Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Michigan & The Great Lakes bound, July 2019
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 > Michigan & The Great Lakes bound, July 2019

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SteveWoz

Simsbury, CT

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Posted: 06/17/19 12:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Friends,

I'm planning a 3-week motorhome trip for my family of three from our home in Connecticut to the Great Lakes region. None of us have ever spent time in that area but it looks like Michigan has a lot to offer in terms of beauty within a reasonable driving area. Without knowing that part of the country, I hesitate making advance reservations out of concern that we may limit our flexibility. My question to those who know Michigan and the other Great Lakes states, is it ill-advised to wing it in July? I do understand that finding a campground on weekends would be tough but how about during the week? Also, can you please name some must-see locations? Thank you in advance.

Steve

rexlion

Broken Arrow OK

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Posted: 06/17/19 01:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

State parks along the Lake Michigan shoreline are likely to be difficult to get into, because this is the side with the nice sandy beaches and it's very popular. That said, if you show up looking for a campsite mid-day on Sun-Thur you might be able to stay a night or two. Elsewhere, it will be somewhat easier to find campsites on the spur of the moment but you should have one or two nearby alternate CGs in mind.

Have a look online at Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, if you don't mind dipping into the metro area. Frankenmuth has the world's largest year-round Christmas store, a brewery that serves good food as well as beer, and plenty of little shops to walk around in or restaurants to eat at. On the west side, Silver Lake SP has sand dunes you can drive around on (your vehicle or better yet rent a dune buggy there) plus a nice lighthouse to see. Ludington SP has a lighthouse you can walk to and a nice CG. Drive to the top of Sleeping Bear Dunes and get a good view of the lake far below. If you like canoeing or kayaking, consider going down any of the numerous rivers (rentals and transport available). Go to Mackinaw City and see, and hopefully find an excuse to drive across, the Mackinaw Bridge; there's also a little park and lighthouse on the shore there, many shops (buy fudge, caramel corn, souvenirs, etc.) Much more in the Upper Peninsula if you're thinking of going there.

* This post was edited 06/19/19 11:35am by rexlion *


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Matt_Colie

Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 06/17/19 02:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SteveWoz wrote:

Hi Friends,

I'm planning a 3-week motorhome trip for my family of three from our home in Connecticut to the Great Lakes region. None of us have ever spent time in that area but it looks like Michigan has a lot to offer in terms of beauty within a reasonable driving area. Without knowing that part of the country, I hesitate making advance reservations out of concern that we may limit our flexibility. My question to those who know Michigan and the other Great Lakes states, is it ill-advised to wing it in July? I do understand that finding a campground on weekends would be tough but how about during the week? Also, can you please name some must-see locations? Thank you in advance.

Steve

Steve,

As a refugee from the megopolis (used to live in Mystic/Stonington) I can confirm that Michigan has a lot to offer.

But first, travel advice: Cross the Hudson at Newburgh. Take I-84 to I-81 by Scranton and then drop to I-80. When you get to Akron, you need to do some careful navigating and hook up with I-77 north to I-90. Stay with that until you see signs for SR-2. That is a good and pretty fast road all the way to I-280. It does become 2-lane part of that way, but it still is fast. Run I-280 to I-75. After a couple of miles on I-75 start looking for Alexis Rd. Open GasBuddy and start shopping. Fuel is more expensive in Michigan....

You could make the run here in one day. (Back in the day, we made runs east to visit grands in a single pull regularly.) I don't have an ONP to suggest.

Word of warning. Do not do stupid things in Ohio. the Ohio Air Farce targets out of state plates.

Overnight parking can be an issue in Ohio, at some of the turnpike rest areas (you won't be near) they have RV parking areas that they charge for and we never stay there.

Now questions for you..
Museums? If museums, what is special interests?
Scenery?

The Henry Ford is an amazing museum of the 19th and 20th century. It is attached to Greenfield Village (separate admission) that is kind of a middle America Mystic Seaport. RV parking there is sometimes an issue.

The Yankee Air Museum is still there, but suffered a disastrous fire some years back.

There are other museums all over, but without a hint, and only thing I can do is guess, and

With the exception of Sleeping Bear Dunes, there is not much for scenery in the lower peninsula. The upper has some falls and the Pictured Rocks Lake front.

Campgrounds may be tough to get into, but there are lots of places to ONP if you are self-contained.

Let me know what you think you want to do and I will try to be an effective native guide.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.


GordonThree

Northern Michigan

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Posted: 06/17/19 05:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I hesitate to answer general questions, however a few tips.

If you're self sufficient, there are plenty of State Forest and National Forest campgrounds that are easy to find a spot, even in July, on a weekend.

