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Old 01-24-2009, 04:19 PM   #1
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Michigan Tour

DW and I plan to visit and tour the state of Michigan. We plan to take 2 days to travel to MI, spend 6 days in the state, then take 2 days travelling back to PA. We're interested in your suggestions regarding "must see" places in Michigan and how long to stay and those "must see" sights. Thanks!
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:34 PM   #2
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Re: Michigan Tour

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Originally Posted by Both2Retired
DW and I plan to visit and tour the state of Michigan. We plan to take 2 days to travel to MI, spend 6 days in the state, then take 2 days travelling back to PA. We're interested in your suggestions regarding "must see" places in Michigan and how long to stay and those "must see" sights. Thanks!
What time are you thinking about? Our weather can really make or break some of the things to see.

Jon
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Old 01-24-2009, 05:53 PM   #3
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Michigan Tour

Jon - We're tentatively planning on coming your way during the later part of August.
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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The state of Michigan is much larger than most people realize. Travel time from the Detroit area in Southeastern Michigan to Copper Harbor (a northwestern tip) in the Upper Peninsula is approximately 12 hours. The Upper and Lower Peninsulas both have incredible sites.

The UP is very rural with lots of state and national forests/parks that are very beautiful. Highlight stops include, the Soo Locks, in Sault St. Marie, the Museum at Whitefish Point, Pictured Rocks in Munising, Copper Harbor, Isle Royale, Fayette State Park, and Tahquamenon Falls. The UP is a week trip by itself going along the Lake Superior coast on the north and Lake Michigan coast on the south.

The circle tour of the lower peninsula of Michigan takes you along the coasts of Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, traveling east to west.

The biggest tourist attraction in Southeast Michigan, Detroit Metro Area is "The Henry Ford", in Dearborn, MI. It includes Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum, IMAX theater and a Ford Factory Tour (F-150 being built). You could easily spend 3 days if you wanted to see it all. Trying to see some of the Village and some of the museum in one day is possible, if you plan to spend 4 hours in each. The closest campground I would recommend to stay at is about 30 minutes away.

Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan is about 30 minutes away from Dearborn and The Henry Ford. There is a huge art festival held the end of July. Football weekends in the fall are crazy.

Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is in an area called the Irish Hills, south of I-94. In the summer and during race season, the area is jammed. There are lots of lakes, campgrounds, state land, farms, etc. in the area. The upcoming Midwest (Michigan) Meet & Greet is being planned for the west side of the Irish Hills. MIS is on the eastern side of the Irish Hills area.

About an hour north of Metro Detroit (off I-75) is Frankenmuth. It's a German town that has the largest Christmas store (Bronner's). There are 2 restaurants that are world famous for their chicken dinners. We've stayed at the Yogi Bear campground in town a number of times. Even if you don't stay in Frankenmuth overnight, it's worth a stop at Bronner’s and for chicken lunch or dinner.

The upper portion of the state is very scenic. The topography changes about mid state. We get an "up north" feel just north of Bay City (along I-75). If you're willing to travel further north, we'd recommend Mackinac Island. (about a 6 hour drive from Detroit). Cars are not allowed on the island, ferries run across about every 20 - 30 minutes from May - Oct. You can take your bikes (or rent) to use on the island. The Grand Hotel is something to see. Horse drawn carriage rides are available for guided tours of the island and historic fort. Mackinac Island Fudge is a must! The Mackinac Bridge can be seen from Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, the ferry or the island. You don't have to cross the bridge to St. Ignace to go to the Island.

On the northwest side of the state, the major cities along the water are Petoskey, Charlevoix and Traverse City. Traverse City is the cherry capital and we are partial to the area. Besides everything being cherry, there are a number of wineries in the area that may be toured. The Cherry Festival runs the first week of July. There are beautiful inland lakes, with Little Traverse Bay, Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan surrounding the area. Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and Sand Dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan is incredible. The main dune is over 400 feet tall. We kayak the Platte River which ends up at Lake Michigan. The view is breathtaking. Torch Lake is an inland lake rated one of the top 3 most beautiful. It's 18 miles long and the color rivals the Caribbean. We spend much of the summer in the area.

