3 Amazing Destinations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

 3 Amazing Destinations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Michigan's Upper Peninsula is filled with gorgeous destinations– here are some of our faves!

Whenever someone asks us “Where is one of your favorite places in the US to go boondocking?” Our answer is, unquestionably, in unison “The UP of Michigan.”

The UP meaning Michigan's Upper Peninsula of course.

Luckily for us, it has been right in our backyard because we live just a couple hundred miles south in the lower peninsula.

That has made for endless getaways over the years and we are very excited to share it with you.

Our Favorite Destinations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Truth be told, we have more than three favorite destinations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

In fact, we've created a 7-Day Adventure Guide touring several locations.

But, in this article, we'll take a look at three of those amazing places: St. Ignace, Sault St. Marie, and Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

St. Ignace

The Grand Hotel
Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel Photo by Steve Saunders on Unsplash

St. Ignace is near the tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, on the northern side of the Straits of Mackinac. 

Like all of the destinations we're highlighting today, it is rich in Native American history. It was also once a bustling hub for the fur trade in the 1800s.

Things to Do in St. Ignace

You'll definitely want to check out  Mackinac Island.

The island is located four miles across Lake Huron and there are a few ferry lines servicing to
the island.

You’ll have to leave your RV back on the mainland, as all of Mackinac Island is a state park and does not allow motor vehicles of any sort.

The island is 8.2 miles around. Renting a bicycle and circling the island is always at the top of our activity list. Stop at British Landing, the halfway point, and go to the little store located there. Try the fried pickles. Delicious!

Also, check out the Grand Hotel on the island, which boasts the world’s longest front porch. The Grand, known as “America’s Summer Place”, is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

And before you catch the ferry for the trip back to St. Ignace, browse the tourist shops that line the main street and buy some world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge.

Other interesting parts of the island include:
Fort Mackinac, a fort from the American Revolution
Carriage tours of the island
A Butterfly Conservatory called Wings of Mackinac

St. Ignace Campgrounds

There are three locations of campgrounds in Straits State Park: the Upper, Lower West, and Lower East areas.

You will find hookups available in all of them however the waterfront sites are primitive so boondocking only down there.

If you have a larger rig about a quarter of the sites have 50 amp service. There is a $2.00/night extra charge for these sites. 50 amp sites are outlined on the reservations site or you can call the park for more information on them.

Our Adventure Guide of Michigan's Upper Peninsula includes the details of 5 great RV campgrounds near St. Ignace.

Sault Ste. Marie

Our next favorite stop in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie is a diverse waterfront community with year-round activities and wonderful historical sites.

You'll want to get a spot on the St. Mary’s River right on the water if you can, we’ll talk about campgrounds below. Watch the freighters go through the Soo Locks.

Things to Do in Sault Ste. Marie

Go to the Soo Locks!

At the Soo Locks, you can watch the freighters, barges, and tugboats as they navigate the 21-foot drop between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

There’s an interesting Visitors Center there which explains the history of the area and significance of the locks as well as the Soo Locks Park which has live music in the summer.

If you’re traveling with kids, the Visitor’s Center has a scavenger hunt called Locks Quest, challenging kids and adults to find the answer to 26 questions by exploring the beautiful grounds and informative visitor’s center at the Soo Locks.

It’s one thing to watch the boats go by right on the water. It’s another to watch from 210 feet in the area at the top of the Tower of History.

From the top, you’ll see a 360 degree, panoramic view of about 1,200 square miles, including the Soo Locks, the St. Mary’s River, and the Canadian wilderness.

You can also travel through the locks on a boat tour. Several companies offer tours of the locks, the local lighthouse, and dinner cruises.

The Sault Ste. Marie website also has an events calendar which gives a lot of local activities no matter what time of year you’re making your trip.

Sault Ste. Marie Campgrounds

Our favorite campgrounds in the area are:

  • Soo Locks Campground
  • Aune-Osborne Campground
  • Sherman City Park

For complete details, check out our Guide of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi!

The brown, copper-colored tint of the water comes from tannins leached from the cedar swamps which the river drains.

What we really like is that the Lower Falls Hemlock campsite is open year-round so we’ve been able to do some winter boondocking up in the snow which our dog Bo loves!

We’ve liked it so much that we hold an annual winter campout up there every January. 

Usually, there are about 20 inches of snow n the ground, though the state DNR plows out each campsite for us.

Here is the video from our most recent winter campout.

Things to Do in Tahquamenon Falls

Our favorite thing to do at Tahquamenon Falls is exploring all of the trails. If you’re there when there’s no snow on the ground there are tons of accessible hiking trails, if you come in the winter then you can snowshoe or cross-country ski on the trails.

The two links below show a more up-close view of the Lower and Upper Falls day-use areas and all of the smaller trails available there:

The Woods Tahquamenon River Canoe and Kayak Rental offers daily guided tours and multi-day trips down the Tahquamenon River or if you want to do some exploring on your own they offer canoe and kayak rentals.

They’ll even deliver canoes and kayaks right to your campsite!

The Tahquamenon Falls Brewery is located near the Upper Tahquamenon Falls and has great food and microbrews.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park Campgrounds

At Tahquamenon Falls State Park there are two modern campgrounds with over 150 sites total. These sites have electricity, hot showers, and flush toilets.

The campground at the Lower Falls is open year-round and there is no campground at the Upper Falls.

What Do You Love in Michigan's Upper Peninsula?

We'd love to hear about your experiences and favorite places to visit in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Please share in the comments!

7-Day Adventure Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Michigan's upper peninsula

 

The three locations we covered are stunning and make great RV destinations!

But there's so much more to do in Michigan's Upper Peninsula!

We can't cover it all in this blog, so be sure to check out the complete Adventure Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula!

 

 

 

3 Amazing Destinations in Michigan\'s Upper Peninsula

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

2 Comments

  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! The boat tour is a MUST. Your guide was very helpful on our visit. Thank you!

  • We love all the places mentioned. We live in north central Wisconsin so are blessed to live near and enjoy the western upper pennisula of Michigan. Black River Harbor, Lake Superior is one of our favorite places. Several nearby falls are great and easily accessible. We also enjoy Little Girl’s Point, Lake Superior a short distace from Ironwood, Michigan. Although we are quite familiar with all of the U.P., we did order your guide which is great. We have been campers for over 50 years but love the information you share.

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