Great Lakes Trip 2018: Lake Superior

Hi friends… It’s time to play catch up. If you missed the first three recaps of our Great Lakes Trip (or you need a refresher!), you can catch up here:

Lake Ontario

Lake Erie

Lake Huron

* * *

On Thursday August 9, we checked out of Harrisville State Park and traveled from Michigan’s lower peninsula to its upper peninsula. We drove over the Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas over the Straits of Mackinac . At 26,372 feet long, it is one of the largest suspension bridges in the world. We tuned in to the suggested radio station and listened to the history and statistics about the bridge while we drove across.

We arrived at Muskallonge State Park in Newberry, Michigan around 3 pm. Muskallonge Lake State Park is set between the shores of Lake Superior and Muskallonge Lake. We were able to book a campsite that had a view of Muskallonge Lake.

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After we set the camper up, we walked over to check out the beach on Muskallonge Lake. There was a swing set and quad seat teeter totter that we played on, as well.

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After checking out Muskallonge Lake, we hopped on our bikes to go find Lake Superior. It was a bit foggy on the Lake, but still it was beautiful. The water was so clear — much superior to the other Great Lakes! The rocks on the beach reminded us of Little Hunters Beach in Acadia National Park.

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After we took our (first) Lake Superior family selfie, we rode our bikes back to the camper to wind down for the evening. We ate dinner, watched the boys play cornhole, and ended our evening around the campfire.

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The next morning, we decided we did not want to spend our Lake Superior beach day in Muskallonge State Park. While we love a rocky beach, it isn’t ideal for a beach day with the boys. They love playing in the sand as much as they enjoy swimming in the water. We did a little research of the area to see what other beaches were around and stumbled upon Miners Beach, part of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, in Munising, Michigan.

We had no idea that we were less than two hours away from America’s first National Lakeshore. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has vast views of the hilly shoreline of Lake Superior with picturesque rock formations, waterfalls, and sand dunes. Its name, Pictured Rocks, comes from the 15 miles of  naturally sculpted colorful sandstone cliffs northeast of Munising that tower from 50 to 200 feet above lake level. The park has miles of pristine beaches and nearly 100 miles of hiking trails.

We really wished we had known about Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore earlier as we would have planned our trip better. We got a late start to our day — as we were trying to figure out where to go — and did not arrive at Miners Beach until noon. The beach was beautiful…

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After we got all set up, we ate lunch, swam and played on the beach for a few hours.

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Around 3pm, we packed up our beach gear and headed to the bathroom to get changed back into normal clothes. We walked along the beach path for a little bit to try to get a better view of Miners Castle. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to go too far.

The entrance to Miners Falls was a short drive from the beach, so we decided to go check it out. Miners Falls is a waterfall located on Miners River. The falls drop about 40 feet. It is a 1.2 mile round-trip hike from the parking lot to the waterfall and 64 steps down to the lower viewing platform at the falls. We lucked out that the platform wasn’t very busy when we got there.

After Miners Falls, we went to find a Visitor Center for souvenirs. Munising Falls Visitor Center was the closest, so we headed there. The visitor center had exhibits, restrooms, and memorabilia. I was able to find a pin of Miners Castle but there was little for the boys to choose from.

The trail to Munising Falls was footsteps away from the Visitor Center. It was a short walk (800 feet)  with two sets of stairs that lead to platforms to view the 50-foot waterfall. The boys were tired by this point, but we forced them to go check out the waterfall. You can see how thrilled Jackson was in the photo below…

We left Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore around 4:45 pm and headed back to Muskallonge Lake State Park. The boys all fell asleep in the truck, so it was a nice quiet ride : )

Back at the campsite, we had dinner and did some kayaking on Muskallonge Lake. This is the only time we used the kayak the whole trip as the Great Lakes were not ideal for kayaking with little kids. Chris took turns with Benjamin and Jackson and then Carter was able to kayak by himself.  I stayed ashore and took pictures.

Jackson was up first…

Then it was Ben’s turn…

And lastly, it was Carter’s turn…

After everyone had a turn, we brought the kayak in and made s’mores to celebrate our last night in Michigan.

In the morning, we packed everything up and said goodbye to Lake Superior and Muskallonge Lake State Park. I’m not sure we’ll ever come back here, but I wouldn’t mind going back to explore more of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore someday!

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