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Things to do around Pictured Rocks?


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Howdy,

I'm looking at taking a road trip up to Pictured Rocks a little later this summer and just wondering if anyone has suggestions on things to do in the Eastern UP? I'm already thinking about taking a boat cruise to see the Pictured Rocks, though I don't know which of the various offers are the best.

Also considering stopping at Tahquamenon Falls and and maybe going to Mount Arvon (highest point in Michigan). Possibly White Fish Point and the Soo Locks.

Any suggestions? We're generally looking for relatively low strenuous activities or quaint shopping areas (not so much malls, but like little downtown shopping stuff).

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I enjoyed the great lakes shipwreck museum at Whitefish Point.  That was over 10 years ago.  If you hate Gordon Lightfoot you might not like it though. 

I really liked it up there and would love to make it back.  Life is different in the UP.  I see the attraction.

 

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I love that boat tour of pictured rocks Red, I've done it twice in the past 5 years.   It's worth the money.   My experience with both rides is that they do a loop, and the way out is slower/longer than the way back.   This matters in terms of which side of the boat to get a seat on.   And there will be a line to get good seats.   And it will be cold on the boat if you sit outside which obvs you want to do.... right?   Also be aware the boats can and do cancel a lot because of lake conditions.    We had one of our rides cancelled because of 6-7 ft waves.  

Munising is unexpectedly cold as bleep.   I took a long phone call on the lakeshore where the tour boats are last July and I had on a Sweatshirt and winter coat.... in july.

The UP is amazing but really spread out and sadly a lot of the other sweet stuff is a ways away from Munising.   There are a number of waterfalls around Munising and going to the lookout points above Pictured Rocks is pretty awesome too.   Lots hiking available.   Could probably spend .5 days or so in downtown Munising, there are some neat shops there esp for outdoorsy Patagonia types.

Disregarding distance, things to check out in UP if you can:

Soo Locks is nerd neat but kids will be bored.  Can be uneventful if no boats but also very very slow when there is a boat lol.   Bear farm place near Tfalls is really expensive and imo not worth it.  Also probably not the most humane thing for the bears.  Kipikichee (may have spelled that poorly)  is pretty neat but maybe a bit overrated.

Upper Taq  Falls is beautiful, lower Taq Falls is super fun because you can get in the water. 

 Bond Falls is really cool too but quite far away from Munising.  Porcupine Mtns was super nice I thought.

There's a brand of Wisconsin ice cream that alot of stores carry up there that is super delicious and you need to get some of that, I apologize I forget the name but you'll see it at all the places that sell ice cream cones.

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9 minutes ago, pfife said:

There are a number of waterfalls around Munising

The whole Superior coast. It's best to do this not too long after the spring thaw when water levels are high and the wildflowers are peaking, but if you start at the WI border and work east on the Superior shore you can spend two days just stopping and hiking into  all the waterfalls. Awesome 

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As you're going through, Mackinac City and to a lesser extent St. Ignace both have downtown shopping areas that are nice.   Cool souvenir and outdoorsy shops in both places.   

Right after the bridge to the west there's a park with a super great lookout at the Bridge.   I stop there every time I cross the bridge which used to be at least 1 time per year but sadly less often these days.

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Another thing on the west end to check out but only if you're in the area us they have an Olympic size ski jump there.....  I'm not sure if it's still in use but it is amazing how high in the air that is, it seems like it towers over the trees around it.   

20220707_174150.jpg

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41 minutes ago, gehringer_2 said:

The whole Superior coast. It's best to do this not too long after the spring thaw when water levels are high and the wildflowers are peaking, but if you start at the WI border and work east on the Superior shore you can spend two days just stopping and hiking into  all the waterfalls. Awesome 

Yeah man we sorta did that last summer, we camped err glamped about 20 miles west of Ontonagon for a week and hit everything we could while we were there.   It really is wonderful up there.

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Munising also has a cool glass-bottom boat shipwreck tour.  Definitely check out Whitefish Point & Tahquamenon, if you haven't seen it before.  Depending on which way you decide to go home, you can take 94 S and check out Kitch-iti-kipi, which is a cool spring-fed lake.  Then head back to the bridge on US-2. 

& if you happen to drive by Gaylord on I-75 on the way home, honk!

Edited by djhutch
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/6/2023 at 9:27 AM, 1984Echoes said:

I'm up there next for the last week in July (next year. so a year to plan...) for a family reunion. I'm going to keep an eye on this thread for ideas...

Here's my after action report, just for you Echoes...

