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Old 02-06-2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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We will be dropping our son off at Michigan Tech this summer, up in Houghton, MI on the upper peninsula. We don't know anything about Michigan and/or Wisconsin, and will plan on tying a vacation in to our trip. Any suggestions welcomed! We typically like state/national parks.

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Old 02-06-2012, 07:38 PM   #2
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We made a trip around Lake Michigan in 10 days a number of years ago. It was too much, too fast for me to remember all the places that we stayed. One that really sticks out in my mind was Traverse City, MI. The state park was really nice. Lake Gogebic (sp) in the UP was nice, but full of biting black flies! And nearby my house is Indiana Dunes SP in Chesterton, IN (which is the southwestern edge of Lake Michigan. That is a very nice SP that we frequent every year for 2 weeks! Have a great time!


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Old 02-06-2012, 07:51 PM   #3
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There are great state parks in IL, IN, WI, and MI. Many of them are right on the lake. Some are off the lake and offer a different experience. I agree that Dunes are nice. Traverse is nice. Door County peninsula is great around Green Bay. Beach Park at Zion, IL is also nice.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:51 PM   #4
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You'll probably end up traveling to Houghton more than once. Just last week I heard how the student commuter vehicle of choice is a snowmobile at Michigan Tech. There is major lake effect snow in that area!

The whole UP is a very laid back cruise for the waterfall-watching nature lover. Close to Houghton, the Keweenaw peninsula is a can't miss -- especially the closer to October you can visit (great maples!). We've camped at Ft. Wilkins State Park out at the tip -- you can rent canoes and paddle an inland lake right there. Don't forget to stock up on Cornish pasties in Houghton for hearty camp dinners. There are some decent dining options right in Copper Harbor. Plenty of hikes around the area -- Estivant Pines and Horseshoe Harbor stand out for me.

Further afield.. Tahquamenon Falls S.P. in Chippewa county; the Edmund Fitzgerald Museum out that same direction. Day visits to Fayette Historical Park in Delta County and Palms Book Big Spring S.P. in Schoolcraft County are close to each other (we camped at nearby Indian Lake S.P. while doing these very worthwhile side trips). Camping at the lakeside Porkies campground near Ontanagan is a highly attractive feature -- get reservations! (see crazylev's thread on the Porkies here)

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore at Munising -- and if really adventurous, do some research on the sand County 58 back road NE out of Munising up toward Grand Marais. It's a fair passage in dry weather. Silvertwinkie actually has towed across that area and had a good time. We've driven it when car camping and it was a fine adventure. This could backfire but it is unique, so do your research. It is very easy to do with a car/tow vehicle only -- interesting history in the area, big sand dunes up toward Grand Marais.

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Old 02-06-2012, 08:10 PM   #5
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I am going to Munising and Marquette, MI in for the months of August and September to do two Habitat RV Care-A-Vanner builds. I was so excited to see this thread!!!!! Thanks for the great info. I've never been to MI before and can't wait to get out of the Texas heat this summer. This information helps so much!

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Old 02-06-2012, 08:18 PM   #6
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Yes, this is all AWESOME information - thank you all!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:02 PM   #7
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More about Houghton

I grew up in Houghton but moved away years ago. One thing they've done since I left is put in a waterfront park on the west side of town. That has RV camping, so check it out.

The next closest public campground I know if is McLain State park, on the Lake Superior shore west of Hancock. Keep in mind, the lakeside campsites can be windy--bad if the weather is chilly (which is common), but good if the mosquitoes or black flies are biting (which is common).
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:09 PM   #8
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Actually, Indiana Dunes are on the Southeast side of Lake Michigan--sorry!

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Old 02-07-2012, 06:03 AM   #9
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Been there done that.... it is so cool

We have a daughter at MTU who will have one more year there. We take the Airstream and have found that the campground at Houghton City Park is very nice. There are no restrooms but there are full hook ups. From the park you can walk to downtown Houghton along the portage, great views. Also in Houghton go to the Ambassador for pizza and stop at KBC for a great beer.

If you are looking for a Lake Superior view drive up the peninsula to McLain State Park, they nice sites on the shore. Be careful of driving between Houghton and the State Park at night there are a lot of deer in that area. This is one reason we like the City Park.

What a great choice for a place to go to college! Our daughter has loved it there and she is getting a great education!

Have fun there is a ton to do in the Keweenaw.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:32 AM   #10
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We love the UP and, preferring to keep it simple, particularly like the abundance of inexpensive local campgrounds. We like to follow the coastline, and many of these are right on the shore of Lake Superior---the most beautiful and clear of the Great Lakes, in our opinion.

The shipwreck museum at Whitefish is interesting. Copper Harbor SP on the Keeweenawa Peninsula is also beautiful.

We have heard many good things about state parks in non-coastal areas of the UP, but have not ourselves explored them. We are shore-lovers.

Have a great trip!

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Old 02-07-2012, 06:44 AM   #11
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There are so many places to see in the UP. I spent most of my child hood in the summers there, then our kids summers , and now my older years. We used to camp then bought a cabin on an island to have more permanency there. Later sold the cabin and now are beginning to AS back there. I would suggest this site as a prelude to any planning.

There have been some great places already listed. I'll add a few more random favorites of ours:

These can be looked up for for info.
Palms Book
The Two Hearted/Carp River ( Two of Hemingway's fabled fishing spots)
Seney wildlife Refuge
Soo Locks ( take the boat tour and visit the info building) While there at SSM eat at Antlers resturant)
A must do is also to eat pasties@ Leito's on US 2 a few miles west of St. Ignace (Over 60 years making pasties)
Drive over the Mac Bridge
Father Marquette monument also in St. Ignace
Visit as many lighthouses as you can (19 in the UP)
Visit as many waterfalls as you can (32 in the UP)
Pictured Rocks
Cooper Harbor
Porcupine Mts.
Drummond Island

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Old 02-07-2012, 06:53 AM   #12
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Took that same trip last summer.

Petosky State Park was great. Elec. only but if you can, reserve site 174. The UP is very interesting, but then again the whole of Lake Michigan (both sides) is full of great camping opportunities.

Have fun!
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:11 PM   #13
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If I had lots of time, I would go around Lake Michigan, as in, to Houghton through MI and back through WI or visa versa.


Mackinac Island. A very nice day trip. No vehicles allowed. Take the ferry over. Rent a bike or a horse drawn carriage to get around the Island.

Sault Saint Marie, MI Shipping Locks. Watch the big ships go between Lake Superior and Lake Huron

Being from WI a few of my favorite places alone the lake are

Peninsula State Park in Door County WI 1 hour North of Green Bay in the thumb.

Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame in Green Bay

Manitowoc Maritime Museum in Manitowoc WI. Nice history on the ships of the great lakes as well as a WWII sub you can tour.

Kohler WI has the Kohler factory tour. Be careful with this one. You will want to remodel your kitchen and bath at home and in your AS with all the cool ideas.
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:30 PM   #14
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McLain State Park
The Jampot

Visited this part of Michigan two years ago, absolutly loved Mclain state park and the keweenaw peninsula.

Points of interest:

mineral exhibit at the college
Jampot is a monk bakery that is great place to visit.

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