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Old 10-10-2016, 10:43 AM   #1
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Great Lakes Area-esp Michigan

Would like to hear from different persons their ideal camping/trip routes up to and around Upper Michigan from Pennsylvania, Perhaps crossing over into Canada as a grand circular route
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:51 AM   #2
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Would like to hear from different persons their ideal camping/trip routes up to and around Upper Michigan from Pennsylvania, Perhaps crossing over into Canada as a grand circular route
I made this trip from the Chicago area. I tried to stay as close to the Lake Michigan coast as possible. Found lost of nice little towns. Stopped in Holland, and coming down the west side a door county Wisconsin fish boil dinner is a must. If you are going the route and trying to make the circle clokwise and wind up back in Penn then forget the door county advice.
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:55 AM   #3
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Just got back from the UP Friday, Lake Brevort, the color is just starting to come on so your timing is good. My only suggestion is to get off the interstate and take the back roads. I have traveled the state of Michigan for over 60 years and find something new every time we go.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:17 AM   #4
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We just did a trip from Cincinnati. 2 nights outside of Cheboygan, 2 nights near Sault Ste Marie and 2 nights in Traverse city.

Here is our site at P.H. Hoeft State Park



The thing about Michigan campgrounds is that they do not pave their RV pads.

HOWEVER, their bathrooms are amazing. Every park we went to, the bathrooms were super clean, and have private showers. Each shower room has a door to the outside, then you have a changing area and the shower, all private. No shower curtains, communal benches, etc. Super nice.

If you stay near Cheboygan and want something to do, give Capt. Steve at Chum Bucket charters a call. $400 to take the 4 of us out, and we caught a ton of fish. Here is my wife's steelhead.



If you make it up to Sault Ste. Marie, eat dinner at The Antlers.
Good food, and tons of cool stuff to look at



We stayed at Brimley campground near Sault Ste Marie. Site 55 is the BEST in the park. You have a great view of Lake Superior.



Go over to the Canadian side of Sault Ste Marie, and check out the Bush Plane Museum. Cheap to get in, and a great way to spend a few hours.



My girls had a blast there



DO NOT make the mistake I did. If you stop at the duty free store, you still have to pay duty unless you spend more than 48 hours in Canada. Its STILL super cheap, so stop and stock up on liquor and beer. 12 packs of good beer were $6. But I got the third degree from the US border agent on my way back in to the US, but they let me off with a warning.

I liked Traverse City's campground the least. We stayed at the Traverse City state park campground, and it is literally RIGHT in the middle of the city. Good thing is you can walk out of the campground and down to somewhere for dinner, so if you want to have a few drinks, thats a bonus. But, the campsites were super small and we had zero privacy.

If you do go to that area though, check out the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery. They had some fantastic artisan pizzas.



Here is a shot of our campsite. I really disliked how little privacy we had. We were there during the cherry festival, so it was slammed.



They had these hilarious black squirrels though and they were not afraid of people.



We did another fishing charter in Traverse City. "Ultimate Fishing Charter".

We had an OK catch


But the captain was kind of a jerk. Just a real gruff unfriendly guy. And the first mate complained when I asked him to steak my trout instead of filet.

We did this 6 night trip the end of June, coming back on July 3rd. Pack warm. We had to go out and buy jackets. It was already in the 90s in Cincinnati, and we got up to our first over night, and were freezing at night.
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:53 PM   #5
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Silver Lake Sand Dune

