Every year, I request a copy of the Michigan travel guide. It's full of gorgeous, glossy pictures of places I've never been (even though I've lived in Michigan my entire life), and places I'd like to go. It's a good starting point for planning day and weekend trips. Once I find a place of interest, I begin my search on the internet for more information.
We've been talking about spending a weekend in the Upper Peninsula, so I spent some time researching points of interest, there. It is primarily forest land, which means that a trip to the area is not going to be full of amusement parks and tourist attractions. Camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing and sightseeing are the standard. There are dozens of state parks and state forest areas with campgrounds, and they all have unique features that I've been comparing.
The first thing I ruled out was any campground with the term "rustic" in it's title. I love the outdoors as much as anyone, but when I read the following, it didn't inspire me to make reservations:
Rustic campground includes vault toilets and potable water from well hand pump.Vault toilets? Yeah, I know what they are. Most of the scenic overlooks along the eastern part of the state have them. On a 90+ degree day you can smell them from a half mile away. Trust me when I tell you that you don't want your campsite anywhere near one.
Another type of campsite I wasn't terribly familiar with was a "walk in" site. Then I read this description of one:
Craig Lake State Park is the most remote state park in the system. It spans more than 6,900 acres in Baraga County. Craig Lake offers a touch of wilderness and access into the park is somewhat of an adventure. Vehicles with high ground clearance are recommended due to the rocky conditions of the road. The park contains six full lakes and numerous small ponds along with a variety of wildlife such as deer, black bear, beaver, loons and a portion of the Upper Peninsula moose herd. Craig Lake is 374 acres and features six islands and high granite bluffs along its northern shoreline.
A touch of wilderness? It sounds like more than a "touch" to me. You can drive into the park, but you must walk to the camp sites because there is no vehicle access. I'm sure it's beautiful, but when you use "remote" and "black bear" together, I get a little worried. We may consider visiting during the daytime, but I don't think we'll be spending the night. While I may want to share some highlights of our trip on my blog, I don't want to be featured on an episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive".
I had read that some of the campgrounds are close to ghost towns. An afternoon spent poking around an old, abandoned logging camp or mining town sounds like fun. I also found that there is a place called "Willoughby Lodge" that sits on the foundation of the former sawmill in the now defunct town of Prentiss. How cool is that?
There is still a lot of information to cover, so we don't have any concrete plans, yet. Even so, I'm enjoying the planning because it keeps me from looking outside and noticing the snow that just won't leave. Plus, Tim Allen is pretty convincing (he does the voice over in the Pure Michigan ads).
Do you have any plans for spring or summer getaways?
If you're planning a trip to Michigan, or want to spend some time on a virtual getaway, click here to view the digital version of Michigan Travel Ideas.