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Drive along Lake Michigan

Nashville, TN
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Drive along Lake Michigan

We plan to drive US 31 from northern Indiana on our way to Traverse City. (On subsequent days, we will see Sleeping Bear Dunes and the surrounding area.) My question here is regarding good stops along the drive north. I like beaches and lighthouses, and I'd like to stop to see some. Unfortunately, the Michigan website is not clear about fees for state parks, and some of the lighthouses appear to be in state parks. Since we won't be making long stops, I don't really want to pay multiple park fees unless it's worthwhile. I'd like some advice about which beaches and lighthouses to see and what fees to expect.

Rockport State Park
Geologic Formations, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Parks, State Parks, Hiking Trails
Dodge #4 State Park
State Parks, Bodies of Water
MI
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for Ludington
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1. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

Out of state visitors pay a fee of either $8 a day or $29 for an annual sticker. I think that most of the lighthouses on the West side of Michigan along the Lake will be located inside a state park. Now paying a one day $8 fee would get you into as many parks as you could see in that day, so you could see at least a few. I know Holland (Big Red), Silver Lake-Mears State Park (Little Sable Point), Ludington (Big Sable Point) all have lighthouses, those would be the big 3.

Petoskey, Michigan
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2. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

A logical stop would be South Haven, maybe stopping next in either Holland or Grand Haven. Holland's State Park is wonderful and "Big Red" is a classic lighthouse . I personally love the area around Sleeping Bear. Beulah's Cherry Hut is an iconic lunch spot and I love Frankfort. Leland is off your trail, but Fishtown is fabulous.

Nashville, TN
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3. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

Good to learn that the $8 fee would apply to multiple parks in a day. As I plan, I'll have to consider possible park fees for other days and decide whether to buy the annual sticker at the first park. Thank you!

dre51, thanks for the lunch recommendation. We will have 3 full days to explore the SLB and areas from Frankfort to Northport. I'm open to suggestions for our days there. Unfortunately family and time constraints will keep us from getting further north on this trip, but northern MI and the upper peninsula are on out list of future destinations.

Petoskey, Michigan
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4. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

Lunch/Dinner Suggestions:

Dinghy in Frankfort

Cherry Hut in Beulah

Bluebird in Leland

The Cove, Leland

North Country Grill and Pub in Suttons Bay

chicago
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5. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

the $29 pass is only goof for 2013, the year sadly doesnt start the day you buy it

Michigan
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6. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

I believe the pass expires when your license plates do.

Grand Haven...
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for Grand Haven, Michigan
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7. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

If you stop in Grand Haven you can park for free on the streets in town and walk the 15 minute walk along the channel to the lighthouse.

Detroit, Michigan
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8. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

I agree - a stop in Leland may be worth your while. On clear day, the views of the Manitou Islands are excellent!

You can walk to the closed Lighthouse in Frankfort from the public beach. We love Dinghy's and Fusion (restaurants) in Frankfort.

Chicago's North...
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for Illinois, Chicago
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9. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

in addition to the grand haven light house for free, you can also walk the st joe/benton harbor and south haven piers and check out their light houses for free..... also, on your journey north to SBD, be sure to take scenic route M-22 along the coast, starting north of manistee... and if i'm not mistaken, doesn't manistee also have a pier light?

Edited: 09 September 2013, 22:34
Nashville, TN
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10. Re: Drive along Lake Michigan

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. I'm looking forward to the journey. I think I'll see some on the way north and others on the way back.