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Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

SOUTH FLORIDA
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Michighan/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.

michigan
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1. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

I am just catching this post today, don't look at TA but maybe once a week, but am surprised it hasn't been responded to. The weather should normally be lovely that time of year. I can only address the west side of Michigan, Door County and the UP. I will respond more in detail tomorrow if necessary because I get up early for work. I say, in detail, cause I'm thinking you should get responses. Door County when we went there, was lovely, but very, very touristy and crowded, but if you're there after Labor Day, I guess it won't be crowded. I haven't taken the ferry since I was a child, so can't help there. I love, love, love the Copper Country of the UP. I can highly recommend the Dapple Gray Bed and Breakfast in Eagle Harbor Michigan - we have a house in Eagle Harbor and have heard raves about it. It's got a great location overlooking the lake and is really lovely with wonderful owners. http://www.dapple-gray.com I'll post more again if needed for great things to see and do up there. I think your itinerary (from what I know) sounds great.

Edited: 12 April 2013, 02:51
Caro, Michigan
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2. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

I've been on the badger... Taken the midnight ferry... Lovely!

Flint, mi
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3. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

A few additions to your list to consider are:

Leland, Mi. Historic Fish Town (probably the most "quaint" spot in Michigan). See "Falling Waters Lodge"

Saugatuck, Mi. and Douglas, Mi. Two interesting and historic "Artist villages" just West and a little South of Grand Rapids on the Lake Michigan shoreline

"The Homestead" in Glen Arbor, near the Sleeping Bear Dunes. A beautiful resort community.

My wife and I have traveled on the S.S. Badger several times and always enjoy this four hour trip across Lake Michigan. If you like to play bingo... the Badger Bingo is fun to play and free. Big Ship, More Fun!

Flint, mi
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4. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

Oops... my editing time has expired...

I was going to add... on the logistics side of planning your trip:

Larger cities and towns will give you more value on your hotel dollars. Consider Grand Rapids or Holland Mi. as a good place to stay for day trips along the Lake Michigan coastline. Traverse city is a good spot to stay for day trips along the Leelanau Peninsula. St. Ignace and Mackinaw City is a good hub for day trips in the Mackinaw area (hotel lodging ON the island is expensive, but one overnight there is a unique experience that shouldn't be missed).

Trust Tripadvisor reviews over the brochures from the tourism boards of the Mackinaw area (the highest paying advertisers tend to get biased favorable reviews). Traverse City's economy is also strongly tourism based (it's best to read TA traveler reviews for this area as well).

Wisconsin
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5. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

BevSouth, glad you posted here in MI also. I saw your post on the WI forum first. These fine folks helped us have a terrific, similar trip two years ago. I can highly recommend, I hope Northernite, Luv2Snorkel and TymeTraveler can put their two cents in also. You've got a pretty ambitious plan, but it could be done. We did a trip from Central Lakeshore area in WI up to the UP at Marquette, then Munising, Mackinac Island, Petosky, Traverse City and back in less than a week. We had multiple night stays at several locations. It's a beautiful area.

As far as driving or ferry, the two schools of thought are pretty divided. Those who ferry like it, those who don't feel that it takes almost as long by the time you allow boarding, disembarking etc., is expensive and you're at the whims of Lake Michigan.

Allow enough time for Munising. Most people don't know about the wonderful, easily accessible waterfalls in the area. You also would want to take the Pictured Rocks boat cruise. We loved it. We stayed two separate nights on Mackinac, only because we were there into October, after the tourist season so that second night, after a 3 day stay in the Altrim area at a B&B, was so reasonable. Many people say, if you're going to Makinac, to truly appreciate it, you need to spend a night. I agree.

SOUTH FLORIDA
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6. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

Frozen_Tundra_Gal: Thanks for the suggestions. We've decided to fly into Detroit and return home via Milwaukee. As you mentioned, 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 and Munising and which town in the Door County area with accommodation recommendations as well. Seems like Fish Creek has a lot of eateries but don't really know the area. Will also post this again in WI.

We definitely plan on doing the boat cruise in Pictured Rocks as well as the one in the Soo Locks. Not sure yet for the 2 nights if we'll stay on Mackinac Island or Mackinaw City. I will check the rates for both locations. Now, if the weather will just hold out for us. We'll probably arrive on either Labor Day or the day after.

SOUTH FLORIDA
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7. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

Thanks Flintjarvis for the comments. Added Leland fish town to our itinerary and will visit it as our day trip from Traverse City after visiting Sleeping Bear dunes. After arriving in Detroit, will spend the first night in Saugatuck before heading North to Traverse City. Do you know of any nice places to suggest for the one night?

TAtripper: thanks for the recommendation of the Dapple Gray B&B. Will look into that option.

SOUTH FLORIDA
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8. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

To my above request for recommendations as to places to stay in Saugatuck, Sault Ste Marie and Munising, , 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?

Wisconsin
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9. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

Definitely check out Sunset Motel on the Bay, I think I mentioned it a few posts ago. It gets very good reviews. Munising has a lot of natural beauty, but not so much on restaurants and lodging. I remember now someone on TA recommended a B&B about 20 minutes away that I'll try and track down. Sunset is just fine as a mom and pop place, wonderful view and is right there in Munising. However, if you want a bit nicer I'll track down that other place. TC will have a lot of very nice places, especially if you broaden your area to go up into wine country, a bit outside of it.

I LOVE your attitude about enjoying retirement, we're not quite there yet, but have flexibility live a bit of that life-style.

SOUTH FLORIDA
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10. Re: Michighan/Wisconsin logistics

I read about a place called Tesoro Inn in Mission Bay. The reviews look pretty good and it didn't appear to be too far north of TC. Are you familiar with it? If you find the name of the B&B in Munising let me know. Thanks for the help again.

Edited: 14 April 2013, 22:10