Day 1: Arriving in Munising
We broke camp at Porcupine Mountains around 9:31 AM and left the dump station around 9:51 AM. That’s what you pay for having your own toilet: you have to dump the tank. We had to wait for a trailer in front of us to hook up, but at least we were first in line at the dump station. We had coffee and a breakfast bar before we left, then stopped at the Hilltop Restaurant for a lumberjack breakfast and more cinnamon rolls. Then onto Munising through construction in the Marquette area. We didn’t make any other stops.
We found the Munising Tourist Park campground just fine. We bought ice for $2.50 and firewood for $14. The firewood was kind of muddy and not very dry. When a campfire is your primary evening entertainment, the quality of your firewood matters! We had a full hookup which is unusual for us since we tend to stay at state parks. Figuring out the water hookup took a little work and research. We didn’t know we couldn’t adjust the pressure so we were done before we knew it. Literally! Our campsite itself was on a sandy beach. We got to drink beer on the beach for the first time since … Puerto Rico? Mexico? It’s been a while. The water was very cold of course.
This really cool driftwood stump was right next to our campsite on the beach. That made it convenient for us to photograph, but also means there was lots of foot traffic near our site because everyone else wants to photograph it too!
We cooked hotdogs over the fire, and it took the fire a while to get going. Then drank beer, of course!
Day 2: Pictured Rocks Tour and other Sightseeing
Today is our one scheduled activity on this trip, a Pictured Rocks cruise at 2:00 PM. So we were in no hurry to get up in the morning. We had coffee and cinnamon roll for breakfast, then drove to the visitors center where we got lots of maps and advice.
It was still a couple of hours before our tour, so we drove out to Miners Castle to check out the view, then hit Munising Falls on the way to Sand Point to do the marsh walk. We also picked up some better-looking firewood at a roadside stand. We’ll try that tonight; hope it’s better than the stuff at the campground.
The Pictured Rocks tour was beautiful and we had great weather for it. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life and this is the first time I’ve done this. This tour is a must-do in this area for a reason! You can do it by tour boat or kayak. We went for the tour boat option since it was reasonably priced and less likely to get called off due to weather. Plus we know Lake Superior is cold! Not just uncomfortably cold, dangerously cold. We’ve seen notices that you have 10 minutes in the water before the cold starts affecting you.
Our first meal out on this trip was to Pictured Rocks Pizza for thin-crust pizza from a woodfired oven. We had one with sausage, green pepper, and mushroom; and a Miners Castle with pepperoni, sausage, jalapenos, ham, and pineapple. Yummy. And I don’t usually like pineapple on my pizza. They put the cheese on first, then the sauce. It all blended together well. We walked around town a bit after dinner, then found the IGA and stocked up on IPA.
The wind picked up, but we still had a nice fire. The dog two doors down serenaded us since its owners weren’t home. We ate Chex mix and M&Ms for dinner after our late lunch and listened to cassettes again.
Day 3: Chapel Basin at Pictured Rocks
Coffee and cinnamon roll for breakfast, then over to Chapel Basin to hike, including a stop at Chapel Falls. This is the way to really see Chapel Rock, one of the famous landmarks in the area.
We ate our packed lunch in the truck on the way back to town. Since we had a full hookup we decided this would be a good time to practice backflushing the trailer tanks. So we went to hardware stores and checked out hoses for doing that. We also tidied up the trailer a little bit. When you live in a space this small you can’t let things slide much! We also saw about nine ducks diving right offshore.
We tried some new beer by the fire: Keewenau November Gale Pale Ale and Black Rocks 51K IPA. Both were good. We really enjoyed the Black Rocks. We also tried an Alaskan Heritage Coffee Brown, for the second time. We like that too. Warmed up chili for dinner. It was good, even with cheddar cheese chunks since we didn’t have any shredded cheese.
Day 4: Miners Falls and Beach
Not a big agenda today so we took it easy getting started. I tried to stretch my back out. It still hurts. We saw the ducks again this morning and got a better look at their coloring. They have rust-colored heads with crests on the back, so we believe they’re some kind of merganser, either common or red-chested?
We bought gas and got sandwiches for lunch and salt bagels for breakfast at Bay Furnace Bagel. I was happy to see salt bagels since they’re my favorite and are hard to find.
We went to Miners Falls, which were beautiful, then down to Miners Beach. Then we went back out to Sand Point again. We didn’t get to finish our walk the first time there and we enjoyed it, so we went back to finish that. We bought equipment to flush the tanks from Ace hardware then fudge from Pictured Rocks Coffee and Fudge. We are officially fudgies.
Back at camp we took a shower, put dishes away, and got the sewer equipment set up. Then we drove back into town for dinner at the Fish Basket. Really good crispy fish and less crispy but tasty — and real handcut — french fries eaten while sitting on lawn furniture in an alley. Then we bought creamer and headed back camp for a fire. Weather is still warm at 84 degrees.
We really enjoyed the Munising area and could have happily spent more time here checking out waterfalls and the different scenic areas at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The town is low-key and has enough restaurants to keep us from getting bored. We plan to come back here.
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There are no state parks near Munising so we opted for this local park. We had a lakeside site (#92) and a full hookup for a change. (Michigan state parks typically only have electric hookups.) The atmosphere was similar to a state park and we would stay here again. Lakeside site was wonderful; right on the beach.
There is no public transportation in the area and since we were hauling a trailer we had our own vehicle.