State Parks on Lake Huron, North of M-55 tend to be less busy than those South. State parks along Lake Michigan are pretty much sold-out through September.

I don't have much experience with private parks, however the Alcona County Park on the Au Sauble River is fantastic. (It is County owned but privately operated)

Indian Lake and Lake Gogebic are two of my favorite State Parks.


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JCK

Ohio

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Posted: 06/17/19 09:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Little more on the West Coast. From the south South Haven neat little town and a light house. Next Ludington more lighthouses , Badger a Lake Michigan people and car Ferry docks there. Pentwater and Silver Lake dunes. Further north Leelanau Peninsula a must see. Traverse City head up into the Peninsula and pick some sweet cherries. Mackinaw City Island take a ferry over to the island a take a step back in time. This is just the lower peninsula. The upper peninsula could take a couple more weeks


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doxiemom11

Somewhere between MI and TX

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Posted: 06/17/19 09:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

And, don't forget all the waterfalls in the upper peninsula. There should be maps available to their locations.

rexlion

Broken Arrow OK

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Posted: 06/18/19 09:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I grew up in MI and I try to get back there every summer now that I'm in OK. Every time I go back, I'm struck by the scenery (that I was somewhat immunized to while I lived there). The trees, the nice green lawns, the blue water. I'm currently planning my July trip to the UP (upper peninsula).

MI is the only state where you can visit Hell and Paradise, theoretically in the same day. There are cold days in Hell, but fortunately you're coming in the warm months. Hell is in the LP and Paradise is in da UP... da Yoopers would like you to think that means something. [emoticon]

JCK mentioned Mackinac Island... how did I forget that? From Mackinaw City you can ride the ferry to this no-motorized-vehicles island and see the fort, walk around the shope, take a ride on a horse-drawn conveyance, and rent bikes (or bring your own across) and ride around the perimeter of the island to enjoy the views. I had a summer job on the island during my college years... a memorable experience.

West of St. Ignace on US 2 the drive has some nice views of the lake and one good stretch of beach right off the highway where you can stop and enjoy the lake. But you can hit that on the way back. First, head north on I-75 to the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie) and visit the locks. Nearby Brimley SP is a nice place to camp, my DD tells me. Tahquamenon Falls is a natural choice to visit. Also head north of Paradise to Whitefish Point and see the shipwreck museum. Camping along Superior is good at Woodland Park in Grand Marais, and there's a sand dune bluff to climb just west of town. Continue west to Munising and, if the weather is calm and sunny, consider taking the sunset cruise along Pictured Rocks Natl Lakeshore (expensive, but entertaining). Another good CG at Bay Furnace west of town. There are many small waterfalls within easy driving distance of Munising, if that's something you like.

If you continue west, be sure to drive to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula; M26 along the lake is scenic and you can stop to buy locally made jam at the monastery near Eagle River, and camp at Ft. Wilkins (see some old buildings and artifacts there too). Or McLain SP is right on Lake Superior, if you can get a site there. Farther west, Ontonagon has a nice municipal CG along the shore. Porcupine Mountains SP has a high overlook you'd like at their east unit, and the west unit has a scenic hiking path along the river with 3 small waterfalls in succession. Folks who are serious about backpack hiking can walk from the east unit to the west (or vice versa) parallel to the shoreline, and stay in a tent or cabin at the halfway point. Plenty of other hiking trails in this SP also.

On the way back, do not miss my favorite waterfall of Michigan: Bond Falls near Paulding. Stop in Escanaba at Sayklly's Candies for some great chocolates. Visit Fayette SP to see the 1800s buildings and artifacts. Don't miss the Big Spring at Palms Book SP, where the water is so clear you can see the (huge) fish near the bottom of the beautiful blue-green pool, 40 feet below you.

Oh by the way, in early July the fresh cherries grown near Traverse City and Leelanau can be found at many roadside stands. If you're in the UP in late July you might find wild blueberries, raspberries and thimbleberries (similar to raspberries but more fragile and more tart). I recommend buying some thimbleberry jam. Be sure to try the smoked fish sold around the UP, and try the pasties (pronounced with a short A, they are like pot pies).

CFerguson

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Posted: 06/18/19 10:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We love the UP of Michigan. There so much up there for about anyone. Tell us your familys' general interests and we will flood you with ideas.

bid_time

Michigan

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Posted: 06/18/19 06:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In my opinion, skip the lower peninsula and drive from Conneticut across Canada directly to the Upper Peninsula. That right there is the best part of Michigan.





bid_time

Michigan

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Posted: 06/18/19 06:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oops - double post

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