1. Cut River Bridge: This is a bridge a short distance away from St. Ignace on the southern coast of UP. There's a place you can pull off an park next east of it. Trails lead from the parking lot to the bridge. You can walk under it as well as take stairs up to the bridge. Good views, worth stopping and looking. Warning that the sidewalks are narrow on the bridge with traffic moving very fast, but there is a barrier between pedestrians and vehicles. I'd recommend stop. Cost: FREE ✭✭✭✭☆

2. Kitchi-iti-kipi (aka, Big Spring): The largest Spring in Michigan. Pretty interesting. There's a raft you can ride on with an open center so you can see down. It's located west of Manistique along the southern short of UP. It's a state park with a gift shop. It's a very short walk from the parking lot to the spring. We were there on a Saturday and had to wait a bit for our turn on the raft. I'd recommend if you're in the area. Cost: FREE (but requires a State Parks Pass for your vehicle if you don't already have one.) ✭✭✭✭☆

3. Waterfalls around Munising: There are a LOT of smaller water falls around Munising. Most of them are free, but some are on private property and inaccessible or require admission. Some are literally 5-steps off the road while some require longer walks. Most were cool to visit. I would especially recommend Au Train Falls. Be ready to there to walk in the falls (wear shoes you can take off, maybe bring a small towel). Very wide falls like steps of rocks. Really cool. Cost: Varies... many FREE. ✭✭✭✭✭

4. Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour: This leaves from Munising Bay and is about 1.5-2 hours long. It was pretty interesting. The first ship was by far the best, the second was mostly ruins. You see a very little bit of the cliffs, but it's really about the shipwrecks. Cost: $38 pp ✭✭✭✭✭

5. Picture Rocks Boat Cruise: There's a number of different boat cruises you can take. We chose picturerocks.com, the Spray Falls true. Really enjoyed this. The captain/narrator of the cruise was excellent and we got to see a lot of very cool sites. Be warned: It will be much cooler than you think. Bring a jacket! Cost: $55 pp ✭✭✭✭✭

6. Miner's Castle/Miner's Falls: If you like walking in nature or seeing natural sites, then I'd recommend this. If you're not a fan of walking paths/trails, then this isn't really worth it.  The falls were very cool, but a 1.2 mile walk round trip over some uneven ground. Cost: FREE, but requires a NATIONAL park pass for your vehicle, $20. This is different from the state pass. ✭✭✭✭☆

7. Tahquamenon Falls, Upper and Lower: We stopped at both place. They've built up giftshops/food places at both of these since we were last here many years ago. Worth looking at if you're in the area and haven't seen them before. Cost: FREE (req. State pass for your car) ✭✭✭✭☆

8. WhiteFish Point: If you've never been, it's worth going to look. If you have been before, not much new/different.  Cost: Free to visit, but a $15pp charge for the Ship Wreck Museum. ✭✭☆☆☆

9. Headlands International Dark Sky Park: This is just west of Mackinaw City. It's a a place located on the coast where light pollution is heavily limited to provide good viewing of the night sky. It was a semi-bust for us because it was slightly overcast and lots of smoke from Canadian Wildfires. Still they have a few telescopes setup to look at the moon, which was really cool. There's a Gift Shop there. Bring bug spray and be prepared to wait quite a while for it to get full dark after sunset. Cost: FREE ✭✭☆☆☆

10. SkyBridge at Boyne City: The largest wood supported bridge in Michgian or something... I dunno. Take a ski lift up the mountain, walk across the bridge, walk back across the bridge, take a ski lift down. It was cool... scary at times. Certainly interesting, but I wouldn't say spectacular. Cost: $25 pp. ✭✭✭☆☆

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3 hours ago, CMRivdogs said:

Trying to remember, a few years ago there was a coffee shop/library near near the tour boat parking. 

Is it still there? 

Where you thinking?  I know there's a coffee shop in St Ignace right across the street from the lake.

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That may be it. Interesting place. The locals had their personal mugs there. I think they had a bunch of books that you could read while enjoying your beverage and pastries.

The fellow who ran it, actually his wife did it, was associated with the Michigan State Extension Service. He spent a bit of time commuting between East Lansing and the UP

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8 minutes ago, CMRivdogs said:

That may be it. Interesting place. The locals had their personal mugs there. I think they had a bunch of books that you could read while enjoying your beverage and pastries.

The fellow who ran it, actually his wife did it, was associated with the Michigan State Extension Service. He spent a bit of time commuting between East Lansing and the UP

The one I'm thinking of doubles as a church on Sunday, & the coffee shop is run as a non-profit.

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