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One Week car trip Michigan UP down to Grand Rapids

One Week car trip Michigan UP down to Grand Rapids

Old Apr 9th, 2022, 12:57 PM
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One Week car trip Michigan UP down to Grand Rapids

We will be driving from Minneapolis and flying out of either Grand Rapids or Detroit. I have one week to plan a trip visiting places like
Pictured Rock National Lakeshore
Tahquamenon Falls
Take route 2 for an overnight in stay in St Ignace
ferry to Mackinac Island
Drive to Petrosky
Traverse City
from TC visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, Leland , Sutton Bay, Northport
day of fly fishing in Manistee
Maybe visit Grand haven
Fly home to the east coast.


I know I haven't gotten the details down, but can you tell me if one week makes sense. thanks

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Old Apr 9th, 2022, 04:21 PM
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Iíve done the Minneapolis to UP drive so many times. Itís 8-1/2 hours all the way to Sault Ste Marie plus an hour lost for the change to Eastern time. The fastest way is straight east across Wisconsin, starting out I-94 then to WI Hwy 29 toward Green Bay. 5 mph over the speed limit is the max and enforcement in WI is scary fierce.

When you get to Shawano (second A is silent) there are 3 short cuts to avoid Green Bay:

1. drive via Gillett and Oconto Falls on WI 22

2. from just east of Shawano look for County E, goes straight to US 141, jog south to US 41 (this is the fastest way). To pick up E take exit for 55 then follow frontage road (B) to the T, jog left for E.

3. ďThe Polish cutoff,Ē exit WI 29 @ Pulaski then drive north/east thru Sobieski to hit US 41.

You are headed to Munising for the Pictured Rocks boat trip. Try to leave Minneapolis early enough to get here for the evening boat trip when the setting sun lights the cliffs. Boats sell out so you will have to plan.

Taq Falls is nice, you want the upper falls.

Consider driving north from Paradise to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Drive to Point Iroquois lighthouse, then thru the Indian Reservation, stop at the cemetery to see the spirit houses. St Ignace is rather dumpy but for you itís just a hotel. Maybe eat in SSM on the way.

Petoskey is mostly shopping and a lake cabin area for locals. Thereís Hemingwayís cabin but I think itís private.

Traverse City is a big place. I like the wineries on Mission Point and Fish Town.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, these are big, I havenít made it all the way to the water but Iíd guess itís 30 minutes.

I would try to fly out of GRR if you can. The Meijer Sculpture Garden near the airport is good, itís a BIG place.

Yes, you can do this is a week, assuming there is nothing you want to see in Wisconsin. Door County is a short detour but you would need a couple nights for that.

Last edited by tom_mn; Apr 9th, 2022 at 04:26 PM.
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Old Apr 9th, 2022, 06:34 PM
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Thanks Tom_mn Yes, I did hear that door county was nice but that I would need a few nights. Maybe another time. Thanks for the driving information. It's always helpful to hear tips from someone who knows the area.
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Old Apr 10th, 2022, 07:01 AM
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Thereís a Holiday Inn Express called Munising Lakeview with a stunning view of Lake Superior and Pictured Rocks, get a room with a view/balcony.

There are some short hikes in Pictured Rocks from the landside, 15 minutes each.

If you have time adding Lake of the Clouds and the Brockway Mtn drive will get you the most scenic parts of the UP, but you would have to add days to your trip. Mackinac Island, Petoskey, and TC are extremely touristy in July/August so just checking that thatís the bargain you want: less nature and more mini golf and ice cream.

Manistee is a fun old town on a river just in from Lake Michigan.

Adding in case you donít know there are many Indian communities, casinos and hotels throughout your intended visiting area.
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Old Apr 10th, 2022, 04:56 PM
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hmmm. I have to give it some thought now. So much to know! I'll reply to you and the forum with what I decide. Thanks again!
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Old Apr 11th, 2022, 05:33 PM
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tom_mn
with your help, I'm getting closer to my exact itinerary.

Day one: Minneapolis to Munising for the Pictured Rock boat tour. one night? two?
Day Two: Grand Marias to the Taq Falls then to the Shipwreck Museum, Indian Reservation and Cemetery
I want to drive the scenic route down to St Ignasis which probably leaves out the SOO for this trip
Actually not sure between staying in St. Ignasis or Mackinaw City.
Day Three: Full day on Mackinac Island
Day Four and Five: Drive to Empire MI as a base Sleeping Bear Dunes etc. how many days to see Northport, Sutton Bay, Lehand? kayak, wineries?
Day six: Manistee,(fly fishing) Grand Haven?
Day Seven: Grand Rapids fly home


I/m wondering if there is anything you might change. Thanks for any help you could provide.



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Old Apr 11th, 2022, 08:33 PM
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I feel like a local person should chime in. I have visited relatives in Petoskey and am in the area often to consult with tribes (Brimley, SSM, St Ignace, Petoskey, Traverse City and Manistee all have tribal communities).

1 night in Munising is enough

Leaving Munising you are headed to Grand Marais then Taq Falls (30 minutes), Shipwreck Museum and walk on beach (90 minutes), Point Iroquois (30 minutes) the cemetery at Bay Mills (quick stop), getting here is a pretty drive from Shipwreck Museum, then I would hit main street in SSM for dinner and watch ships in the locks, then drive to St Ignace, which is closer to Mackinac Island than Mackinaw City so cheaper boat ride. I donít think there is a scenic drive getting to St Ignace or the bridge.

I donít know Empire but think about what you want to see here and if it is centrally located. TC has crowds but also good restaurants and Itís closer to the Mission Peninsula wineries, but Leelanau peninsula also has wineries. Because of the moderation of the water, polar blasts are warmed first blowing across Lake Superior then warmed again crossing Lake Michigan, so all the fancy West Coast grapes like cabernet and pinot grow here.

Grand Haven has a popular beach but there are beaches all over.

Noting that Marais in modern French means swamp but the meaning in French Canadian is different, itís a shoreline feature of some kind.
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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 07:57 PM
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I have to give a shout out to Lower Taq Falls. Yes, you have to see the famous upper, but you can actually play in the lower. I don't know if that appeals to you, but it's very fun.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 05:54 AM
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sounds like fun. thank you
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Old May 19th, 2022, 05:16 PM
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Just wanted to post our final itinerary. Hoping to post more after the trip.
Drive from Minneapolis to Munising for Pictured Rocks Cruise. Leaving early Sunday morning and aware of EST time difference.
Sleep in Munising.
Monday drive to T falls and Sunken Ship Museum, drive down to Locks at SOO and have dinner there before driving to St. Ignace.
Monday night Sleep in St. Ignace.
Tuesday morning. early morning to Mahkeenac Island spent the day
Tuesday night sleep in Mahkeenac Island
Wednesday late morning ferry back to St. Ignace drive through Petrosky and and other towns to Traverse City
Stay three nights in Traverse City exploring the various peninsula's and Sleeping Dunes
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Traverse City
Saturday morning leave early spend the day driving toward Grand Rapids airport explore the coast areas and ariving after dinner in GRR
Drop of car and sleep near the airport
6am flight out
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Old May 19th, 2022, 11:37 PM
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Sounds great! Since you will be on Mackinac Island on a Wednesday, they used to give tours of the governor's mansion on Wednesdays. I don't know what Covid has done to that and I've never been, so don't know what it is like. But it is right there by the fort and you can ask.
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Old May 21st, 2022, 09:47 AM
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Will do, thanks Kelliebellie!
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