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Old 05-12-2021, 11:12 AM   #1
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Smile Wisconson Dells, then what?

So I went to the Dells as a kid and loved it. I know it's changed but this year it makes sense. we would be coming north from Atlanta. Dells would be our first longer stop. I was thinking of going up into the Michigan peninsula and coming down the mitt back towards Atlanta. We enjoy picturesque small towns by the water and nice scenery We're pulling a 40ft Fifthwheel so it limits some locations. I'm open to any ideas and even not going to Michigan. Oh, we figure two weeks out and back maybe two or three total longer stops??
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:18 AM   #2
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Munising Michigan, Picture rocks, Apostle Islands Wisconsin, Traverse city when heading south in Lower, Mackinaw Island, Soo St Marie.

You can easily spend a week in the UP alone.
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:01 PM   #3
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I live in SW Michigan on lake michigan and you cant go wrong with almost any place in western michigan (on the lake) and the upper peninsula. From Atlanta and back in 2 weeks would be a real stretch IMHO...Check out the ferry(Badger) between Ludington,MI and Manitowoc,WI( either direction) as it can save a lot of time by avoiding the entire Chicago metro area and southern wisconsin if you are limited for time to get to the Dells. Expensive but could easily save you at least 1-2 days of your vacation. Also, check out routing that would get you over to I-65 as it is a straight shot up to SW Michigan. If I had to skip anything it would be Mackinaw Island as it is very crowded in the summer and would take up a whole day by itself( I am sure others will disagree)...Maybe see you on the road this summer....
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:14 PM   #4
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Michigan - take the day ferry to Mackinac Island and no, I wouldn't skip it if I had never been - crowds and all. Stay along the Leelanau Peninsula around Traverse City and explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Lots of little unique small towns on the Peninsula and wineries. Petosky is an active small town. Any of the western lakeshore towns are neat places for outdoor fun. Best to get reservations. Michigan is VERY popular in summer.
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Old 05-12-2021, 02:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great ideas. I'm going to do some research and then see what I can plan. Prefer having reservations so I'll try that way.
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Old 05-12-2021, 04:03 PM   #6
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Hi ChuckvB,

We did a similar trip 2 years ago. But we left from our Daughter's home in MD in early May and ended at our home in Atlanta in mid-July. And we took over 2 months.... Here's some routes and stays:

Leaving MD, we went through WVA to Cincinnati, through Indy, through Champaign, Bloomington and Rockford on the way to the Dells. From the Dells, we headed east through Montello, Ripon, Oshkosh and Green Bay to Door County. Stayed at the Timbers for about a week. Plenty of good places to eat and a lot of wineries to visit.

From Door County, we hugged the western shore of Lake Michigan going north to Munising, staying a week at Munising Tourist Camp. The bugs were out. From there, we headed across the Mighty Mac to Mackinaw City, and yes, we did take the ferry to Mackinaw Island and enjoyed a horse-drawn buggy ride around the island. Fun! I thought the bugs were bad in Munising, but they were REALLY bad in Mackinaw City. Hardly any on Mackinaw Island though. Go figure.

From there, we went through Petosky, Charlevoix, and Traverse City to Suttons Bay and stayed a week at Wild Cherry. Lots of activities on the northeastern shoreline of Lake Michigan and around Traverse City. Loads of really good wineries.

From there, we went south along the coast of Lake Michigan to Ludington where we stayed a week at Poncho's Pond. Not so much to do in Ludington, but we drove to nearby areas and it was a good place to stay.

We moved south on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan to Muskegon and stayed a week at Duck Creek, which is beside a huge amusement park. Muskegon is an interesting city with lots of history. Also plenty of places to eat. We also found a blueberry farm near the rv park.

We then drove east through Grand Rapids and Lansing to the outskirts of Detroit and stayed for several days at Wayne County Fairgrounds. While there we visited the Ford Museum, Greenfield, and took the factory tour. Also hit Ann Arbor and downtown Detroit.

We then headed west and south, and drove through Toledo to the Elkhart area, staying at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds. Toured the Newmar Plant and did some antiquing. It was time to head home.

South through Indy, then Cincinnati, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and home to Altanta.

