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Yoooper-rrifc travel plans

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#1
There is a chance that the Warhol family might be driving through the Mitten and UP next summer. We are thinking about spending a night or two in the UP. What are some suggestions of things to do for two adults with a 5 yo in July?

I know Veloise will suggest the Mackinaw Bridge. :D

Is Mackinaw Island worth a visit? Spending the night? Just the day? Camping on one of the other islands? Bois Blanc?

Full disclosure: We do not like to fish.
 

mendelman

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#2
Having grown up in Alpena, MI, I always enjoyed visiting Fayette State Park.

It's a partially restored town site on the north shores-ish of Lake Michigan. It a little drive from the Bridge/St. Ignace, but it's worth it for a long day trip. Plus it's a place the 5 yr old can run, run, run.

Or another day trip would be to the Sault Ste. Marie locks on the Michigan side.

If you're running through the eastside of the Lower Peninsula please stop in my hometown, Alpeana. It's really nice Lake Huron shores city and the NOAA Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary museum is right in downtown and you can learn about the extensive shipwreck history of Thunder Bay (which is the largest concentration of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes).

Have fun!
 

Maister

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#4
A stop at Mackinac Island is practically mandatory. No vehicles are permitted on the island and transportation is accomplished largely on foot or by horse or on bicycle. The town is positively charming. Here, see for yourself....
https://www.google.com/maps/@45.849...q3wFTlcGJ-hn93-wWtgL!2e10!3e11!7i10240!8i5120

Speaking of town, you'll probably want to stop at the colonial fort at the south end of the bridge in the City of Mackinaw. There, you can talk to the colonial re-enactors/docents. And within walking distance is the old lighthouse (which has/had an okay tour). Once you're in the UP there's Tahquamenon Falls State Park, the Soo Locks, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Other popular tourist destinations include the Iron Mountain Iron Mine, or the Quicy Mine, and there are lots of lighthouses, breweries, and nature trails to tour. :michigan::h:

Better streetview of The Island
https://www.google.com/maps/@45.849...rlDwVad3KM3_VQR1bQgF!2e10!3e11!7i10604!8i5302
 
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#5
Yooper Land is overrated....
















Just kidding. There is so much to do there, that it will depend on the kinds of stuff your interested in and which route you are taking. If you are taking US-2 heading east, I would suggest stopping off in my hometown of Escanaba and checking out Ludington Park to walk around. You can check out the boats in the harbor and even stop into some of the stores on Ludington Street (which is very long). Hereford and Hops is a great micro-brewery/steak place that is kid friendly.

From there I would suggest heading north on M-35 to Marquette. You could take US-41, but M-35 is a nicer drive. It will bring you past Marquette Mountain ski area. You can stop to the Superior Dome on the campus of Northern Michigan University to see the worlds largest wooden dome, swing by the historic Marquette Court House where they filmed Anatomy of a Murder, and the waterfront and tail system throughout the town is terrific. Presque Isle Park is a must go to. The area on the north side is called Black Rocks and the locals cliff dive into the cold waters of Lake Superior below. Ishpeming is not too far west and you can check out the old mines and go for a tour. For dinner, I would suggest the Verling in Downtown Marquette.

To leave, I would head east on M-28 along the Lake Superior shoreline through the Seney stretch though several small towns towards Newberry. You can also run up to Pictured Rocks from there. Which will be cool, unless you are a 5 year old. Then they are just massive sandstone cliffs at the edge of a lake big enough to make you think it is a sea.

Newberry and Tahquamenon Falls is also a great time as well. The falls are broken into 2 sections (upper and lower). The lower falls are a series of rapids like falls, where as the upper is a good drop. The town of Newberry is like the land that time forgot. The downtown is right out of the 1950's. In Newberry, I would suggest eating at Timber Charlies.

