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Old 08-05-2014, 06:39 AM   #1
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Michigan lighthouse tour

Finally my DW and i planning a 3 week trip up east side of lake michigan in September with stopping spots in Grand Haven, Ludington,Traverse City Mackinau, Tahquanamon?, Back down to Green Bay. My Wifes main interest is in checking out lighthouses on the lake. Just wondering if anyone has any other points of interest in this area we should check out while in the area. Also any suggestions or cautions we should be aware of from your own experiences in the area. I know we are getting a little late start on this trip but hopefully weather will hold out o k. Any suggestions or warnings would be appreciated as we are totally unfamilier with the area. Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-05-2014, 06:55 AM   #2
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Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and the "Tunnel of Trees" (scenic drive along 119 north of Harbor Springs/Petoskey). Both not far out of your way. Tunnel will not be big rig friendly, but a tow vehicle or toad will get through without issue. If you hit it when the colors are changing, it's drop dead gorgeous and will be pretty crowded/busy on weekends. The towns of Harbor Springs and Petoskey are both pretty neat in their own right as well (shopping).

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Old 08-05-2014, 07:22 AM   #3
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South Haven MI has a great light house on the Black River entrance/exit to Lake Michigan. A nice town to visit with plenty of things to do with Saint Joe’s and Saugatuck about 20 min's apart from South Haven. When we camp in South Haven we stay at Sunny Brook RV resorts on Phoenix RD about 10 min’s out of town.

We rent a house every year in South Haven bringing the kids and grandkids up for a week. Great beach area and swimming in South Haven although it maybe a little cold in Sept for swimming. We do take a day trip to Saint Joe’s and end up eating at Silver Beach Pizza great Pizza and walking the downtown; girls go shopping. The girls like Saugatuck and Douglas area also for shopping and on the north end of town there is the Saugatuck sand dune rides which we do every year a family tradition.

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Old 08-05-2014, 07:42 AM   #4
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Point Betsie lighthouse is just north of Frankfort off M-22, but at a dead end with no turnaround if you are towing, ok if you are not. The town of Frankfort and the lighthouse at the end of the jetty are worth checking out. Follow M-22 it's entire length and be sure to stop in Glen Arbor at the Cherry Republic for free samples of cherry products. If you have good weather, rent kayaks or a canoe at Riverside and take the two hour trip down the crystal clear Platte River to Lake Michigan, located about 10 -15 miles north of Frankfort on M-22. Opposite Traverse City is Mission Peninsula which splits the two Grand Traverse Bays. Now you are in wine country with plenty of wine tasting opportunities. While up there check out the old country store on the east side of the peninsula. And of course, once you hit the "tip of the mit" you will want to take the ferry out to Mackinac Island. Also while in Mackinaw City tour the old ice breaker Mackinaw.

While touring M-22 be sure to stop in Leland and check out old Fish-Town, further up you will go through Northport, then Suttons Bay. North of Traverse City on US-31 you will see how the rich live as you go through Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

While touring Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore be sure to take the Pierce Stocking scenic drive where there is a spectacular one way nicely paved road (thanks to government funding) with several lookouts over the dunes and Lake Michigan. If you are in for a short hike, take in the Empire Bluffs trail which ends 450 feet above Lake Michigan, but don't be tempted to slide down the sand to the lake unless you are in great shape to make the return ascent. And if you don't already have your lifetime senior pass for all US parks, stop in the Phillip Hart visitor center in Empire and get your pass, best $10 you will ever spend. You will need it for the dune climb and the scenic drive.

Another lighthouse is just south of the Silver Lake Dunes state park near the Mac Woods Dune rides near Mears. And be sure to take the dune ride.

If you golf, two lesser known (ie inexpensive), but pristine, courses are near Buleah: Pinecroft overlooks beautiful Crystal lake, while Champion Hill has distant views of Empire Bluffs and Lake Michigan.
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:45 PM   #5
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Sounds like there will be plenty to do to keep busy. My wife not looking forward to that long bridge accross the bay. Says she have to keep her eyes closed the whole trip.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by yohop View Post
Sounds like there will be plenty to do to keep busy. My wife not looking forward to that long bridge accross the bay. Says she have to keep her eyes closed the whole trip.
My wife & I have crossed the Mighty Mac on a motorcycle with sidecar several times & she's still alive.
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Old 08-07-2014, 04:29 PM   #7
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Tape her eyes open if you have to when crossing the Mighty Mac, the views are too spectacular to miss!!
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Old 08-07-2014, 04:35 PM   #8
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There's a goodly number of them as shown here....
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by yohop View Post
Sounds like there will be plenty to do to keep busy. My wife not looking forward to that long bridge accross the bay. Says she have to keep her eyes closed the whole trip.
They have a special set of rules for trucks and motorhomes. Right lane, four way flashers on and 20 miles per hour. At that speed it takes awhile to get across. Like toll booths keep to the right to pay the toll. It is easier to negotiate the outside toll booth. The other toll boots are spaced just far enough apart to fit through with about 6-12 inches clearance on each side. Go to Sault Ste. Marie, MI and stay at the city owned campground (Aune Osborn). Try to get riverside if possible. 1000 ft. long freighters will pass by within a few hundred ft. It is amazing that they can maneuver in a river the way they do.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:59 AM   #10
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Many thanks again for all your input. My wife has all suggestions written down. Tried this trip 2 yrs ago but I got ill at Indiana dunes and so had to return to iowa for health reasons. Getting the 02 7.3 F250 and HR Savoy 32 FK TT Ready for trip. Mabe things go better this time.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:25 PM   #11
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If you have time, or can plan... A trip into Door County, WI would be a wonderful addition to your trip. If you're especially lucky, you could reserve a spot in Peninsula State Park in Egg Harbor, WI...

There are a couple of lighthouses in Door County that would be worth the trip !!
Eric & Denise
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:43 PM   #12
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My wife & I made that trip a couple of years ago. We stayed in Ludington & macinac also. We stayed at a place called Vacation Station in Ludington. Nice campground and Ludington is a nice little town to visit. We only had a week, but were able to still visit a lot of lighthouses.
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:43 PM   #13
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A little tidbit: Michigan has the most lighthouses of all the states. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:52 AM   #14
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Michigan lighthouse tour

In Ste Marie as mentioned earlier there is a campground right at the Soo Locks where you can watch the ships go thru the locks.

We took a boat tour of the locks. Best I remember a couple hours. Took us thru the locks around the harbor into Canadian waters (no passport needed) and back thru the locks. Very neat trip.

In a couple weeks the DW and I are going back there and doing a trip around Lake Superior. That might be something to consider too.

At Ludington Mi there is a Ferry that will take you to Wi if for any reason you need to shorten your trip. Don't let the bridge intimidate you. Its quite a site.


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