I left out a lot of overnight stays and a LOT of activities we did. But hope you got some ideas about places to go and places to stay. We only spent one night in the Dells.

Regards.

Chuck
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:06 PM   #7
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Check out the Sturgeon Bay area if you have time (Tranquil Timbers is bikeable to the quaint town on the water). Great base from which to do a day trip into Door County.
Tranquil Timbers butts up to a WI state park, again, good biking and hiking. Sturgeon Bay has lots of eateries, pubs, shops, good grocery stores etc.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:14 PM   #8
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Check out the Sturgeon Bay area if you have time (Tranquil Timbers is bikeable to the quaint town on the water). Great base from which to do a day trip into Door County.
Tranquil Timbers butts up to a WI state park, again, good biking and hiking. Sturgeon Bay has lots of eateries, pubs, shops, good grocery stores etc.
And PIE! Pie shops everywhere you look and most are really tasty!

Regards.

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Old 05-12-2021, 07:17 PM   #9
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You may also want to consider the "sunrise side" of Michigan, the east coast. It is not nearly as well known and doesn't have the sandy beaches but it has a number of small water-front towns and Pinconning cheese. If you're a fisherman there is the AuSable river, a world class trout stream. Whatever you do there is a ton of stuff to do in Michigan and you can't do it all in one summer. If you are into museums don't miss Green Field Village and The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. If you go to Greenfield Village you have to spend a couple of bucks and get a horseshoe nail ring. They also have some very good restaurants in the village if they are open. Greenfield Village has Thomas Edison's workshop, the Wright Brother's Bicycle Shop and many other transplanted historic building. Have fun.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:50 PM   #10
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From a native WI perspective, I second Door County - but it gets crowded so make reservations early. We’ve stayed at Wagon Trail Campground in Ellison Bay (toward the top of the Door peninsula). Peninsula State Park is great for hiking and biking, Newport Beach has great beaches and wonderful stargazing (a dark sky park). I very highly recommend taking a boat tour to see islands and underwater ship wrecks - Door County Adventure Rafting was the best of all the options we found. Last but not least, go to a fish boil :-)

After Door County head North to the Keweenhaw Peninsula/ Copper Harbor and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the MI Upper Peninsula.
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:43 PM   #11
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Upper Peninsula - be sure to try a pastie!!! (A meal that the miners take for lunch).
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Old 05-14-2021, 01:22 AM   #12
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We were planning to go late Aug. But new jobs might move that up. Any chance we could pull a trip like this off with out reservations in the UP?
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Old 05-14-2021, 06:42 AM   #13
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Sleeping Bear is great... we've stayed at Indigo Bluffs a couple times while in that area. Nice large sites.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:35 AM   #14
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We were planning to go late Aug. But new jobs might move that up. Any chance we could pull a trip like this off with out reservations in the UP?
All good suggestions above!

There are endless great places in Wisconsin. However, after Memorial Day and before Labor Day sites in Wisconsin State Parks will be booked in advance for weekends. All sites in state parks must be reserved on-line. There will probably be no first come first serve sites in any state park. I assume other accommodations will be similar. You can reserve on-line when you arrive, but most will already be reserved.

The Dells campgrounds will be packed all summer. Definitely get reservations yesterday.

Door County is a great summer destination. Peninsula State Park is a great central location. It will be packed all summer. Get reservations.

Forest Service campgrounds are everywhere in Northern Wisconsin. Rustic campgrounds are often first-come first-serve. Sites with facilities are usually resereveable on-line. Rustic means no electric or RV dump facilities. Some sites in these campgrounds are not suitable for a 40 foot rig. Register and pay on-site. They are often on small lakes and away from tourist attractions. Arrive early and on weekdays to get a site. Use any state park campground dump site for $10 plus day use pass. Pay on site. A couple of Pilot Flying J truck stops have RV dump facilities.

Porcupine Mountain State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is great. It is on Lake Superior. It will be packed in August. Get reservations.

Most state parks in Wisconsin have a lake or river.
Good lakeside State Parks:
Kohler Andrae - on Lake Michigan, a good distance north of Milwaukee
Penninsula - Door County on Lake Michigan Green Bay. Big boat country.
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