Lake Superior (Mostly)

We’d both been to Michigan’s upper peninsula (AKA the UP) but not together, so we decided we had to go. Steve had been to the Porcupine Mountains and Pictured Rocks, two of the UP’s highlights, but I never had. And while I love Petoskey and have been there many times, and enjoyed camping at Sleeping Bear, he had never done that. So we shared with each other some of our favorite places in our home state. Any one of these destinations would be great for up to a week. Or more! They also link together nicely. This was also our first two-week camping trip with our trailer and the first since we fixed a major roof leak. So we also refined our trailer camping skills. 

Food and Beverage $52 per day

Average per day. We ate out 10 times. The other 35 meals we ate in camp.

Lodging $30 per night

Average per day. We camped in our travel trailer in a combination of national, state, and private parks.

Transportation $380

We drove our own truck. This cost includes gas and tolls to cross the Mackinac Bridge.

Entertainment $215

This includes a Pictured Rocks boat tour, our biggest ticket item at $38 each, plus firewood, our annual state park pass, and a few dollars for parking.

Day 1: Straits State Park

Planned Activities

  • None

Actual Activities

  • None

The Plan: We wanted to get across the Mackinac Bridge our first night.

The Reality: We achieved that. 

Drive from home

259 miles from the Lansing area; 5 hours.

Camp at Straits State Park

Site #81, near the lake. A fairly spacious site and we didn't have to unhitch the trailer.

Get around by driving

Day 2-5: Porcupine Mountains State Park

Planned Activities

  • Escarpment hike
  • Presque Isle hike

Actual Activities

  • Escarpment hike
  • Presque Isle hike
  • Union Mine hike

The Plan: I have never been to the Porcupine Mountains before unless it was when I was a kid too young to remember. We’re seeking wilderness and hiking opportunities.

The Reality: We were able to fit in another hike we hadn’t planned on. 

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Drive from the Straits

316 miles; 6 hours

Camp at Porcupine Mountaints State Park

Site #18, on the lakeshore.

Get around by driving

Day 6-9: Munising

Planned Activities

  • Pictured Rocks boat cruise
  • At least one hike

Actual Activities

  • Pictured Rocks boat cruise
  • Hiking at Chapel Basin
  • Several waterfalls

The Plan: Pictured Rocks is famous for its scenery and again I haven’t been there unless I was too young to remember. 

The Reality: The boat tour was everything we hoped for, and there was more to do in the Munising area than we realized. We saw several waterfalls and still missed some of them. We’d like to come back to this area again. 

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Drive from Porcupine Mountains

169 miles; 3 hours

Camp at Munising Tourist Park Campground

Site #92, on the lakeshore.

Get around by driving

Day 10-12: Petoskey

Planned Activities

  • Sightseeing in Harbor Springs and Petoskey
  • Hanging out at the beach
  • Eating out

Actual Activities

  • Sightseeing in Harbor Springs and Petoskey
  • Hanging out at the beach
  • Eating out

The Plan: This is one of my favorite places in Michigan and Steve has never been there.

The Reality: It was a nice combination of relaxing beach time and touring and taking advantage of an upscale up north area. We never did find a way to walk from the campground to the stores and restaurants, but it was a short drive.

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Drive from Munising

159 miles; 3 hours

Camp at Petoskey State Park

Site #92, in the Tannery Creek campground.

Get around by driving

Day 13-16: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Planned Activities

  • Empire Bluffs hike
  • Platte River hike
  • Visiting Traverse City
  • Sightseeing at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Actual Activities

  • Empire Bluffs hike
  • Platte River hike
  • Visiting Traverse City
  • Sightseeing at Sleeping Bear Dunes

The Plan: We’ve both been here, but not together. And we wanted to camp at Platte River, which I camped at before the renovation.

The Reality: The campground is great and the beach with the river flowing into it is just like I remembered it.  We enjoyed walking around Traverse City even though it was unseasonably hot: in the 90s. The Platte River hiking was mildly disappointing and Empire Bluffs was great.

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Drive from Petoskey

102 miles; 2.5 hours

Camp at Platte River Campground

Site #322. This is a fantastic campground in a great location and very popular. Book as early as possible.

Get around by driving

Drive home to Lansing area 211 miles; 3.5 hours

Resources

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