If you Make Your Way North via the west side of the state stopping in Silver-lake Sandune's is a must. Silver Creek RV resort is amazing. Spots are spacious clean and it's a very enjoyable park. You can spend a day visiting the Sandune's, and if you don't have some type a four wheeler you can always rent one. The sand dunes are not only beautiful scenery, but worthy of an afternoon of fun as well!
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:11 PM   #6
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fyi - lugoismad --
Some MI State Parks do have RV Pads. If that's a requirement, the DNR website will let you know which parks (and/or) which sites have a Pad.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:12 PM   #7
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Just an additional point. Not all Michigan State Park campsites are dirt. Most in northern Michigan are because of the weather. Many in mid and southern Michigan have paved sites. Infact Holland as mentioned previously, is all paved on the beach sites. And there are many others. However, those sites get reserved early on. It is a beautiful place to camp having moved here 20 years ago!
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:14 PM   #8
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If you have the time, make one leg of your loop in Michigan on the west coast. Awesome beaches and fantastic campgrounds (state parks and private) all along there.
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:15 PM   #9
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The Porcupine Mtns State Park near Ontonagon in the west end of DA U.P. is beautiful right now!
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:22 PM   #10
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Just an additional point. Not all Michigan State Park campsites are dirt. Most in northern Michigan are because of the weather. Many in mid and southern Michigan have paved sites. Infact Holland as mentioned previously, is all paved on the beach sites. And there are many others. However, those sites get reserved early on. It is a beautiful place to camp having moved here 20 years ago!
X2 on the paved sites.
We just stayed at Young SP in Boyne City two weeks ago. The Terrace campground section is paved as well as some of the sites.
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:37 PM   #11
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Just an additional point. Not all Michigan State Park campsites are dirt. Most in northern Michigan are because of the weather. Many in mid and southern Michigan have paved sites. Infact Holland as mentioned previously, is all paved on the beach sites. And there are many others. However, those sites get reserved early on. It is a beautiful place to camp having moved here 20 years ago!
My mistake, sorry!
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:45 PM   #12
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Coming from PA I would consider going to Port Huron in the thumb and crossing into Canada there. Go up the Canadian side of Lake Huron to Tobermory. Catch the ferry across Georgian Bay and around to the Soo.
Cross there back into MI don't forget to tour the locks. Head west to Paradise up to Whitefish Point than over to Tahquamenon Falls. Head south thru Newberry back to St Ignace. Cross the Big Mac bridge head down along Lake Michigan side to Traverse City. Then cut back down M115 to I75 or US23 either way back to PA. I can suggest places to stay if would like. Done this trip a few times. One of my favorites.
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:52 PM   #13
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Traverse City state park is great if you want to experience what TC has to offer. The sites and roads are a bit tight. Within a half mile or so you have a big selection of restaurants from fast food, a 50s style drive in diner, Mexican, Ruby Tuesdays to mention a few. There are wine tasting tours if you like wine. The area is well known for good wine. There are many micro breweries around the area. Out the south side of the park, there is access to the Traverse Area Recreation Trail system. Locals refer it as the TART trails. You can ride or walk all the way into downtown and beyond if you're adventurous. On the north side, there's a bridge over US 31 to the beach on East Traverse Bay which is also part of the park. I wouldn't go expecting privacy or quiet but it's great if you're there to explore the TC area.

If you stay on I-75 to get to the U.P. then Hartwick Pines State Park east of Grayling is really nice and does offer a lot of privacy. Mackinaw City also has a nice state park west of the city and I've been told that the newest section has full hookups and it's right on the shore of Lake Michigan.

We camp over near Gaylord and the leaf color change is ahead of the west coast near TC for some reason but you'll have a fantastic show, that's for sure! Enjoy your trip through the Mitten!
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:58 PM   #14
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paved campsites

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fyi - lugoismad --
Some MI State Parks do have RV Pads. If that's a requirement, the DNR website will let you know which parks (and/or) which sites have a Pad.

Enjoy your trip!
Hartwick Pines Campground has paved campsites. make sure you get the inside circle sites, they are full hookups.
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Old 10-10-2016, 04:04 PM   #15
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Traverse City state park is great if you want to experience what TC has to offer. The sites and roads are a bit tight. Within a half mile or so you have a big selection of restaurants from fast food, a 50s style drive in diner, Mexican, Ruby Tuesdays to mention a few. There are wine tasting tours if you like wine. The area is well known for good wine. There are many micro breweries around the area. Out the south side of the park, there is access to the Traverse Area Recreation Trail system. Locals refer it as the TART trails. You can ride or walk all the way into downtown and beyond if you're adventurous. On the north side, there's a bridge over US 31 to the beach on East Traverse Bay which is also part of the park. I wouldn't go expecting privacy or quiet but it's great if you're there to explore the TC area.

If you stay on I-75 to get to the U.P. then Hartwick Pines State Park east of Grayling is really nice and does offer a lot of privacy. Mackinaw City also has a nice state park west of the city and I've been told that the newest section has full hookups and it's right on the shore of Lake Michigan.