On the southwestern side of Michigan, along Lake Michigan are a number of unique towns. Ludington has a great state park and a ferry that runs across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin. Grand Haven is a Coast Guard city that has the musical fountain. Holland hosts the tulip festival in May. Saugatuck has a nautical feel in a small town with many art galleries.

Check out the www.Michigan.gov website, click travel & recreation. That will give you more info. www.marvac.org has a listing of many campgrounds.

I know there are lots more places that others may add, but these are a few of our favorites.

Jill
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:19 AM   #5
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We’re big fans of the Traverse City-Petoskey area in the northwestern part of the lower peninsula. There’s a lot to do in Traverse City and environs, especially if you like wineries. Leeland is a very picturesque touristy small town with one of the best sandwich shops anywhere. We stay at the Holiday Park campground in Traverse City and do day trips from there. The campground is owned by Airstream owners so you see a lot of Airstreams, but it’s open to anyone. We’ve been very pleased with the campground. Petoskey is a fine place, too, with lots of shops, a great marina, and good bicycle paths. There’s a really fancy KOA just outside of town and a small town operated facility as well. We’ve stayed in both. The town campground is basic and not particularly attractive. However, it’s right in town so proximity is a selling point. The KOA is one of the fancier ones we’ve ever stayed in and the operators are friendly. It wasn’t cheap, though.

Another place we’ve spent time is Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island at the tip of the lower peninsula. The island is beautiful and worth at least one visit. They go overboard with the fudge shops, but there’s a lot to see on the island. If you like tourist towns, then you’ll love Mackinaw City: there isn’t a souvenir or tschotchke you can’t find there. When visiting Mackinaw City we stay at the Mill Creek campground south of town. It’s big and busy (during the summer it’s like a small town), but we’ve always enjoyed ourselves there, especially if we get a space facing Lake Huron.

It doesn’t sound like you have enough time, but you owe it to yourselves to visit the upper peninsula at some point. It’s a whole different world from the rest of Michigan. There are tons of campgrounds to pick from—private, forest service, state. Places we’ve enjoyed: Tahquamenon Falls State Park, the shipwreck museum at Whitefish Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keeweenaw Peninsula (there’s a great little bookstore in town). We’ve camped in forest service campgrounds on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and equally enjoyed these very different lakes.

If you have a chance, you might gear your stays near concentrations of lighthouses. They’re fascinating structures and each one has an interesting history.

Hope this helps.
Don
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:05 PM   #6
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WOW!! Jill and Don have given some great info. You'd think they worked for the Tourism Department for the state.

I cant think of too much more to say that they havent, but the Circle Tour is one of our favorites because you get to travel along some beautiful two-lane roads and get to visit many cool little towns that even surprise Cindy and I that they're this close to our home town.


Views like this are expected when traveling through the little towns and shoreline villages time forgot



Tahquamenon Falls is amazing as is most of the U.P. But remember, the Upper portion is huge and can take a month to go from tip to tip alone. We spent the entire fall of 2007 criss-crossing the U.P. and if the cold weather wasnt chasing us out, we'd probably still be up there. It's just that beautiful.

One of the only places we've ever seen wild wolves. At day break while in the Porcupine Mountains one morning, we got to see two cross the road right in front of us. Locked up the brakes, came to a stop and before I could grab the camera, they were gone into the thick woods.

If you do go into the U.P., make sure to visit both Tahquamenon Falls, then head up to the Pictured Rocks Lakeshore and take the sunset cruise to view the shoreline. Something you wont forget too soon. Also check out the Two Hearted River area if you're into paddling or fishing.


This was taken off the back of the boat on the Sunset Tour


This is what you'll see on the tour, but this time Cindy and I decided to paddle it ourselves in the kayaks. Ended up being just a bit farther than we expected and ended up paddling back under a full moon. Not something you want to do on Lake Superior, but no one ever said we were smart.

If you could wait a month or two and push the trip back to the end of September, you'll be shown one of the best displays of color known to mankind. People come from all over the world to see the fall colors in the U.P.




This is Lake in the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains and is taken from the Viewing platform that is accessable from wheelchair, so no hiking involved to see one amazing view.

I could probably crash the server with photos if you want me to keep going, so something tells me you had better plan for a little longer than only 10 days
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