UP Michigan/Wisconsin logistics

Apr 9th, 2013, 06:44 AM
  #1  
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UP Michigan/Wisconsin logistics

Planning a trip to the above area arriving in Grand Rapids, MI from Mia just after Labor Day. Hoping to complete the trip within 2 wks but a little longer won't be impossible. Coming from Miami, would like to depart MI before the weather gets too cold. From all the reading on the forum, thought we could either head north and then west to WI and south to Door County or reverse. Was considering taking the ferry across from Manitowoc to Ludington or from Ludington if we start in WI first and work our way east and south. Just wondering if anyone has been on that ferry and what the crossing is like that time of year?

The sights and towns we hope to visit include Traverse City (Sleeping Bear Dunes, Old Mission Peninsula), Charlevoix (mushroom houses), Petoskey (Thorne Swift Nature Preserve, Emmit County Scenic Drive, Petoskey NP), Mackinac Island , Tahquamenon Falls , Whitefish Point Lighthouse, Soo Locks and boat cruise, Pictured Rocks (including boat cruise and hikes), Cooper Harbor (Point Iroquois Lighthouse , Brockway Mountain Drive, Estevent Pines Nature Sanctuary and Hiking Trails), Porcupine Mountain, Bayfield, WI ( Apostle Islands- and do the Overlook Trail hike and/ or Madeline Island (with hikes) and onto Door County before returning by ferry or drive to Grand Rapids.

I know this is really long winded but just wanted you to get the idea of what we'll be seeing. My question concerns the logistics. Without having to change accommodations every night, was wondering where we could position ourselves along the way and do some of the mentioned sights as day trips. Coming from Miami and not knowing the area at all, would appreciate some help from the locals or others who have done similar trips.

We are an active 60 year old couple that enjoy the outdoors, hiking etc but no real difficult hikes and aren't into camping. Although 5 star properties aren't necessary, we do like clean comfortable quarters with a budget of anywhere between $200-300 per night.. Any help would be appreciated.
lovingretirement is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 07:19 AM
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The Badger is the ferry and it is just fine, especially at this time of year. Not sure when the sched. changes but there are 2 a day in season and 1 on off season. You can ger a small stateroom fnr about $45 and sleep if ou want..we usually do as the trip is 4 -5 hours. There is another ferry, shorter trip and more $ from Muskegon to Milwakee (vise versa) called the Lake Express. This one is newer but The Badger has history. You shouldn't have any trouble with accom. If you want to do just a day on Mackinac stay on the mainland and ferry across. Clarion is a good place to stay for this. Roads are good, prices reasonable and scenery great!!. There is a posted circle drive that you can research if you want for more info.on sites. Maybe land in GRR, drive up #31 to TC..head NE to Mack. croos the bridge, no to the Soo, south to Wisc. and ferry back to GRR. under no circumstances go further south, the Chi. area is a zoo and you will have to cruise on the freeways with the crazies. Happy Trails.
amer_can is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 09:07 AM
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If you stay in St. Ignace rather than on the Island you can use that a base for day trips to the Island, Sault Ste. Marie and Picture Rocks.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 10:56 AM
  #4  
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Thanks amer_can and boom_boom. Since writing, also explored the idea of returning home from Milwaukee instead of ferry or driving back to GR. Wouldn't cost much more so I think that would be the option. Will have to factor drop off fees (if any) on the return of the rental car.

Instead of staying in St. Ignace, could we stay in Mackinaw City (heard there would be more options for staying/eating?) and from there possibly do day trips to the Island (I know this is feasible) and on another day do the Soo Locks and Tahquamenon Falls? Or is this adding too much time doubling back? Just trying to figure out locations that have nice places to stay with decent restaurant options.

Please include any accommodations if you have any personal knowledge. thanks again
lovingretirement is offline  
Apr 9th, 2013, 11:54 AM
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Personally I would delay your trip a couple weeks and try to hit the fall colors. There won't be much (if any) color right after Labor Day. Yeah, it will be a little bit colder at the end of September vs. early September but you can always put on another layer.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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Mackinaw City also offers a lot more activities than St. Ignace. (Fort Michilimackinac, Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, two lighthouses open to the public, wonderful museum in the 290' retired Coast Guard ship, lighthouse cruises, etc.)

If you are doing more than one day on the Island, I would go ahead and spend at least one night on the Island. There shold be some deals after Labor Day, particularly if you go in the middle of the week.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Thanks Keith. From the reading I've been doing, I think I would probably spend 3 nts in Mackinaw City. Arriving in the afternoon, I could see the sights around the city. On the second day, ferry over and spend the day on the Island and the third day as a day trip, visit Tahquamenon Falls , Whitefish Point Lighthouse, Soo Locks and boat cruise. If I want to do the third day as a day trip, I think it's more practical to stay in the City vs the ferry back and forth to the Island. What's your thoughts? Also, can you recommend any nice places to stay in the City? Also, looking for help as to what would be a nice place to stay near the Pictured Rocks for 1 night.
lovingretirement is offline  
Apr 10th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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As I mentioned we stayed at the Clarion and were very satisfied in Mack. City.. Stayed on the island 1 night. There are many b&bs. You might check The Grand hotel & see if there are any deals..It is lovely. If I went back I think I would stay at Harbor View. Grew up in MI and never got to the Island until I was in my 70s..Well wiorth the wait!!! A lovely place. As far as later and the fall colors go DH and i were in MI last Oct. and we were still too early for the colors,,just beginning so they were missed all along the trip home..until ND and then only gold but lovely!!!
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Apr 11th, 2013, 08:43 AM
  #9  
 
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Those three days would make sense.

Many of the largest Mackinaw City motels are owned by the same party and do not have the strongest customer service reputations. Exceptions include the Holiday Inn Express and Days Inn & Suites Bridgeview Lodge (there is more than one Days Inn in town).

My personal favorite place to stay has been the Deer Head Inn B&B, which has fabulous breakfasts and a good location, close to the heart of town, but still pretty quiet. You can walk to Shepler's ferry, shop, visit most restaurants or walk the shoreline and never move your car. The owners may talk your ear off at breakfast, but I have enjoyed that too.
Keith is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 08:13 AM
  #10  
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Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who offered suggestions. Thanks for the suggestions. We've decided to fly into Detroit and return home via Milwaukee, both non stop service. We didn't want to be dependent on the crossing of Lake Michigan. As it looks now, we will have 2 wks for the trip ( 1 nt in Saugatuck, Sault Ste Marie, Munising, Eagle Harbor MI , and Milwaukee and 2 nts each in Traverse City, Mackinaw City, Bayfield, and Door County, WI.

Hoping to get some recommendations for places to stay in Sault Ste Marie, Munising, and Saugatuck.
lovingretirement is offline  
Apr 13th, 2013, 01:03 PM
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You just saved yourself time and $ by dropping the ferry. Good for you. I insist on the ferry trip when driving west to Alberta from Mich. but your deal is so much better for you. You will love this outing!!
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Apr 14th, 2013, 10:09 AM
  #12  
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To my above request for recommendations as to places to stay, add Traverse City to the list if anyone has any personal knowledge. We won't be on a tight budget and would like something nice. We like to treat ourselves when on vacation. Otherwise, what's retirement for?
lovingretirement is offline  
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