We camp over near Gaylord and the leaf color change is ahead of the west coast near TC for some reason but you'll have a fantastic show, that's for sure! Enjoy your trip through the Mitten!
I think if we hadn't been there during the cherry festival, I'd have enjoyed TC a lot more. The Blue Angles were practicing, and kept flying over top really low, and it was scaring the heck out of my girls. One of my daughters is autistic, and every time they'd fly over, she'd flip out. I don't know why they couldn't have flown out over the lake to practice.

Like I said, Jolly Pumpkin had some fantastic beers and pizza. I even bought a growler and took it back to our campsite with us.
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Old 10-10-2016, 05:34 PM   #16
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Lugoismad,

As a local, I try to avoid TC like the plague around national Cherry Festival time since traffic is terrible. My DW worked on the other side of town and her travel time is doubled. Unfortunately life happens and doctor appointments and shopping(most big stores are on the west side) so unfortunately it can't be avoided. With the Blue Angels demonstration centered over the west bay, they use areas on both sides of town for the setup for their maneuvers. Some of their maneuvers depend on the surprise factor so they use the land to do that. They are here every other year and the Air Force Thunderbirds have been coming up on the other years. There is so much to see and do around here and the state park is a great hub for it all. Give another try but stay away from Cherry Festival.
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:24 PM   #17
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Many travelers coming from the east forget about the other side of the U.P. - don't miss the Wild West!

You will really get the flavor of the whole Peninsula by taking a loop route within it. Start at the bridge, then go:

1) I-75 north to Sault Ste Marie
2) Back south to M-28, then west, and north at Newberry to Tahquamenon Falls
3) Farther west on M-28, then MAYBE north at Munising to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (You don't want to go there anywhere near peak season. Even if you are lucky enough to find a campsite, the place has received heavy promotion by the state and things are unbelievably crazy with tourist traffic, enough to make the experience unpleasant - to me, at least.)
4) West to Marquette, then farther west and north on U.S. 41; this will take you up the Keweenaw Peninsula, to Houghton/Hancock and as far as Copper Harbor (the Downtown L'Anse waterfront on Keweenaw Bay is a nice stop on the way )
5) South from Houghton/Hancock on M-26 to M-38 west, which will take you to Ontonagon (worth a stop even though most people bypass it to go to the Porkies)
6) West from Ontonagon on M-64 to Silver City, continuing west to the Porcupine Mountains State Park
7) Either back to M-64 south to M-28 west, OR south and west on South Boundary Road to the west end of the Porkies (highly recommended - large beautiful waterfalls on the Presque Isle River) then back south to M-28
8) Either continue west to Ironwood, or turn east onto U.S. 2 at Wakefield to take the southern route back to the bridge
9) U.S. 2 will take you all the way back east - but don't be afraid to divert a bit on some of the state highways to other towns and campgrounds (Gladstone is one nice stop)

Hopefully this all makes sense if you're looking at a map!

The southwest part of the U.P. (Bruce Crossing-Bergland-Wakefield-Marenisco-Watersmeet areas) gets some of the least tourist traffic (most visitors come from the Lower Peninsula, and most of them don't make it that far west). If you like quiet, this is the place to be, with some beautiful campgrounds in the Ottawa National Forest. Developed campgrounds with hookups and appropriate for very large RVs are less common.

Besides some rustic campgrounds that will remain unnamed , some of my favorites are:
- Gladstone Bay Campground, Gladstone
- Perkins Park, Big Bay
- Van Riper State Park, Champion (lots of highway noise, though)
- L'Anse Township Park, L'Anse
- Fort Wilkins State Park, Copper Harbor
- McLain State Park, Hancock

Enjoy!
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Old 10-11-2016, 06:59 AM   #18
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Cross over at Niagara Falls. Stay at Traverse Bay RD Resort...see South Haven..St. Jiseph(Stay at Shamrock RV campground) the beaches at So Haven and St Joe are great...don't miss the sleeping bear dunes...incredible
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:29 AM   #19
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While it is the lower P rather than the upper P, we adore Little Girls Point County Park. Just north of Ironwood and near the Wisconsin border it is on the shore of Lake Superior, a bargain price, and great views.
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Old 10-11-2016, 03:30 PM   #20
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Check out the PBS TV show, "Under the Radar" for great hidden gems of restaurants, fun places, nature areas, etc. You can view the info online or buy their book on the first 50 episodes. We use the book to find places of interest that you may not find out about otherwise, especially great little restaurants.
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