When leaving, I would cut down 117 back to US 2 then go east. That will bring you to Naubinway. It is the northern most point of Lake Michigan. There is a smoked fish place that is there that is epic. Continue west over the Cut River Bridge and onto St. Ignace. You can take the Ferry to Mackinac Island from there. In St. Ignace, I would suggest eating at the Mackinac Grill. There are turnoffs on I-75 to get views of the Mackinac Bridge on both sides. Mackinaw City, while not in the UP, is also a very cool place to go.

As for the Island... yes, you should go if not to stand on the porch of the Grand Hotel, get a beer at the Pink Pony, and eat fudge.

Regardless of what you do in the UP... you must try a Pastie.
 
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#6
I'm probably one of the rare Michiganders who finds Mackinaw Island to be extremely boring and unless your 5-yo is a history buff or loves historic buildings I wouldn't bother. The most enjoyable part for a kid is the ferry ride over to the island (especially if there is still a hydrofoil in service as one of the ferries, that was sort of cool).

In the UP itself, the Locks are cool and Pictured Rocks is nice too. I'd definitely recommend the Iron Mountain Iron Mine tour, especially with a kid. I'd also recommend just finding a public beach somewhere along the Lake Superior side of the UP and making your kid go swimming. I was about that age the first time I got in that water. It was the middle of August and it was still freezing cold but it's a fun memory.

If you are passing through the Detroit area, I know of tons of fun places for a kid about that age.

If you are coming across Canada and going through Port Huron instead of Detroit and taking I-69 west, you can get off in Emmett and go check out the giant can of Duff Beer that exists for no reason at all! It's only about a mile out of your way and totally not worth it.
 
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#7
Thanks, everyone! We would likely be coming through from Canada on our way to the La Crosse, WI area.

I like all the suggestions!

Maybe a laefest too?

We were thinking of AirBnBing a cottage or something.
 

Maister

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#8
I'm probably one of the rare Michiganders who finds Mackinaw Island to be extremely boring and unless your 5-yo is a history buff or loves historic buildings I wouldn't bother. The most enjoyable part for a kid is the ferry ride over to the island (especially if there is still a hydrofoil in service as one of the ferries, that was sort of cool).
We found the island to be very kid friendly. Junior visited about four years ago and he's talked about the experience ever since. Of course the hydrofoil ferry was cool, but there's also the horse stables, horse rides, swimming, biking, he isn't a big history buff but he liked it when we bought him a little union soldier cap and let him play on the cannons at the fort overlooking the straights, lunch at the Pink Pony, eating glorious fudge, there's a mirror maze place. Heck, the Grand Hotel has kids activities planned pretty much every day of the week.
 

mendelman

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#9
Thanks, everyone! We would likely be coming through from Canada on our way to the La Crosse, WI area.

I like all the suggestions!

Maybe a laefest too?

We were thinking of AirBnBing a cottage or something.
Then you definitely need to stop at Fayette and the Soo Locks since it is effectively on your way.

Actually, what path specifically are you considering through Canada?
  • Buffalo to Sarnia to Michigan LP then north to UP?
  • Ottawa through Saulte Ste Marie CAN/MI?
 
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#10
Then you definitely need to stop at Fayette and the Soo Locks since it is effectively on your way.

Actually, what path specifically are you considering through Canada?
  • Buffalo to Sarnia to Michigan LP then north to UP?
  • Ottawa through Saulte Ste Marie CAN/MI?
Haven't really figured out which path yet. I am open to input on the preferred path.
 

giff57

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#11
Thanks, everyone! We would likely be coming through from Canada on our way to the La Crosse, WI area.

I like all the suggestions!

Maybe a laefest too?

We were thinking of AirBnBing a cottage or something.
Depending upon timing I'd be down for a Laefest in La Crosse.
 

