranch that is a fun visit
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Old 06-17-2021, 01:25 PM   #10
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Wow a lot of great responses here. What a great forum. We did Michigan for the first time last year. Spent two days on Mackinaw Island while the camper stayed on the mainland. Island is cool once all the day trippers leave. Sand dunes near Mears are cool too. We took a jeep tour. Also a day trip up to the UP to Soo Locks and a boat tour through the locks. We would like to return to Michigan again some day.
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Old 06-17-2021, 01:58 PM   #11
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Four recommendations not on the above lists:
1. If you go to Whitefish Point (which has a lot going for it) stop at Browns Fisheries in Paradise, some of the best fish you can find anywhere and at great prices. Go early, they often run out.
2. Lakenland. A junkyard art gallery. Free and open 24/7 (outdoors - drive or walk thru). On the south side of M-28 15 miles east of Marquette.
3. Hilltop Restaurant in L' Anse. Absolutely fabulous sweet rolls. These things are huge - 1 is good for 2-4 people... It's a nice family restaurant.
4. Also, near L'Anse, you can scale the "highest mountain" in Michigan Mount Arvon a mind numbing 1,979 feet of elevation.
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Old 06-17-2021, 02:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SailorSam20500 View Post
Four recommendations not on the above lists:
3. Hilltop Restaurant in L' Anse. Absolutely fabulous sweet rolls. These things are huge - 1 is good for 2-4 people... It's a nice family restaurant.
.
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Old 06-17-2021, 02:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SailorSam20500 View Post
Four recommendations not on the above lists:

3. Hilltop Restaurant in L' Anse. Absolutely fabulous sweet rolls. These things are huge - 1 is good for 2-4 people... It's a nice family restaurant.
.
You mean one of these has to be shared - who knew
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Old 06-17-2021, 09:09 PM   #14
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There's a new RV Park in Manistique near the old Ann Arbor Ferry dock (parts of which are still there). It's been in business about 3 or 4 seasons now:

https://manistiquelakeshorecampground.org/

Nicely located to visit a lot of places from a central point (Fayette, Big Spring, Tahquamenon Falls). There are also RV parks at Munising, near Marquette, in downtown Houghton, near Rapid River but you need to make reservations well in advance. These all have full hook ups.
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Old 06-18-2021, 12:35 PM   #15
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I image you are traveling north up I-75 since the border with Canada is closed. You will be traveling in the Detroit area and will be near this amazing world famous museum. Since you are really into history I would suggest spending a full day at Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford. There is also The Henry Ford museum and a Rouge River Factory tour. https://www.thehenryford.org/


Happy travels! I'm heading east this September to the Alleghenies, Finger Lakes, and Adirondacks. If you have any must sees I should plan on, please let me know!
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Old 07-05-2021, 05:48 PM   #16
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WOW----

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftRoo View Post
End of July, we are starting a camping trip to Michigan, which we have never been, the UP. We really don't want to pull our TT through big cities. Love to explore little unknown, but great areas. Local history (we love to learn as much as we can about the places we visit), Civil War, fishing, hiking photography, golf, rafting, thrift shops, flea markets, yard sales and quilting are our interests.
Route suggestions, little known places of interest, campgrounds suggestion, where not to travel - all would be gratefully appreciated. Full hookup preferred. We are really excited about discovering this part of the USA!
Thanks in advance.
WOW-Thank you is not sufficient to everyone who responded. My wife and I have been pouring over each response to plan where we are going. Thank you for sharing your love for Michigan with us.
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