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Old 05-18-2016, 05:57 PM   #1
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2016 27' International
Charlottesville , Virginia
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Headed over Lake Michigan / Northern Michigan Camping

My wife and I are finishing a long trip out west and plan to make our way back to Virginia by going over Lake Michigan to then see Traverse City and then Grand Rapids, etc. We are looking for good spots in northern Michigan on the western / northern side of Lake Michigan. We have heard really good things on this forum about the Keweenaw Peninsula, specifically the City of Houghton RV Park, and are looking for other ideas.

We are starting this leg in Rochester, MN (will suck up a long driving day to get up there) and then have five nights to play with. One potential itinerary is Rochester to: (1) Houghton (a painful 6:45), then three nights camping in Houghton and exploring the Penninsula; then on to Hiawatha National Forest (~3:15) for 2 nights of hiking and exploring; and then over to Traverse City (~4:30).

We would appreciate any thoughts on this as well as must-see sites/hikes or favorite campgrounds. Thanks!

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Old 05-18-2016, 06:58 PM   #2
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There's lots to see and do in the Keweenaw peninsula. I have tent camped at McLain State Park, on the Superior shore west of Hancock. It was cool & windy there; the park in Houghton is inland and gets less wind. I don't know if McLain has sites big enough for RVs.

My recommendations for sites to see: scenic drive to Copper Harbor, Ft. Wilkins, Brockway Mountain, Estivant Pines, harbor cruise in Copper Harbor, the various parts of the Keweenaw Historic National Park, a mine tour, the Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech, Hungarian Falls.

I grew up in Houghton but haven't been back much in the last few decades.

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Old 05-18-2016, 08:20 PM   #3
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Go to the Shipwreck Museum on Whitefish Bay.

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Old 05-18-2016, 08:39 PM   #4
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Lots of wine in the peninsula. It's just beautiful. Sleeping Bear Dunes is awesome. Traverse City has a huge state park. There seems to be endless campgrounds in Michigan.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:09 PM   #5
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The UP and the Keweenaw Peninsula are among our favorite places.

First thought, if you don't want to drive all the way from Rochester to Houghton in one shot, there are nice and inexpensive city park campgrounds along your route, Curry Park in Ironwood and Sunday Lake at Wakefield to name two. Both campgrounds are right on the highway.

The Houghton City RV Park is nice, and right on the Portage River (variously known as "canal", "lake", and "river" depending on where you are on it) but it's basically a parking lot; not much in the way of trees or dog walking grass and no restrooms or showers. It is, however, within walking distance of the downtown Houghton restaurants and bars. If you camp there, do get over to the Ambassador for dinner one night.

We prefer the Hancock Recreation Area right across the river. It has roomy wooded spots, lots of trails, and nice restrooms and showers. Also economical; $25 a night as I recall. And, if you are going to spend your time touring around the Keweenaw Peninsula, staying at Hancock puts you north of the river and congestion on the lift bridge.

I second all sights to see mentioned previously, and would add,

Do the Quincy Mine tour, just north of Hancock.

And stop at the Jam Pot, a unique bakery run by the Holy Transfiguration Skete of the Society of Saint John. Their stuff is expensive, but there is always a line at the cash register!
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:11 PM   #6
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We have great experience on the Upper Peninsula (UP) as our son goes to Michigan Tech in Houghton. We have stayed in the City Park and can attest it is wonderful - a few pictures here. In Houghton, go to the KBC (Keweenaw Brewing Company) where our son Drew bartends (say hi for us!).

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The Keweenaw Peninsula is gorgeous. If you have kayaks (or not), Copper Harbor is beautiful. Three days in Houghton sounds right - it makes a great base camp.

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Once you leave Houghton, heading east, make sure you catch Picture Rocks - stunning.

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Old 05-18-2016, 09:12 PM   #7
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I really enjoy the Indian casinos on the UP. They practically pay you to camp!
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:28 PM   #8
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Sound like a great plan. If you're traveling before June 20 the lilacs will be in full bloom at many places. Mackinaw Island along the way (ferry boat ride at either side of the bridge) is well worth the visit and features a Lilac Festival in June.

Fayette State Park, also on the way on the Garden Peninsula is very interesting; here's the link:

Michigan does have a fine DNR web site describing all the state parks and great reservation system, if needed.

In summer we do our camping on the water and cruise from Door County Wisconsin to our favorite places, all recomendable for day-trips, or stay-overs: Traverse City (National Cherry Festival early July), Charlevoix, Petosky, and Harbor Springs.

Too bad you don't have a handful of weeks, and spend some time in Wisconsin too!
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Old 05-19-2016, 03:02 PM   #9
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Northern Michigan/Traverse City area

My wife and spend summers in Traverse City and know the area very well. You might want to consider Lake Leelanau RV Park. Very well-run campground with lakefront sites and is very centrally located for visiting Leland, TC, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Glen Arbor. There are a number of wineries in this area as well, including almost 40 within 30-45 mins drive. The venues are getting better every year.
Hope you have a great trip!
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:42 PM   #10
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Another campground to consider in Traverse City is Holiday Park whiçh is a Michigan Airstream Park. Up until about 5 years ago, Airstreams were the only type of RV allowed in the park. Since that time, it is now open to other RVs.

The park has full hook-ups and it is located south of the city and almost midway between Sleeping Bear Dunes and Traverse City on Silver Lake. We are camped at the park right now and it is beautiful here with lots of trees in bloom. Hope you consider that.

Another park to consider in the Keewanaw is the Hancock City Park whiçh is across the river from Houghton. There are a few beautiful sites there that are right on the water and the rates are very reasonable.

Also, when we are in the U.P., we love staying in Marquette at Tourist Park. Marquette is home to Northern Michigan University and is located on Lake Superior.

Munising also has a very scenic Township Park located right on Lake Superior.

In Mackinaw City, we like to stay at the TeePee Campground. It's a small family owned campground right on Lake Huron. It is also within walking and/or biking distance to downtown restaurants and the ferries to Mackinac Island.

Anyway, we have wonderful parks and wildnerness areas in Michigan and I hope that you have a wonderful visit.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:38 PM   #11
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We were not in an rv, we rented a sailboat in Traverse city a few years back. We thought Traverse City was a nice place. Charlevoix and Petosky are very nice areas. We spent a few days in Charlevoix and thought it was just about the neatest small city we had been in.

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