Maister

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#12
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#13
Haven't really figured out which path yet. I am open to input on the preferred path.
Of the three major crossings into Southeast Michigan (Blue Water Bridge, Ambassador Bridge, or Detroit-Windsor Tunnel), the tunnel usually has shortest wait to get through customs and has no truck traffic which can make things go a little faster, but then you have to deal with the traffic of Metro Detroit, which can be bad headed north if it's a weekday afternoon. Traffic across the two bridges can be bad and the wait times at customs can be long but I've never had it be as long as any of the crossings (either way) in Buffalo or Niagara... those always seem to take forever. If it's a holiday weekend, either Canadian or American, expect a lot more traffic at the border.

There's also a ferry crossing from Sombra, Ontario into Marine City, MI which is usually the fastest of all of the crossings and it's still a relatively easy drive from there to either I-69 or I-75.

I've never crossed at Sault Ste. Marie but my parents have made the circle tour of Lake Superior and crossed there multiple times and have never had a problem. If you take that route you go through North Bay... maybe there's a museum to commemorate the boyhood home of former Kid in the Hall Scott Thompson that you can visit?
 
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#14
Yeah, the Ottawa - Soo route features lots of trees, and some farmland. And trees. And more trees. Oh, and did I forget to say trees?

If you cut through at Saranac and take 69- 75 and head north you can take a short 10 minute detour off I-75 to Frankenmuth and see the largest Christmas store on earth. Itty Bitty probably wouldn't find that at all interesting. ;)
My wife and daughter both love Bronners. I love chicken dinners so I don't complain too much when my wife wants to go up there.
 

Maister

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#15
Doh, I meant Sarnia, not Saranac above!

yeah, the chicken dinners at the Bavarian Inn (or at Zehnder's) are great
 

mendelman

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#16
Yeah, the Ottawa - Soo route features lots of trees, and some farmland. And trees. And more trees. Oh, and did I forget to say trees?

If you cut through at Saranac and take 69- 75 and head north you can take a short 10 minute detour off I-75 to Frankenmuth and see the largest Christmas store on earth. Itty Bitty probably wouldn't find that at all interesting. ;)
Yep.

From dandy's town to Buffalo to Sarnia, ONT to Port Huron to Flint to Mackinaw to UP and beyond would likely be the best/have most civilization path.

NYS to Ottawa to Sudbury, ONT to Sault Ste Marie, ONT to the UP would certainly be alot of trees and trees and trees, etc, etc and probably extra long.

Though, googling the best path, would actually be I-86 to I-90 (through northern OH, IN, IL) through Chicago to La Crosse, but the extra, extra trip through MI (LP & UP) will certainly be interesting.
 

Veloise

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#17
Mackinac with a C

There is a chance that the Warhol family might be driving through the Mitten and UP next summer. We are thinking about spending a night or two in the UP. What are some suggestions of things to do for two adults with a 5 yo in July?

I know Veloise will suggest the Mackinaw Bridge. :D

Is Mackinaw Island worth a visit? Spending the night? Just the day? Camping on one of the other islands? Bois Blanc?

Full disclosure: We do not like to fish.
The Straits, Bridge, and Island are all spelled with a C at the end. Only the city at the south end of the bridge has a W.

Island is great for kids. The rental places have trail-a-bikes and tandems. You can hire a horse carriage and clop around the 8.2-whatever miles, or ride bikes. (Guess what I'd recommend.)

One of the highlights of my final job: my first ride in a "Buddy Holly" aircraft. Fly from St Ignace. Flights are unscheduled, they're just continuous.

Not worth going to Bois Blanc to camp. I like Straits State Park and Tiki RV park.

Soo Locks is a must stop for families. You can watch freighters! going through the locks! changing elevation!

One of my favorite routes is the north side of Lake Michigan along US-2. It's on the way to Fayette State Park.
 
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#20
Any of you UP-devotees ever go to Lake of the Clouds? I always see pictures of it and it looks like it would be a gorgeous hike. Probably not idea for Dandy dragging a tiny one around so I'm asking for myself. I think I'd like to go hiking in the state's only mountain range some time.
 
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