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One Tank Trip for Michigan Camping
As travelers, there are times when we choose the hustle-and-bustle of heavy tourist areas and there are other times when what we seek is something more serene, more peaceful, and more soul-centering. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is definitely the latter. Some of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring natural beauty can be found here. The kind of thing that lifts your spirits, and shakes the tensions of daily life away.
We're going to begin our one tank trip in Sault Sainte Marie, a place that has been touted as one of those rare magical places that will awe every traveler with its beauty and serenity. You’ll find rushing waterfalls, majestic forests, miles of rocky coastline, and some of the most picturesque scenery here. One of the greatest attractions in the region is the Soo Locks, often referred to as one of the greatest wonders in the world, and still the largest waterway traffic system on earth. Consisting of two canals and four locks, visitors will be amazed as they watch huge vessels sail through this passageway. Sault Sainte Marie is the oldest city in Michigan, and with that comes a rich maritime heritage, part of which can be explored at the Point Iroquois Lighthouse, which was first illuminated in 1857. Now part of the Hiawatha National Forest (also known as the Great Lakes National Forest), visitors are free to roam the grounds and explore this exceptional lighthouse, as well as the other five lighthouses that can be found within the area. Also available is hiking, hunting, fishing, birdwatching, and access to some of the most incredible, undeveloped shores in the world.
From Sault Sainte Marie, we move on to Munising, taking I-75 S toward St. Ignace, exit for MI-28 toward Newberry/Munising, and turn right at MI-28 W. This part of our journey is about a 3-and-a-half hour trip, weather permitting. Munising is a small, quiet little city, where time and troubles seem to take pause and allow you to relax and enjoy all this area has to offer. There are no long lines, thrill rides, or traffic in Munising; just the rich beauty of the Upper Peninsula to help you recenter yourself during your much needed time off. In Munising, travelers are urged to explore the beauty of this area on the numerous hiking trails, and don't be surprised if you're out on a hike and discover a waterfall - or several. This area seems to be filled with them! Also available are opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, and the winter months bring incredible snowfall, and skiing and snowmobile riding on the many trails. Nearby Grand Island National Recreation Area and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are two favorite spots amongst travelers.
From Munising we move on to Marquette by heading northwest on MI-28 W. Turn right at MI-28 W/US-41 N and you should enjoy this spectacular drive! This route hugs the shores of Lake Superior, and offers incredible opportunities to take a few snap shots! Marquette is located on the southern shores of Lake Superior, where remnants of it's past can be found throughout its historic downtown, and at the Marquette Maritime Museum. Here, the rich heritage of the city comes to life with exhibits, which include birch bark canoes, antique outboard and inboard motors, shipwreck charts, and an amazing array of other items. You don't want to miss this one! Like the rest of the Upper Peninsula, fishing and charters are readily available, as well as hiking and biking, and winter months bring opportunities for ice fishing and skiing.
Return to MI-28 W/US-41 N, taking a left at MI-38 W/Michigan Ave, and another left at MI-26 S/MI038 W to arrive at beautiful Ontonagon. This city, with a most unusual name, has a rich mining history and is surrounded by the splendor of the Porcupine Mountains. For the winter travelers, Ontonagon offers incredible winter sports. The Porcupine Mountains treat skiers to some of the highest vertical slopes within the Midwest, and for the Nordic skier, there is plenty of adventure waiting for you on the cross-country trails throughout the area. Summer and spring offer hiking, swimming, fishing and boating opportunities. Lake of the Clouds is one of the most scenic spots in Michigan, and from Summit Peak Observation Tower, visitors can see miles and miles of pristine, virgin forest, and views of far off Apostle Islands. For those interested in history, there are self-guided hiking trails to old mining sites on the Union Mine Scenic Trail that are definitely worth exploring.
The next leg of our one tank trip has us backtracking a bit on MI-38 heading east. Continue on to MI-26 N to arrive at our next Michigan RV camping stop, Houghton. From its location within the Keweenaw Peninsula, Houghton is an outdoor and scenic wonderland. Surrounded by water, it provides an ample amount of water sports, and for the winter traveler, Houghton receives about 180 inches of snowfall on average, making it the focal point for amazing winter activities. Accessible only by boat, ferries are offered to Isle Royale, a beautifully primitive and isolated island, where many hiking trails worth exploring and first-class fishing are available.
Our last Michigan RV camping stop takes us to the very tip of the Upper Peninsula; Copper Harbor. Return to MI-26 N/US-41 N for the quick hour or so trip. Visitors have called this particular area of the Upper Peninsula “The Best of the Lake”, and for good reason. The views of the Keweenaw Peninsula are spectacular. Here travelers are overwhelmed with opportunities to hike, fish, canoe, kayak, bike, or even go agate hunting! Don't be surprised if you catch a glimpse of the local wildlife during your stay. For the truly adventurous, explore a real mine at the Delaware Mine and learn about the history of copper mining, or venture over to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse Museum. And for those taking a trip in the winter months, Copper Harbor gets a whopping 250 inches of dry powder on average, making it a winter wonderland, filled with cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, snowmobile and snow-boarding opportunities. There is no shortage of fun here, no matter what time of year you visit. This area of Michigan is so spectacular, no one would blame you if you backtrack and start this one tank trip over from the beginning!
Other Area Sponsors in Michigan:
Aune-Osborn RV Park
Bay Mills Resort & Casinos
Haas Lake Park
Horseshoe Lake Campground & RV Park
Kinross RV Park East
Michigamme Shores Campground Resort
Back to One Tank Trips for 2011
Woodall's Recommended Michigan RV Campgrounds